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How to Diagnose a Car Key That’s Stopped Working

how to diagnose a car key that's stopped working

Your car is an important part of your life.  It plays a role in nearly every aspect of your day-to-day, whether that is by helping you with your weekly shopping, taking the kids to school, or going on that road trip. Because it proves itself to be so useful, it hurts when things go wrong, especially if you don’t know why it’s gone wrong. 

This guide aims to help you when your car keys stop working. Here are some useful tips for working out why your keys aren’t working and what you can do about it. 

Low Battery 

Believe it or not, the number one reason a car key stops working is because of a low battery. The fob that comes with your car keys runs on lithium batteries. While these have a long life, they will not last forever. 

You may have noticed issues on the build-up to the keys refusing to work. Issues similar to that of a tv remote. If you have had to press repeatedly for something to work, get closer than normal for it to activate, or found that it works great one day and terrible the next, you probably have been dealing with a low battery. 

There is one way to know for sure if this is your issue. Replace the battery. If your fob starts working again, then you have solved the issue. If it doesn’t, then that was not your problem. 

Damaged or Worn Car Key

Your keys do not need to be completely snapped not to work. If they are worn down from use, they can stop working. You see, those grooves on the key are not there to make it look cool. They communicate with the inside of the car’s lock. This communication will be altered if the key has worn down too much and the car will not work. 

Try using another key or try unlocking a car door through other means. If the locks work with other keys or methods, then there is a good chance your key is worn down too much. You will have to get another one. Take a working key or your key along with the car’s WIN number to a reliable locksmith, and they will be able to help you. 

When it’s not the Car Key

It may not be the car key that has given up. It could be the locks on the car door, or the ignition cylinder. 

If it’s the lock on the door, try the following to see what is wrong. 

  • Try the lock with another key. If that works, the problem is the key. 
  • Try your key in a different door. If it works, it’s the lock of that one door. If it doesn’t, it’s probably the key. 
  • Insert the key into the lock. If it doesn’t go all the way in, you have a blocked or damaged lock. 
  • Turn the key in the lock. If the lock turns without unlocking anything, you have a broken lock. 
  • If you can place the key in the lock, but it will not turn, but that key works in other locks, it’s a broken lock. 

Unless you know what you are doing, the help of a locksmith will assist you greatly in this department. They have the know-how to fix car locks and get you on the road once more. 

If the key wouldn’t work in the ignition cylinder, try the following.

  • Try your key in a car door. If it opens the car doors without an issue but won’t work in the ignition, there’s a problem with your ignition. 
  • If your immobiliser light comes on, but the car won’t start, it’s not your key that’s the problem. 

A car is made up of lots of moving mechanical things. There’s a multitude of things that can go wrong. However, in most cases, an automotive locksmith can help to fix the issue or replace your cylinder completely.

If your Car Key is New

If your key is new and it is not working, you may have an issue with the programming. Programming can also be an issue if you have recently changed the battery in your car or the key. The transponder key and key fob need to be programmed accurately to communicate successfully with the car. 

If your car key works in the doors but not the ignition, this could be the cause of it. Check the battery in your key fob before you assume this. The immobiliser light should turn on when your key is in the ignition cylinder; if it doesn’t, then check to see if your key is worn. 

Check with your local locksmith for programming services to get your car key tuned to the vehicle once more. 

Car Locksmith Services in Miami, Florida

At Quickly Locksmiths, we understand how important your car is to you, so we aim to get you back in your car and on the move as quickly as possible. Whether you need a new key cutting or fob programming, our Miami team can assist you. If you need assistance with your car key, contact Quickly Locksmith at (305) 984-9922 or through our contact us page

David Davidof

David Davidof

David Davidof is the founder & owner of Quickly Locksmith. The business has grown from strength to strength to become Miami’s go-to provider for Locksmith and Security services. Whilst the company has grown, the founding ethos has remained the same - Helping people in emergency situations and giving them the feeling they are safe.

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