Skip the Pricey Car Dealership

I fixed a keyless remote myself and so can you

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I refuse to go to a car dealership for any reason.

I don’t shop for cars there and I don’t get maintenance or repairs done there. They have a reputation for charging much more than smaller auto shops.

So when my car’s keyless entry remote stopped working, I wasn’t about to head to the dealership to get it repaired.

I tried the obvious fix, first: replacing the battery.

I watched a YouTube video to see how to take the remote apart without damaging it. I got out a tiny screwdriver, removed the screw from the key’s plastic backing, popped open the remote case, and checked the number on the lithium ion battery.

A few days later, I had a package of five new batteries from an Amazon seller for less than $3. But switching out the battery didn’t solve the problem.

Maybe I had a bum package of batteries. I didn’t have any other devices I could test them on, so I ordered a different brand of the same battery from a different seller.

Pricey Car Dealership

No dice.

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I then pushed the problem aside for about two years and relied on my manual key to unlock my car door.

From what I had read online, I would need to order a new remote entry key from the dealership, and when it arrived, the dealer would have to cut the key and program it to work with my vehicle.

All of this would be a considerable hassle and cost me at least $100.

I had gotten along fine in life without a remote entry key for any vehicle I ever owned.

Sure, it was one of my favorite features of my latest car, but I could live without it. I’m practical like that.

But eventually I got fed up with myself for putting off such a simple repair for so long. It sure would be nice to be able to pop the trunk when I had an armful of groceries or to save a few seconds unlocking my door on a rainy day.

I did some more online research.

This time, I got better results.

My vehicle was known to have defective remotes. The problem definitely wasn’t the battery, and I hadn’t somehow damaged the remote while taking it apart.

I didn’t need a dealer to fix it, though. I could, in fact, solve the problem myself.

First, I ordered a new remote entry key from eBay for about $40. I made sure to match the long model number on the back of my existing key with the model number in the seller’s listing.

Although the new key would arrive uncut, couldn’t I take it apart just like I had the old one, remove the new remote, and put it in my old, already cut key?

Pricey Car Dealership

I could. And I did.

Next I had to program the remote to work with my car, following the instructions I found in a YouTube video.

The process is incredibly simple, with slight variations depending on vehicle make and model.

It basically involves putting the key in the ignition, turning the key to ignition position two (where the car’s accessories fire up but you don’t start the engine), pressing the remote’s lock button, turning off the ignition, and repeating those steps several times until you hear all the locks in the car click.

Programming takes about 30 seconds and definitely doesn’t require any wizardry that only a dealership could provide.

The Internet has destroyed the car dealerships’ information monopoly, and we no longer have to rely on them to fix any little problem that crops up with our cars.

There are lots of tasks we can more easily and less expensively handle ourselves, from seeing why a car’s check engine light has come on by using an on-board diagnostic reader that anyone can buy on Amazon, to changing the air filter, to replacing and programming a keyless entry remote.

The next time you have a minor car problem, do some research online to see if you can fix it yourself. You might be surprised by how much time and money you can save. Plus, you’ll get bragging rights and that priceless DIY satisfaction.


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