A Comprehensive Guide: How To Start a Car With a Dead Key Fob?

How To Start a Car With a Dead Key Fob – Imagine this scenario: you’re ready to hit the road, but your trusty key fob decides to take a hiatus, leaving you stranded. In today’s automotive landscape, key fobs have become indispensable, offering convenience with keyless entry, remote starting, and seamless access to your vehicle.

But what happens when your key fob’s battery decides to call it quits at the most inconvenient moment?

Understanding how to start your car with a dead key fob can save you from a potential roadside headache. Fortunately, there’s a solution that doesn’t involve a tow truck or a locksmith.

Most key fob-equipped vehicles have a backup method, allowing you to start the engine even when the fob’s battery has gone kaput.

So, how does it work?

How To Start a Car With a Dead Key Fob

Inside your key fob lies an induction coil that communicates with your vehicle’s ignition system. When the battery is functional, this coil provides the necessary power for your car’s starting mechanism.

However, when the battery dies, there’s still a way to energize the key fob using the induction coil inside the steering column.

Similar to wireless phone charging, holding the key fob (with a dead or missing battery) near the key logo on the steering column initiates the energizing process.

Once the key fob is energized, your vehicle can recognize it, allowing you to start the engine.

This technology often incorporates a redundant RFID or low-power NFC tag, or sometimes, it requires you to use the small fob key to open the door initially.

But what if you find yourself in a situation where your key fob’s battery is deceased, and you need to start your car urgently?

Here’s a simple yet effective method recommended by automotive experts:

“If your fob battery has died, hold the logo side of the fob very close to your vehicle’s Start/Stop button, then push the button—your vehicle should start up,” advises LTS Rick Barnicoat.

This simple step can be a lifesaver in moments of emergency. By following this procedure, you can bypass the dead battery in your key fob and initiate your vehicle’s ignition seamlessly.

Knowing how to start a car with a dead key fob can be a game-changer in unexpected situations.

Key Fob Functionality

Key fobs have evolved into sophisticated devices that wirelessly communicate with your vehicle. These compact gadgets, powered by batteries, emit encrypted signals to a receiver within your car.

The signals convey specific commands, such as unlocking doors, opening hatches, or activating the ignition.

In most modern cars, the starter button depends on a signal confirmation from the key fob to initiate the engine. The proximity of the fob to the driver’s seat is crucial for the button to function, ensuring a secure starting mechanism.

Read Also: How To Start A Car With A Dead Battery?

What Happens When Your Key Fob Battery Dies?

How To Start a Car With a Dead Key Fob

When the battery in your key fob dies, it loses its ability to emit the required signal to the vehicle’s ignition system. Consequently, the car won’t recognize the signal and remains locked, preventing you from starting the engine with the fob alone.

However, many vehicles have backup systems to circumvent this issue.

For several brands, placing the dead key fob near the ignition button or inserting it into a designated slot can help establish proximity, allowing the vehicle to detect the key’s presence and enable the car to start.

Additionally, some automakers integrate a physical key within the key fob or provide a hidden key slot in the steering column.

This mechanical key serves as an alternative method to start the car when the fob’s battery is dead.

Alternative Solutions and Remote Start Features

In situations where direct interaction with the key fob isn’t successful, manufacturers often offer remote services through dedicated apps.

These apps can remotely start your car by utilizing its data connection.

Digital keys within these apps can act as replacements for the physical key fob, granting access and ignition capabilities.

Read Also: How To Start a Car With a Bad Fuel Pump?

Starting Your Car Without the Key Fob

In emergencies or when alternative methods are necessary, several unconventional techniques can help start your car without the key fob.

how to start car if key fob is dead

These methods might involve utilizing tools like screwdrivers or locating specific components within the vehicle, such as the red coil wire or a hidden switch in the steering column.

Key Fob’s Impact on Car Battery

A dead key fob may cause a minimal drain on the car battery due to its continuous attempt to communicate with the vehicle.

While this drain might not entirely deplete a healthy car battery, it’s advisable to replace the key fob’s battery promptly to prevent potential complications and ensure seamless functionality.

Signs of a Dying Key Fob

Recognizing signs indicating a dying key fob battery is crucial. These signs include the LED light failing to illuminate, weak signal strength, or the need for multiple clicks to prompt any action.

Despite a malfunctioning key fob, utilizing the emergency blade typically included with the fob can still help start your car in critical situations.


The evolution of key fobs has significantly streamlined our vehicle access and ignition processes, offering convenience through innovative technology. However, encountering a dead key fob battery can momentarily disrupt this convenience.

Understanding the inner workings of key fobs, their reliance on signal transmission, and the backup mechanisms in place for starting a car with a dead key fob is paramount.

Recognizing the signs of a dying key fob battery and promptly addressing them, either by replacing the battery or utilizing emergency features like the included blade, is crucial to ensuring uninterrupted vehicle operation.

Being prepared with diverse methods to start a car with dead key fob safeguards against potential inconvenience and allows you to regain control of your vehicle’s ignition when faced with unexpected battery failures.

Understanding these mechanisms empowers drivers to handle such situations efficiently and continue their journey without being hindered by a dead key fob.

Embrace these insights to ensure seamless car access and ignition, even in challenging moments. Knowing how to start a car with a dead key fob is invaluable in unforeseen circumstances.

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