Car key fob problems and reasons why your car won’t start

key fobs made by cobra locksmith texas

These days pretty much any vehicle out there has a microchip in it, the traditional metal keys have been replaced with transponder chip keys and the most recent ones are even newer technology smart keys or proximity keys with the push-to-start button on the vehicle.


The more complex those keys get, they also come with their maintenance, care, and problems as well. In today’s article, we will share some things you probably didn’t know about the key fob you have been using already for years, and how to keep your key in good shape, so you don’t have starting problems with your car or truck.

The most common reasons that your car doesn’t start are below.

No power

With that said, most of the time when we get a call from a customer that their vehicle doesn’t start, we try to determine the problem and the first thing we would ask is if the vehicle has power. If the vehicle has no power, in this case, the owner most likely will solve his problem by himself, and we get good feedback for helping them over the phone without having to drive up to them and charge a service call.

If the car has power then if it’s a smart key fob then you will have to check the key fob’s battery. Fortunately, the battery inside is pretty easily available anywhere and can be replaced. Also, if you do not want to do it yourself you can visit a locksmith shop in your area, and they do offer that kind of service.

We would recommend getting your key fob battery replaced by a professional locksmith, some key fobs could be very difficult to open and if you try to do it yourself with the butter knife you could damage some small components and this is a common scenario in our business, which will cost you much more these fobs are not cheap.

Most of the vehicles give a warning on the dash like a “key battery low” with a key symbol or similar. That means you will have to replace the battery in the key soon.

How do you know if the battery in the fob is low? Well, the smart keys have a small LED indicator light, if the light is not blinking when you press a button on the key that means there is no power or the battery is low.

Also, the proximity function on the key becomes smaller you will have to keep the fob closer to the steering wheel or the remote it doesn’t work from a long distance like before.

Key fob battery is dead

How to start the vehicle if the battery in the fob is dead, and you are stranded? For this situation, the car manufacturers are aware, and they put that info in your vehicle’s manual. Usually, the car has a key pocket in which you can insert the fob there when the battery is dead, and you should be able to start the vehicle and go to the nearest locksmith shop to replace the small battery in the key.

key fob problems

No problem with power

If you don’t have a problem with the power, then most likely the key is damaged or needs reprogramming. The majority of the customers that we get with a situation like that need a new key due to a damaged fob, maybe they drop it too many times and the microchip is bad, or the key got wet, and as with any electronic if it gets water in it, most likely won’t function properly or not at all.

Reprogramming is very rare, even when most of our customers are asking just to reprogram their key back. Of course, when you google this problem: “My car won’t start”, the first answer would be the key needs to be reprogrammed. But this is not fairly true, they most likely need a new key.

Only a few old models have that issue when you disconnect the battery on the vehicle then it will lose the key which requires reprogramming, or also if the vehicle is being without power for a very long time then also will forget the key and will need to be synced back into the system. Reprogramming can be also found on a spare key as well if you have not used your second key in a while, which could cause it to lose programming.

If that is the case with your fob, just give us a call, and we would come to your location and add that key back to the system, so the vehicle can recognize it and you have a duplicate. If the key is damaged, try to call us or your local automotive locksmith to make a new one for you.

Damaged key fob and how to prevent it

The traditional keys are more damage resistant if it’s a plain metal key, the only damage that can be done is if you bent the key, broke it in half, or lose it. If the key is equipped with a transponder chip, those as well are pretty durable, because the microchip is hidden in the plastic head of the key and does not get damaged easily.

In fact, those chip keys are waterproof and shockproof as well, the microchip is sealed and does not get wet or damaged easily like the newer smart key fobs. The newest proximity keys are really fragile and can stop working even if you dos it once. If that’s the case with your fob, contact your local automotive locksmith for a replacement copy.

How to protect your key from getting damaged or even lost?

Don’t worry we got you covered, just like you take care of your smartphone which you use daily you should take the same care as your key, we do sell key cases for many remotes and key protectors. They do come with a really great design in a variety of colors that you can match your car color or purse.

From silicon cases, and modern leather protectors to carbon fiber designs, you can make your old scratched key fob look very stylish and modern.

Customize your key fob. Yes, we can do that as well.

We are able to do that, even if you are driving an old 2004 BMW, we can reproduce a new design fob that looks the same as a 2018 BMW key.

custom BMW key

You will be surprised how cool a key fob can look if you want your car key to match the color of your vehicle, let’s say your car is red, and you really want a red key fob, this is no issue for us, we can make that happen.

So if you are one of those customers who don’t like the way your key fob looks just contact Cobra Locksmith and see what we can offer for the year make and model of the vehicle that you are driving. If you have just a small crack in the plastic of the key fob, you don’t really have to replace the whole key we can just re-shell it for you, and it will be like new. This is very cheap compared to waiting for the crack to get bigger and eventually falling from the key ring and losing it or break the fob completely.

custom key fob

Even an old outdated 2006 Toyota Prius key fob can be turned into a luxury key just by changing the plastic key shell, give us a call if you want to learn more about how to customize your original key and get a modern look key fob.

Ending Notes

With all of that info you have now, you should be able to determine if you just need to replace the battery on the key fob or need a replacement key, whether is any of those problems you can reach out to a licensed locksmith like us, and we can help you out.

We are usually same-day service and fully mobile, so if you can not drive the vehicle for any of those reasons above just let us know, and we will be on the way. Try not to drop the key, or take our advice and put a key case for better protection or a good look.

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