Car problems

5 Possible Reasons Your Car Key Isn’t Working

We’ve all had some bad moments with our vehicle one way or the other. Having a flat tire in the middle of the road, fuel shortage due to a malfunctioning fuel gauge, or a sudden breakdown you have no idea about.

For flat tires you can fix it as soon as possible with the right car jack, but what if the problem is from the car key. These problems can cause more than just a headache for you. You can be late for an important appointment or not participate in an important business meeting.

There are times that the vehicle wouldn’t start or unlock because it can’t recognize your key. The key is just not working despite numerous tries. Just think about how many times this situation has been repeated during your lifetime and how stressful they were for you.

It can be a very frustrating moment because it is something you may not easily figure out as the source of the problem. It’s a paradox that the solution is usually the simplest one, but people do not have this presumption. We want to provide you with a couple of reasons why it isn’t functioning well.

By doing that, we want to provide you with a chance to avoid any unpleasant situations you can expect to appear when you are prevented from entering your vehicle. But before that, let’s take a look at some of the types of car keys.

Car Key Types

First, let’s take a look at a couple of types you will encounter these days.


Older cars still in the system use this type of key. It is just a raw key with no kind of special engineering. It is also very easy to replace since any metal cutting machine can shape it. But it should be the exact shape and size as the old one. Since it is easy to replace it, car theft becomes easy.

It needs to be said that this is still the most widespread type out there, no matter the technological advancements that have been made in the last couple of years. Most people have developed a habit of using these and there are no signs that this type will cease to exist in the future.


Remote keys have higher security features compared to mechanical ones. It can take tasks like locking and unlocking a vehicle from a distance. It uses an infrared or radio transmitter to communicate with a receiver in the car. We’re talking about the second-most popular type.

However, it needs to be said that the loss of this one could lead to many more problems than with a mechanical one. The reason is that replacing it with a new one would be much pricier. So, having at least one more remote should be among the list of your priorities.


The transponder uses a built-in transponder chip to communicate with the car. When you press a button, the key sends a unique code signal to your car’s immobilizer, and when it pairs, it gives you access to the vehicle. So, you can see that this is the most accessible one out of all of them.

Some transporters have rolling codes, which change after every successful car start. It is so secure that you cannot start the same vehicle type from the same manufacturer with your key. Some experts believe this is probably the type that will become the most widespread one in the future.

Keyless or Smart

With a keyless or smart key, you don’t need a physical one to unlock or start your vehicle. This is what most modern cars with push buttons use. The fob one is like a small remote with various buttons dedicated to an intended action. So, you shouldn’t worry too much about using it.

When you’re within the range of your vehicle, it detects the signals from the fob and immediately deactivates the immobilizer. To start the vehicle, push the start button without inserting anyone you want. The type we’re talking about is the latest generation of technology.

Reasons Why It Isn’t Working

Now that you know the types of cars, let’s get into why your car key isn’t working. These tips won’t work for people with damaged or broken keys. “If you are lost or stolen, or damaged: a simple Google search of ‘car key replacement near me is going to bring up results for a local locksmith to have the issue fixed,” says

However, if you have the following problems, there is a way out.

Key Fob Undetected

Your vehicle being unable to detect/connect to the fob is one of the shared key problems. This means there is no signal between the two parties. Several things can account for this including weak or dead batteries. Naming all of them would take too long in this article of ours.

In case of a dead battery, all you need is to replace it for a better signal. It is also possible that you are using the wrong one, so check before taking any action. Fortunately, this is not a problem you would need too much time to resolve.

Dead Battery

A dead car battery can also account for why the vehicle isn’t starting despite working on the key. If you have a dead, corrosive battery, or weak connection between the battery terminal and the cables, your vehicle won’t start. When that happens, replacing the battery is the way to go.

Thankfully, coming across these batteries is not something we would describe as complex. If you have any uncertainties with these problems, you can always consult a mechanic who can provide numerous useful tips on how to overcome this problem in the shortest way possible.

Damaged Car Lock

Your vehicle may not be responding to the unlock signal from the key fob because the lock itself has a fault or is damaged. There may also be a problem with that particular door’s lock assembly or cylinder; hence, the fob will not have the means to open it. It is the most frustrating thing to experience.

If this happens, try manual unlocking. Insert it in the lock and turn it to open, if it is not successful, then the lock assembly has a fault. Try the process with the other locks; if they open, slowly shift your attention to the first one. Once again, consulting a mechanic can help you with overcoming this problem rather easily.

Blocked Signal

The fob or keyless system relies on a good, uninterrupted signal to work effectively. If anything comes between the signal from the transmitter and the car’s receiver, it won’t work. There are numerous reasons why the signal can be blocked. In most cases, the mechanic will need to open the door and inspect them until the problem is found.

Check if there are specks of dirt piled up in the fob, which is causing the connection to break. With the help of the user manual, open and clean off all the dirt in it with a cotton or soft cloth. It all depends on the source of the problem. If the problem is inside the door, then it can describe as a more complex problem.

Damaged Fob Components or Receiver

Any damage caused to the fob or its components will surely affect how it works. A damaged component may affect signal transmission and the same applies to a damaged receiver. When both of these parts are damaged, there’s absolutely no way for the device to function properly.

If the car’s electric system or receivers have a problem, it cannot respond to commands from the device. If the problem persists, get an expert to diagnose the problem. We would advise you to consult only an experienced mechanic who has knowledge on how to overcome these problems.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are many problems you can encounter when losing a device that unlocks your vehicle. Here, we’ve provided you with a couple of reasons why sometimes they cannot function properly. We are sure that having this insight can help you with finding the best possible solution.

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