person locked out of vehicle hanging the spare car keys in front of car

Being locked out of a car is a frustrating occurrence most people have experienced a few times. Several decades ago, when traditional keys were the only key option, you could work your way out of the situation with a few clever tricks. Or, at worst, call a family member to bring you a spare car key.

In today’s high-tech world, car keys resemble small remote controls and need the proper programming and power source to function correctly. It is helpful to learn some of why your car key button is not working.


Six Reasons Your Car Key is Not Working


1. The Car Key is Broken

This does not mean your key is shattered into pieces, but rather that it is showing signs of getting older. When you think about how frequently you use your car key, it is easy to understand how it could break down over time.

An issue locksmiths see often is a key that the grooves in the key are worn down. If there is enough wear, the depth of the grooves will not match the car’s internal workings. You will need a locksmith to cut you a new key when this happens. Making a copy of a worn-down key that does not work is not enough because you are making a copy of a problem key.

Signs you may have a broken or over-used key:

  • A new key or your spare key work well
  • Your key will not open any locks or start the engine
  • Your lock will not open your car or start your ignition

What to Do

Unfortunately, unless you have access to another key that came with the car, your next step is to get a new key made. If possible, get a spare made at the same time. Usually, your car dealer can help with this. A more economical way is to consult with your locksmith.


2. Worn Out Key Fob

Since many people do not think about the fact that their key fob will stop working one day, an unresponsive fob often takes people by surprise. Fortunately, replacing batteries is an easy fix.

Signs your key fob needs new batteries:

  • You need to press a button several times to get a response
  • You must be closer to your car than in the past to get a response
  • There is no response when you press the button

What to Do

Consult your owner’s manual for the necessary battery information and instructions regarding changing the battery.


3. You Have a Damaged Lock

A damaged lock is a problem for traditional keys as well as new ones. Sometimes the problem is a buildup of dirt and debris within the lock. Other times the problem is within the lock.

How to know your lock is damaged:

  • You are unable to insert the key
  • A key will open one lock but not another
  • The key turns, but the lock does not open.

What to Do

Consult with a locksmith to find a way to remedy the situation. Sometimes a lock can be repaired, but other times it must be replaced.

Unlocking car door.


4. Damage to the Internal Workings of Your Key Fob

There must be uninterrupted communication between a transmitter and receiver for your key fob to function. Damage to the unit can stop the communication, and the fob will be unusable.

Often, repeated pressing of the buttons will wear down the inner workings of the fob. Sometimes something that seems harmless, like dropping the fob, is enough of a jolt to loosen wires or damage components.

How to Know Your Key Fob is Damaged

  • Buttons are loose
  • Buttons do not click
  • Some buttons work, and others do not

What to Do

If you think your key fob is broken, the best thing you can do is contact a professional locksmith or your car dealership, where someone can fix the car key button. If the damage is too severe, you will need a replacement.


5. You Have a Bad Copy of the Key

Generally, this is more of a problem found with a traditional key. Every time you copy a key, you get a less precise result. So, the second copy of a key may be fine, but if a third copy is made from it, the key may not work well. Subsequent copies may not work at all.

How to know if your key is a poor copy:

  • The key was not copied by a professional
  • You know that you have made many copies of the key

What to Do

If you have bad copies of keys, you can contact an automotive locksmith and request a new code cut key. The key will work as well as the original.


6. You Have a Defective Aftermarket Key

As technology improves, the price of keys rises. This is why many people seek out aftermarket keys. The problem arises when you get a key made from incompatible parts, and it will not work.

How to spot a defective aftermarket key:

  • The key cannot be programmed
  • The aftermarket key looks different from the original key
  • The aftermarket key never worked with your car

What to Do

There is no fix for a bad aftermarket key, and you may have to cut your losses. Head to a reputable automotive locksmith where you can get the key you need.

Assorted car key duplicates.


Four Reasons Your Car Key Buttons Might Not Be Working


1. Your Key is Not Programmed

It is frustrating when you have replaced your key fob, press a few buttons, and it will not work. The problem may be that the key needs to be programmed to work with your vehicle. There is no communication between the fob and your car without the programming. This makes your buttons useless. Your key can be programmed by a professional locksmith or your car dealership. Generally, the locksmith will be significantly more affordable.


2. Dead Batteries

Even though the batteries in key fobs are meant to last a long while, they will likely die at some point. Needing fresh batteries is a common reason for car key buttons not working. Consult your owner’s manual to find out the type of batteries you need and get guidance about changing your batteries.


3. Extreme Temperatures

Auto manufacturers build their products to withstand extremely hot or cold temperatures. So, heat and cold are not usually the reason key fob buttons do not work. However, leaving your fob in extreme heat or cold for an extended period can wreak havoc with the device. If your fob does not work after spending some time in a room with moderate temperatures, you should consult your automotive locksmith for assistance.


4. Electrical Issues

While the source of key fob buttons not working is usually an issue with the fob, this is not always the case. If your vehicle shows signs of other electrical issues such as lights, the horn, or media system failures, there is a significant chance that the problem is much larger than the key fob buttons. In this case, you should contact an automotive repair specialist.

Using remote to open car.

If your car key button is not working or if you are experiencing other difficulties, remember you can reach out to Diamond Lock and Security. We have professional licensed locksmiths available 24 hours a day to help if you are locked out of your car or if your key is not working correctly. Even though cars are more difficult than ever to get in, you can feel confident that our technicians have more skills than most to help you out of a frustrating situation.

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