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Car key fobs are so convenient that it’s easy to take them for granted. But did you know that your key fob needs routine maintenance? Key fob batteries should be replaced every three or four years, although this will vary based on their amount of use and build quality.
If your key fob were to suddenly stop working when you’re far from home, you’d wish you had cared for it. Don’t get stranded with a malfunctioning key fob and have to pay for a tow. Here are some warning signs that you may need a key fob battery replacement before it’s too late.
1. Signs You Need a New Key Fob
Even if your key fob appears to be working appropriately, there are some small irregularities that occur when your battery is on its last legs. It’s likely you may be dealing with these issues without even realizing it. But these small inconveniences could eventually lead to some serious consequences down the line.
Decreased Signal Range
A typical fob has a signal range of somewhere around 30 to 60 feet. But when your remote’s battery is starved for power, it will impact the working range of your fob.
Have you noticed that your fob requires you to be closer to your vehicle than before? Is it no longer transmitting the signal from the other side of the parking lot, like when it was brand new?
The culprit is likely your key fob battery. Do take note that weather, such as rain, can impact the signal power of your device.
Clicks Are Inconsistent
You may find that you have to click the button on your fob several times before your vehicle accepts the signal. When this happens, your battery is having a hard time mustering the power to operate. If this is happening to your key fob, you should seek out a key fob battery replacement immediately.
Some key fobs only unlock the doors, but some are required to initiate push-to-start engines. If this component is also inconsistent and requires multiple presses, it’s possible your key fob is at fault.
Unlocking Is Delayed
Maybe you only need to press the button once but there’s a significant one or two-second delay before you hear your car unlock. This is also an indication that your key fob’s battery is wearing thin.
According to some reports, your car’s headlights may even fail to blink when you unlock the car. It may seem benign now, but you’ll be in for a heap of trouble if your key fob suddenly stops working.
2. Checking Your Key Fob
If you’re having any of the symptoms noted above, there’s a small chance they aren’t related to your key fob battery. Your car itself may be experiencing some mechanical problems. Here are some things you can do to check your key fob and isolate the cause.
Try a Backup Remote
Did your car come with an extra key fob remote? Lucky you. See if your backup remote is also experiencing the same low-battery symptoms as your main key fob. Was it able to unlock the doors from a normal range and without any delay? If so, this means your primary key fob is in need of a new battery.
If you also experience difficulty with your backup remote, don’t fret. Since it’s most likely as old as your original, the battery on your backup may also be drained.
Use Your Backup Key
If your vehicle has a push-button ignition, a physical key may be located inside your key fob. Locate this key, which typically only requires you to use the fob’s release switch. Got your hands on the key? Good.
That’s the easy part.
Vehicles unlocked by key fobs have subtle keyholes by the door handle. You might notice them by a small trimmed piece of metal no larger than a USB. Take care and remove this piece to reveal the physical keyhole on your car.
Now it’s time to test the doors. Are you finding it difficult to lock or unlock your door? Is there a delay similar to that when you’re using your key fob? If everything seems to be working normally, then your car’s locking mechanism is mechanically sound.
3. Key Fob Battery Replacement
Do all the signs point to your key fob needing a battery replacement? Sometimes other mechanisms inside your key fob break and require repair. But you should always opt to have the batteries inside your fob replaced first since that’s most likely the culprit. If this fixes the problem, you’ll also save a significant amount of money.
From your car dealership, a key fob replacement tends to run at least $200 or more. Self-repair is an option, but some key fobs make it difficult to access the cell batteries that power the device. And in the hands of a professional, they can also easily check the voltage to ensure your batteries are at fault.
A key fob battery replacement is the cheapest repair option. The replacement tends to run somewhere around $10.
Everyday Tech Repair
When your key fob is on the fritz, let one of our certified technicians make the repair easy. Although we’re best known for phone, laptop, and gaming console repairs, we also offer key fob battery replacement.
Don’t worry about popping your key fob open and finding the specialized batteries you need. We probably carry them! Contact us and stop wasting your free time on self-repair.