Owning a car entails handling all its maintenance, glitches, and necessary repairs. While most issues let you drive your car to the local auto shop, a key that’s not working may make things harder. It might result in you being locked out of your car, or worse, it can damage the ignition cylinder.
One of the most important parts of your car is the key, and yet, most drivers do not give it much attention. As a result, they might experience several key-related issues. In this blog, we have curated a list of the most common car key problems in Baltimore, MD.
Knowing the reasons your key is failing will make it easier for you to contact the right person and get the key fixed. We’ve also shared some tips to best maintain car keys and ensure they last longer.
Types of Car Keys
Every type of car key has different issues, and therefore, it is essential to know what type you have. For example, the basic keys without a remote are prone to jamming, whereas, with a fob key, you can experience chip failure.
Below is a brief of different types of car keys with a picture to help you recognize yours.
Traditional Car Key
If you own an older car, you probably have a set of traditional keys. These keys don’t have a built-in chip or buttons and look as simple as your house keys.
The single length of metal makes these keys highly durable, so they are not prone to many issues. However, overuse results in broken key blades, and that may lead to you getting locked out of your car or getting stuck in the car locks or ignition.
The invention of transponder keys brought along more security and convenience for car owners. Most of the car keys on the market today are transponder keys. They consist of a key mounted on a remote that lets you lock and unlock the car.
Inside these remote keys, there is a chip that’s paired with your vehicle. While this chip offers added security, it can also be the reason your key fails to work if it malfunctions. Moreover, a transponder key is powered by a battery, and if the battery fails, it won’t work.
The newest cars come with keyless fobs. These car keys don’t have a metal part to turn a lock or ignition starter. You can lock or unlock your car doors just with a click of a button and start it by pushing a different button inside. Like a transponder key, a keyless fob also contains a chip and battery.
One of the most common issues car owners face with these keys is due to battery. If the battery runs out, you won’t be able to unlock your car, plus the push start feature won’t work since it needs the keyless fob to be near and active.
Furthermore, fobs aren’t as durable as traditional car keys and may be damaged if exposed to water.
Common Car Key Problems You Might Face
A key may be a small component, but it is prone to several types of damage, from internal to external. Here is a list of common problems you may have with car keys.
- Failure of Transponder Chip
Many modern keys, such as the keyless car fobs, feature a hidden transponder chip embedded in the plastic casing. The purpose of this chip is to maximize security. The chip inside the key comes paired with the chip inside your car.
As you push the ignition switch, these chips establish a connection, and your vehicle starts. However, if the chip does not emit a signal, your car won’t be going anywhere.
There are several reasons behind an unresponsive chip, such as dead batteries, water exposure, and other issues. On the bright side, modern cars will tell you if the issue is with the chip, and you’ll see a “key not detected” warning on the dashboard.
💡 Solution for a Failed Transponder Chip
Fixing the transponder chip requires installing a new chip and reprogramming it to pair with your car. In order to do so, you need help from auto locksmiths well-versed in the latest technology.
At S.E.L Locksmith in Baltimore, MD, we can fix any type of transponder chip-related issues in your car keys. Just give us a call at 443-987-3051, and we’ll get you back to driving your car again in no time.
- Broken or Worn-Out Key Blades
If you are a busy person, you are probably driving your car multiple times a day. And just like with everything, the metal blades on keys will wear out gradually.
A key with broken or worn-out blades won’t go inside the ignition switch, and it won’t let you turn on the switch. When many drivers think of broken car keys, they tend to picture a fully damaged key. But the damages sometimes may not be visible to the naked eye.
Even a small change in the grooves can make the key non-functional. Since car keys are physical components, it means that they are prone to damage and regular wear and tear over time. A lack of maintenance can also contribute to this issue and make the process speed up.
💡 Solution for a Broken Car Key
If you have a duplicate car key, you can keep using it to drive your vehicle. However, we strongly recommend ordering replacement keys in case you lose the duplicate one as well. You can get a replacement key from a reliable locksmith.
- The Buttons Don’t Work on the Key Fob
Even if the metal body is intact and the batteries are good, you may experience issues with a transponder key or fob. Unfortunately, the buttons or the plastic casing are also prone to damage and wear out over time.
The buttons may stop working because of damaged internal wiring, water ingress, or failure of the spring mechanism that supports the buttons. This issue can arise from something as simple as dropping your keys; it can knock out some internal components.
If you notice that one button works fine, but the other one doesn’t, it indicates a damaged fob.
💡 Solution for Non-functional Car Key Buttons
Internal damage to the keyless remote or the fob is usually best handled by a professional offering automotive services who have the necessary tools and equipment to do so. You can contact your local auto locksmith in Baltimore, MD, and ask them to replace the key.
- Battery Failure
One of the most common reasons car keys fail to work is worn-out batteries. Your car stops responding to the transponder or the fob while the buttons still work perfectly fine. An easy sign to determine the batteries are going is that the key works fine when you are near the car, but it does not work from a distance.
Car key batteries run out after a certain time, and you need to get a new one to make the key work again.
💡 Solution for Dead Batteries
You can easily replace the car key batteries yourself. Order a new battery depending on the make and model of your car. Remove the plastic casing from the key, get the old battery out, and insert the new one.
Sometimes, replacing the batteries requires re-pairing the key with the car. If you aren’t able to use the remote even after putting in a new battery, it would be best to call a Baltimore locksmith to diagnose and fix the issue.
- Faulty Ignition Cylinder
Though this is not a direct car key issue, it makes your keys non-functional. Regular wear and tear or using a duplicate key can damage the ignition cylinder, which means your car won’t start with the same keys anymore.
Although there are no visible signs of a faulty ignition cylinder, you can guess that’s the issue if the key doesn’t enter the cylinder or if you are not able to start your car. Additionally, the immobilizer indicator may turn on if your car detects any issue with the ignition cylinder.
💡 Solution for a Faulty Ignition Cylinder
Auto locksmiths are the experts in ignition cylinders and can replace or repair the cylinder if required. Contact a reliable emergency locksmith and get the ignition cylinder fixed.
- Remote Loses Its Programming
Besides physical damages, the key remote or fob is also prone to technical damages, such as losing the programming. Car key programming issues are a common occurrence among people that have recently changed the keys.
Sometimes the remote needs to be paired correctly again, or there is some compatibility issue with the chip. If you have recently changed the car key remote batteries, you may experience this issue.
💡 Solution for a remote with lost programming
Reprogramming a car key remote can only be done by a reputed auto locksmith services company or your car dealership.
Tips to Make Your Car Keys Last Longer Without Any Issues
Just like your car’s engine, the keys also require maintenance. Taking care of the keys will ensure you will not get locked out of your car and will be able to get it started.
Clean the Keys Often
Dust and grime may build up on the key, especially on the metal blade, and it could lead to several functionality issues. Cleaning your car keys regularly helps protect the blades and makes the key last longer.
Always Have a Replacement Key
If you have just one car key, it is crucial to get a replacement key. An extra key serves as a backup, so you won’t need to rush to a car locksmith or the car dealership if you experience any issues. Contact professional automotive locksmith services in Baltimore, MD to get key replacement services.
Replace the Batteries on Time
The life of the remote batteries depends on usage. Typically, these batteries can easily last around 1–2 years. When you start noticing issues with the remote, such as the car doesn’t unlock from a distance, you should consider replacing the batteries.
Don’t Use a Duplicate Key
A duplicate car key might be the best solution when you are stuck with a broken or damaged key. However, you should avoid using the duplicate key for a long time. Using backup keys can damage the ignition cylinder, and getting that repaired could be a costly affair.
Lubricate the Key Hole
If you notice that the key gets stuck inside the ignition cylinder, you can consider lubricating it. Use any high-quality lubricant, such as WD-40, and spray it over the metal part of the key. Insert the key into the keyhole a few times, and you should be good to go.
Contact S.E.L Locksmith – Auto Locksmiths in Baltimore
Are you experiencing any types of issues with your car keys? Whether it is a broken key or a damaged fob, we at S.E.L Locksmith can take care of everything. Our highly trained technicians can make a new key for your vehicle while programming it properly, so you won’t face any problems while using it.
No matter if you drive a Ford or a Kia, we offer the best service and make the best keys for every car make and model. Furthermore, we also offer emergency locksmith services if you are locked out of your car.
Contact Us Today!
Call us at 443-987-3051 for all types of automotive locksmith services, residential and commercial locksmith services, or emergency locksmith services!