How to program a key fob in under 10 minutes

  • Home
  • blog
  • How to program a key fob in under 10 minutes

How to program a key fob in under 10 minutes

The car key fobs, also known as electronic car keys, are used for controlling a car’s doors, alarm, trunk, and starting the car remotely. Key fobs will likely malfunction with time due to signal loss. If such a situation occurs, the key fob can be easily reprogrammed so that it can be used without the need for an auto locksmith. In this article, we explain how to program a key fob car remote in under 10 minutes.

You can read the instruction manual or look it up on the web to learn the specific steps to take for your particular car. There may be different steps for reprogramming key fobs according to different manufacturers. Below, we will explore the basic steps to program your key fobs that generally work for most manufacturers.

How To Program A Key Fob

To program a car key fob, one must follow several steps.

Step 1: Start The Motor

The ignition key and the key fob must be in the driver’s seat, all doors closed. Place the ignition key in its appropriate position and turn it without starting the engine to start the motor. Note: The car should be sitting in an idle position.

Step 2: Click The Lock Button

Aim the key fob at the transmission receiver (located in the front of the car above the mirror) then press the lock button to turn on the remote. Press the lock button again after the remote has been on for a couple of seconds.

Step 3: Shut Off The Ignition

Immediately turn off the ignition by reaching for the key in the ignition and shutting the car off. During this time, the car’s system will be reset so continue moving quickly. Immediately after turning the ignition key, press the lock button and remove the key from the ignition slot. After that, proceed to the next step.

Step 4: Repeat Steps For Your Other Key Fobs

To program any other key fob, repeat the previous steps with care. Most car models are set to clear the programming on all other fobs once one is successfully programmed. So repeating the steps for all fobs is recommended. To program another key fob, you must turn off the ignition and press the lock button on the key fob you’re working on. Don’t forget. Waiting between these two actions could cause the process to fail. You may have to start the process from scratch if all the fobs aren’t programmed correctly. For some types of cars, the programming process must be repeated several times if it fails due to a delay between actions.

Step 5: Ensure All Fobs Work & Reprogram as Needed

After the last key has been programmed carefully and quickly, check your remaining fobs and reprogram as needed. To check your fobs, turn on the car without starting the engine (idle mode) and start the process again. On the first key fob, press the lock button. If the process is successful, the car locks should turn. Hearing the locks sound on all other car key fobs should be done as well, as it indicates that they have been successfully programmed.

how to program a key fob

What Specialist Hardware Is Needed to Reprogram Key Fobs

It may not be easy to reprogram key fobs in some cars, and if so, you may need specialist hardware. If this is the case, we would normally recommend you contact your authorized dealer..

A trusted auto locksmith company can also assist with reprogramming your car remote key for a comparatively lower price and make a separate master key for you. You will also find the information you need to create a new master key in the owner’s manual of your car.

Understanding Vehicle Security

Security of cars can be either classified as entry security or starting security.
Since most modern cars have remote locking/unlocking, you don’t have to insert keys to open the doors. It was an RF system that was not completely secure, as it was possible to capture and playback the signal to unlock the vehicle and open the trunk.

Using rolling codes, modern entry locks generate a new code every time. It also produces the same code on the vehicle, so the electronic devices are connected. A few European manufacturers also used infrared systems to unlock their cars by pointing the remote at the car. Nevertheless, RF technology has now replaced most of them.

The traditional key lock system of cars enabled them to be unlocked with any key of a similar type. Thieves took advantage of this as they were able to drive away with any car easily. However, new cars are equipped with ECU technology and transponders for enhanced security.

Personalized codes can be assigned to luxury vehicles, depending on driver preferences. Typically, when the driver inserts his or her key into a vehicle with a memory function, the seats, headrest, mirrors, and steering wheel are adjusted based on the driver’s setting.
Manufacturers are now working to eliminate the need for keys altogether and replace them with fingerprint recognition systems.

Frequently Asked Questions When Learning To Program A Key Fob

What is a Transponder?

Modern automobiles commonly use transponder technology in areas that require security access. Vehicle keys now contain transponder chips, and the chips are activated by a radio frequency signal sent by the ignition barrel when the key is inserted into the ignition. Upon receiving the chip’s signal, the car’s ECU disables the immobilizer and starts the engine.

Is it possible to program a new key fob yourself?

In most cases, you can program the key fob yourself if it’s only to unlock the car. It is, however, impossible to program a key for the start function without the right tools.

What is the cost of reprogramming a key fob?

In most cars, if you do it yourself, reprogramming a key fob for the lock and unlock is free. It will cost anywhere between 200$ and 500$ for a locksmith to reprogram the immobilizer function.

Where can I find instructions on how to program keys?

Because of the immobilizer, the diagnostic tools required to program the push to start feature on the fob are only available to authorized dealers. The method is the same for reprogramming the unlock and lock features; you just need to know how to turn on the ignition properly.

How do I erase the key fob memory?

A suitable OBD2 diagnostic tool is required to erase the key fob memory. Most often, you will need a specific scanner tool tailored to the car model to do this.

Bottom Line

Understanding the reprogramming steps for a specific car key fob is very important. The process discussed above is the simplest and most general. Almost all key fobs can be used with the instructions above, but it is recommended that you consult your owner’s manual for instructions specific to your model.

If for whatever reason you believe that you are not up for the task of getting your key fob program be sure to reach out to a trusted auto locksmith or an authorized dealer.


Get A Quote