(253) 201-2891
How to replace and program a car remote; program a key fob; make a new key fob
How To Replace And Program A Car Remote

How To Replace & Program A Key FOB: Your Ultimate Guide

Most of us are so used to having a keyless entry remote that we take it for granted. But have you ever stopped to think about how they work? Traditional car keys were little more than a couple of metal pieces connected together, a simple lock and key system. Today’s modern, electronic keys are loaded with features like electronic ignition, remote entry systems, and alarm systems. Not only that, but modern keys, like smart keys also come with a host of conveniences like remote start and intuitive unlocking. While the car keys of today are far more advanced than those of even a few decades ago, the basic principle remains the same.

There are essentially 3 types of car keys today. Mechanical keys, transponder keys, and smart keys. Mechanical keys don’t involve any computer systems and therefore do not require programming and are the easiest to replace. A transponder key often still has the physical key with a plastic key fob, whereas a smart key is not a key at all and only has the plastic key fob. Transponder keys and smart keys have additional security features linked into the car’s computer system. This can cause some trouble for car owners and drivers when they get a new car key and it won’t connect to their car’s electrical system.

But how do you program a key FOB? and is it necessary when you make a new key FOB?

Let’s dive in!


How To Replace & Program A Key FOB

If you’ve established that you need to make a new key fob, you need to decide where to purchase a replacement key from. You can purchase a replacement car key from your dealership, an auto locksmith, a hardware store, or online. If you choose to purchase a car key from a professional like a dealership or an automotive locksmith, they will be able to program and set up the car for you so it works perfectly (if you are curious how a locksmith makes a key we wrote about it too!). If you choose to purchase the car key from a hardware store or online, you’ll have to program a key FOB yourself.

1. Where To Get The FOB You Need

All car models require different types of fobs or remotes, and it’s important to purchase the correct one. If you choose to purchase a blank key from an auto store or hardware store you’ll be able to get knowledgeable advice on the type of key that will match your model of car. If you opt for a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ approach and purchase a new remote online, you will have to do some research first in order to get the right one and be able to program a key FOB.

Once you have the key fob, you still need to program a key FOB to connect with your car’s engine immobilizer or it won’t start. A hardware store is unlikely to be able to program the key fob, and an auto parts store may be able to. You can also purchase the key fob online or in a hardware store and then get an auto locksmith to program a key FOB for you, which is something to consider.

In recent years, car manufacturers have implemented new security measures to protect against theft, making it impossible to program a key FOB or to make a new key FOB. While this may be effective in deterring thieves, it can also be a major inconvenience for owners who lose their keys or have them stolen. Mercedes is one such car manufacturer that has additional security measures making it difficult to program a key fob of one of their cars.

Mercedes uses a different key programming method than most other carmakers and in order to program your Mercedes keyless entry remote, you may have no choice but to take it to a dealer or an authorized service center. Once there, a technician will use a special device to connect to your car’s computer and program a key FOB for you.

2. Programming Your New FOB

Start by reading your car’s manual, every car will have a different way to program a key fob. Naturally, cars with stronger security features are more difficult to program. Programming a car key fob is an important step in ensuring the safety and security of your vehicle. By doing this, you effectively prevent other people from accessing your car without proper authorization. Additionally, it ensures that your car cannot be unlocked or started remotely by someone who does not have the proper key.

While the process of programming a key fob can seem a bit daunting at first, it can be quite simple. It can sometimes require specialized software to complete the programming process. If you follow the process correctly within only a few seconds you should be able to program a key FOB.

Step 1: Replacing The Battery

First things first, you’ll need to change the battery or put a new battery in your existing key fob. If the battery is flat, you wont be able to program a key FOB or make a new key FOB. Read your car owner’s manual for instructions on how to open the key fob case and replace the battery.

Most key fobs will take a button battery or CR2032 battery, and you’ll need to remove the cover first. Some car key fobs have an unlock button to release the cover, while others will require the help of a small screwdriver. Once you remove the back panel you can simply pop out the battery and replace it with a new one. Then reassemble the key fob.

Step 2: Programming Your FOB

Each car will have a slight variation on how to program a key FOB, but if you do it correctly, you can easily program a key fob, and should only take a few seconds. In order to limit interference, it’s recommended that you get into the driver’s seat and close all the doors.

Method 1: Find the programming mode in your car. This is usually located near the ignition switch, on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Once you’ve found the button, press and hold it for approximately five seconds. Next, use your key fob to unlock the driver’s door. Once the door is open, insert the ignition key and turn it to the “on” position (do not start the engine). Within 30 seconds of turning the key to “on,” press the lock button on the key fob. You should hear the doors lock and unlock, indicating that the key fob has been programmed successfully. Finally, turn off and remove the ignition key.

Method 2: To program a car key fob, first locate the “learn” button on the car’s control panel. This button is usually located near the door locks or ignition. Once the learn button has been located, press and hold it for several seconds. Next, use the key fob to activate the desired function. For example, to program the key fob to unlock the doors, press the unlock button. The car should respond by activating the desired function. If the car does not respond, try pressing and holding the learn button for a longer period of time.

3. Finishing Up & Programming With Special Software If Needed

Sometimes you will need to program a key FOB using a specific code that is entered into the car’s onboard computer. The code is usually specific to the car model and year, but it can also be programmed to work with multiple cars. Different car models, particularly luxury vehicles will have more complicated electrical systems and will require a little more effort when you program or make a new key FOB.

One of the ways to program a key fob is by making sure that you have access to the right diagnostic tools. Many newer cars come with built-in diagnostic ports that allow you to communicate directly with your vehicle’s computer system. This allows you to easily pull information or change settings within the ECU, or Electronic Control Unit. With this level of access, programming your key fob becomes much simpler as you can program your vehicle to recognize and accept your new remote at the touch of a button.

In addition to using diagnostic tools to program or make a new key FOB, you will also need to be familiar with some basic programming steps. These typically include confirming your identity as a legal owner of the vehicle, entering special security codes into the ECU, and syncing up the electronic components within your door locks and remote control device.

Once these steps have been completed successfully, your new key fob should be fully functional and ready for use in no time at all.


Common Problems When Programming Car Key FOBs

When programming a car key fob, there are several common issues that often arise. If you’re following all the recommendations and still struggling to program your remote, check these common problems. A fix to your problem might be clear.

1. The Key FOB Battery Is Dead

If you haven’t changed the battery in the key fob, then this could be the reason the programming was not successful. We recommend on replacing the battery and see if this solves the problem.

2. Generic Programming Error

The first and most common problem is programming errors, which can occur when changing the settings in the fob or trying to clone an existing key fob. These programming errors can typically be corrected by going through the process again or by connecting to a software tool for support.

3. Faulty Electronics

When a car’s engine electrics are faulty, it can be difficult or even impossible to program the key fob. This is because programming a key fob involves communicating with the car’s onboard computer system, which relies on consistent electrical signals in order to accurately interpret and respond to user input. Without these electronic signals, the computer can misinterpret commands, resulting in failed attempts to enter programming mode or other errors.

To rectify this issue, it is usually necessary to repair any faulty wiring or replace some of the components that have become worn or damaged over time. For this level of troubleshooting, you’re really going to need an auto locksmith. Once this is done, keys should be able to be reprogrammed successfully and without any hassle.

4. Using The Wrong Key Type For Your Car

Key fobs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each type of key fob is designed to work with a specific type of vehicle. As a result of different manufacturers’ specifications, it’s important to make sure that you’re using the right type of key fob for your car.

If you’re not sure which type of key fob to use, your best bet is to consult your car’s owner’s manual or an experienced automotive locksmith. Using the wrong type of key fob can lead to all sorts of problems, including preventing successful key fob programming.

5. Signal Interference Problem

Finally, signal interference is one of the primary causes of successful key fob programming. Due to the system’s reliance on radio frequency signals, any disruptions caused by other electronic devices can result in errors or misreads that prevent entry codes from being successfully input and stored in the lock system.

To prevent this type of interference, it is important to take certain steps when trying to program a new fob or adjust an existing one. For instance, any electronic equipment should be kept away from the car during the process, as it can create interference that affects the programming. Furthermore, it is wise to perform the task indoors whenever possible, as outside interference may affect your results.



How will I know if I can program my car key fob myself?

If your car came with a key fob, there should be a sticker somewhere on the fob or in the owner’s manual that tells you whether or not it is self-programmable. If you can’t find the sticker, try doing an online search for your make and model of car.

Do I need to programming when I make a new key fob?

Both new and replacement key fobs will need to be programmed before they can be used. If you purchase a car from a dealership they will ensure the key fob is programmed before handing over the vehicle.

Do all car key fobs require reprogramming over time?

Over time, you may find that your old key fob starts to lose its effectiveness. In some cases, the batteries may simply need to be replaced in the original key. But in other cases, the key fob may need to be reprogrammed. This is typically necessary if you get a new remote or if there have been any changes to your car’s security system.

Can I program more than one remote to my vehicle?

Yes, you can. Many manufacturers allow this so that you can have spare keys set up and ready to use in the event you lose your primary set of keys. After all it is very common to have more than one driver.


Not Sure How To Program Or Replace Your Key FOB? Get Locksmith Tacoma To Handle It!

Key fobs must be programmed to work with your specific car. You can program your key fob yourself, but depending on the make and model of your car it may be easier to get a locksmith from Locksmith Tacoma to do it for you. At Locksmith Tacoma, we will know how to program the key fob so that it works every time and because we are fully mobile, we come directly to where you are.

With your convenience in mind, we’ll be able to supply the key and program it on the spot and also investigate any other problems you may be having with the ignition switch that might be preventing your car from turning on.

Call us today to get the expert assistance you need & more!

Call Now ButtonCall Us Now