Hacks & Tricks

How to Program a Remote Car Key

Every car owner knows just how convenient remote car keys actually are. This simple, yet effective little piece of tech is what allows drivers to remotely unlock car doors using a simple push of a button. Back in the day, you could unlock the car doors only by sticking the key into the door lock located on the handle. These days, however, almost every vehicle comes equipped with a set of remote car keys. Every new and recently purchased remote has to be manually programmed and synced with the door locks. That said, even old remotes sometimes need to be reprogrammed and although you can always take your keys to the dealership and have them program it, this is something that you can easily accomplish at home.

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How does a remote car key work?

Remote car keys are actually fairly simple. They use a high-range radio frequency to communicate with a specific door lock. This means that your individual key needs to be programmed and ultimately synced with your own car, otherwise any remote key could be used to open it. Both the car and the remote car key have built-in memory chips that allow them to work. When you press a button on your remote, a signal is sent to the vehicle containing the instructions corresponding to the action you’ve selected (locking or unlocking). Besides the car doors, most remote car keys can also be used to unlock and lock the trunk, and in some cases, the trunk windows can also be opened.

Unprogrammed Keys

Almost every car that has a remote locking system comes with a key already programmed and synced to that lock, however, there are situations where a key could end up losing its programming. This can occur for a number of reasons, but most often people either accidentally delete their programming or lose their remote key and have to program a new one. Some manufacturers program their keys to reset themselves if a specific key is pressed enough times while the vehicle is out of range. This is a common security feature that is most commonly activated by children playing with the keys and once this happens, the key will have to be reprogrammed and synced with the car lock.

Lost keys

Unless you have a spare key lying around, destroying, losing or having your key stolen will require you to get a new one. You can always get a new key from a certified dealer, but they can be rather expensive to buy and you’ll most likely be charged to get it programmed. You can also get a universal or a non-branded key, but you will have to manually program it and sync it with your car. Alternatively, there’s always the option of calling an experienced car key locksmith and have them come to your exact location. They have the tools necessary to open the car and can easily make a new key if needed.

Programming a remote key

Most keys cannot be programmed unless you’re seated inside the car. This is a security feature designed to prevent theft. Once inside, insert your key in the ignition and turn on the car without actually starting the engine. Most car models will require you to repeat this action a couple of more times before an indicator light signals that the programming mode is activated. When your car enters the programming mode, simply click the remote key button you want to program and once this is complete, you can turn off the car.

If you followed the instructions closely your remote keys should now be programmed and synced to your car. Have in mind that these instructions work on most car models, but manufacturers are free to use their own programming instructions. If that’s the case with your model, try to find any relevant information on their official website or simply call a certified locksmith and have them reprogram the keys for you.

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