The remote start is very convenient in many ways, including unlocking the car door from a distance. However, it can be frustrating when you cannot unlock the door with your key fob. To know what is wrong, we researched the causes and solutions to this problem.
The most common reasons your key fob may not unlock your car door include the following:
- Erasure of current fob programming
- Wear and tear of buttons
- Dead battery
- Detached components
- Rusted or blocked door assembly
- Faulty wiring
Reasons You Can't Open Car Door Remotely And Solutions
It can be annoying if you cannot unlock the door with your key fob. So, what could be causing this problem, and what can you do about it?
Below are the most common reasons your key fob will behave this way:
Erasure Of Current Fob Programming
Sometimes one can accidentally erase the program set in your key fob, making it difficult to open your door. To re-program, the fob, check your manual for instructions. But, if you prefer or are not up to the task, take it to a locksmith to re-program it.
Wear And Tear Of Buttons
The wear and tear of the key fob buttons can cause them to malfunction. Pressing them repeatedly before it can open the door is a sign it is worn. Also, having to push it longer than usual is another sign.
Sometimes the wear and tear are visible, meaning it's time to change the key fob. Or you could only replace the housing, which is cheaper.
Key fobs typically last between 2 to 3 years, so you can know when it is nearing the end of its lifespan and hence change it.
To save on costs, you can replace the housing but keep the circuit board. The steps to do this include the following:
- Purchase key fob housing with the same model number as your current key fob.
- Pop open your current fob and remove the battery and circuit board.
- Open your new fob housing and install the battery and circuit board, being careful not to touch the components of the board.
- Snap back the new key fob housing with the battery and circuit board inside.
- Test your key fob.
Check out the video below that explains the steps above:
Before you get all worked up, remove the current battery and replace it with a new one. If afterward, you can unlock your door, you have solved your problem. Sometimes, it's as simple as that.
However, you do not have to wait until the battery dies. There are signs you can look out for that indicate you need to change the battery. They are:
When you have to move closer to your car than you usually do, it's a sign the fob's range is reducing. This is due to the battery becoming weak.
Pressing Button Many Times
The battery could be dying if you have to press the unlock button many times before your car senses the signal.
To change the battery, open the key fob with a flathead screwdriver or a prying tool. Be careful not to break the plastic tabs holding the fob in place.
Remove the battery, check the number, and purchase the same from a retailer or auto shop. Install it in the correct position, or it will not work.
Rusted Or Blocked Door Assembly
The key fob may not be the problem. The door may have a mechanical issue, which will not respond to the key fob. Even though your door lock assembly is plastic, the connection points are probably metal, which can jam due to rust. To solve this, spray a lubricant like the WD-40.
If the door will still not open, you may have to dismantle the door assembly to find out if there is any blockage. If something is blocking the lock hardware, your key fob, though in good condition, will not open the door. A loose connection could also cause the door not to open.
Detached Or Broken Parts
Parts of the door lock assembly, such as the lock cylinder, interior switch, or link to the handle, can detach or even break. So, you may not be able to unlock the door with your key fob.
Even though you hear a sound as though your door has unlocked, the key fob will still not unlock your door.
In such a case, the entire door assembly may need to be replaced, though, in some instances, you may only need to tighten a loose connection or replace a screw. Gluing broken parts may be another solution.
A faulty electrical wiring system in your car can cause many problems. If it's not your lights working, it could be your key fob not unlocking the door. You may need to check each wire individually for any damage or disconnection to solve this problem.
How To Protect Your Remote Key Fob
Since it's only you who should unlock the door of your car with your remote start, you do not expect anyone else to open it.
However, thieves can pick signals from your key fob and send them to their devices. They may only be able to unlock the car door but might not be able to drive away from your car.
Below are some ways you can protect your car door from being unlocked by strangers:
Store Key Fob In Radio Frequency Identification Bag
To prevent the relay of codes from your key fob to any other device, store it in a Radio Frequency Identification Bag [RFID]. This bag has a metallic material layered on the inside that prevents hackers from accessing and reproducing your key code.
Alternatively, you can store it in a metal box. The radio waves from your fob will only bounce around on the inside, preventing access to the codes from the outside. A box made from stainless steel, copper, or a combination of metals will suffice.
You can also store it in the refrigerator, though low temperatures can damage the battery. Therefore, check the manual to know if it is safe to do this. The microwave is another good place. However, don't forget to remove the key fob before you heat any food.
Switch Off The Signal From Key Fob
When you are not using your car, it may be a good idea to switch off the signal from the key fob. Check the manual for instructions; if there are none, contact the manufacturer.
Wrap Fob In Aluminum
By wrapping it in aluminum foil, you can prevent anyone from relaying signals from your fob to any other device.
Remote Start Repair Costs That Allow Unlocking A Car Door
To begin with, if your car does not have a remote start, you can install one at a cost ranging from $193 to $427. Of course, expect to pay more if you have a luxury vehicle.
If your car is not unlocking due to deprogramming your key fob, you can have it re-programmed by a professional at a cost ranging between $40 and $100. This depends on the make and model of your car.
A car lock assembly with mechanical issues will not unlock using your key fob. In such a case, you may need to replace the whole car door lock, which costs between $140 and $150.
If your car cannot unlock due to faulty wiring, you can have it diagnosed at a cost between $88 to $111, with the labor costs being the same.
If your key fob has malfunctioned, you cannot unlock the door of your car. And, if the key fob is not the problem, it may still not unlock the door if it is the door that has a mechanical issue.
Several ways of protecting your key fob are mentioned in this post. This is crucial because it prevents access to the codes that may be used by a stranger or thief to unlock the door of your car.
Below read more of our previous posts on remote start: