Driver's Guide

How to Program a Key Fob Yourself

How to program a key fob yourself? It’s possible that your key fob lost its programming data, which would explain why all of a sudden it stopped operating.

Electronic car keys, also known as key fobs, are convenient for operating your vehicle’s doors, trunk, and alarm, and in certain cases, they may even start your vehicle from a distance when used in conjunction with the appropriate software.

These key fobs, like any other electronic device, run the risk of becoming inoperable after some time, often as a result of signal or data loss. To your good fortune, it is often not difficult to retrain the remote control on your own at home so that it can relearn the data.

In this guide, we will walk you through how you can program a key fob yourself, so that you won’t need to spend money taking it to a vehicle dealer to have it done and you won’t lose time.

How to Program a Key Fob Yourself

How to program a key fob yourself

Different car models have various ways of key fob programming. The procedures that are described below are the most common ways of programming key fob to car. This guide applies to the vast majority of vehicles now available on the market; nonetheless, there may be instances when you need to locate information that is special to your vehicle.

A maintenance manual might provide you with additional information that is more particular about the remote control for your automobile. To program a car key fob on your own, follow these instructions.

1. Change the key fob batteries

Changing the key fob batteries is one way to program a key fob yourself. If it has been a while since you last changed the battery in the key fobs, you should do so before proceeding with anything else. If the battery in your key fob isn’t working properly, reprogramming it might be a big pain in the neck. KBB explains how you can run the replacement here.

It is in your best interest to change the key fob’s batteries regularly since doing so will typically not cost you very much money and will not need much effort. If you do not know how to replace them, check the instructions in either your owner’s handbook or a repair manual.

2. Get inside the car

Place yourself in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, grab your keys and any remotes you want to reprogram, and then shut all of the doors. It is vitally crucial to close the doors, since leaving even one open might cause the process to become chaotic.

3. Turn on the ignition

When you are ready, slide the key into the ignition and turn it to the “On” position. This will ensure that all of the electrical components are receiving electricity. Also, check to see that the ignition is not set to radio mode, and then refrain from starting the engine.

4. Press the lock button on the remote key

While the key is still in the “On” position, push the lock button on the key fob, and then turn the key so that it is in the “Off” position. On a minimum of three separate occasions, you should go through this procedure, ensuring that you finish each cycle with the key in the “On” position.

This causes a signal to be sent to the electronic control modules in your car indicating that the signal is being sent by your key that is inserted into the ignition, and it records the data later.

5. Pay attention to hear a clicking sound

After carrying out the steps outlined above, you will be able to unlock the doors of your vehicle and hear the sound of the lock. This signifies that the programming mode has been entered on your vehicle, and the procedure has been successful up until this point.

If you hear the lock sign for the door and then push the lock button on your key fob again within five seconds, the programming should go through successfully.

6. Program more remotes

If there are more remotes that you would want to program to the vehicle, you must hit the ‘Lock’ button within ten seconds after entering programming mode to be able to program those extra remotes.

If you want to increase the likelihood of your attempt being successful, you can also try starting the ignition while simultaneously programming the main remote and pressing the lock or unlock button on the secondary remote.

7. Turn off the ignition

Turning the ignition to the “Off” position will finish the programming operation after all of the preceding stages have been carried out and you have received the successful signal for all of the key fobs that you wanted to program.

 8. Come down from the car and check the outcome

After you have programmed all of the key fobs, make sure you take them with you when you exit the car and lock all of the doors. You should use each of your key fobs, which have been programmed to validate the functioning, to test not only the function to unlock the door but also the function to lock it.

If the key fobs still do not function after you have attempted to program them, or if you were only successful in programming one of the key fobs, you may wish to try the whole procedure once again. On the other hand, there is always a chance that this technique won’t work on the type of automobile you have.


How much does it cost to reprogram a key fob?

If you choose to program a key fob yourself, reprogramming a key fob’s lock and unlock feature doesn’t cost anything. If, on the other hand, you need to reprogram the immobilizer function, you should anticipate spending between two hundred and five hundred dollars for the reprogramming service at the workshop.

Can you program a key fob yourself without the original?

Programming the key fob itself to open and lock the vehicle is often something that a person can do on their own without the original key. If this is all you want to do, then you should be good to go. On the other hand, it is not feasible to program a key for the start function on the majority of contemporary automobile models without the appropriate instruments.

How do you program the push start button on the key fob?

Due to the immobilizer, programming the key fob push start often requires the appropriate diagnostic tools. Since only authorized dealers typically have access to these tools, programming the key fob push start may be difficult. On the other hand, if you just want to reprogram the function to open and lock the door, the programming technique is the same as it is for a conventional key fob.

How do you erase key fob memory?

You need to make use of a diagnostic tool that is compatible with OBD2 to delete the key fob. Not all generic scanning tools are capable of doing this, and in most cases, you will need a tool that is designed specifically for the make and model of your vehicle.

Can you program a key fob without going to the dealership?

You do not need to travel to the dealership to train the key fob’s unlocking and locking functions; this may be done from home. However, if you want to be able to start the vehicle with the key, you will need to get the transponder programmed, which may require you to visit the dealership or a locksmith.

If the battery in a key fob is replaced, does the fob need to go through the process of being reprogrammed?

Simply replacing the battery in a key fob will not, in most cases, cause the device to lose its memory. If you replace the battery in the key fob and it still does not function, the problem may lie in the fact that the battery was not put in properly. Nevertheless, removing the battery from the key fob of some kinds of cars may cause the key fob to lose its memory, although this is a very unusual occurrence.

Final words

Place the key and turn on the car, then press and hold the button labeled “lock” or “unlock” on the key, then turn the ignition on and off a few times while continuing to hold the button down. This is the procedure to follow in the majority of vehicle models. After removing the key and getting out of the vehicle to evaluate the results, listen for the sound of a lock being engaged.

The process of programming car keys may be fairly complicated, but if you do a little bit of study and familiarize yourself with certain fundamental concepts, you can grasp how the system works on its most fundamental level.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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