7 Reasons Your Car Key Isn’t Working

7 Reasons Your Car Key Isn’t Working

It happens to us all: we’re in a rush to go somewhere. In our rush, we go to unlock and open our car door only to realize our car key isn’t working. Your mind probably races in this moment and you’re left wondering: “Why isn’t my car key working?” Sometimes the answer is straightforward, and sometimes it’s not. In this blog post, we will detail 7 of the main reasons your car key isn’t working. 

Types of Car Keys

In order to figure out why your car key isn’t working, you need to know what kind of key you have. There are a few variations of key in use today, so let’s take a look at some: 

Steel Cut Blade Key

These keys are the “traditional” car keys, steel cut and used to engage the locks and ignition of your car. If your car was manufactured before 1995, chances are your car key is of this more traditional kind. 

Transponder Key

After 1995, car manufacturers started pairing cars with transponder keys. A transponder key has a small microchip embedded in the key fob that corresponds with a receiver housed within your car’s computer system. In order for the car to unlock and turn on, the transponder and receiver must exchange signals with each other that verify your key is the right key. 

Smart Keys & Remote Keys

These days, most modern car keys have built upon the basic transponder technology. This has led to more advanced keys such as smart keys and remote keys (which allow for keyless entry.) 

So, Why Isn’t My Car Key Working? 

Now that we’ve talked about the different kinds of car keys, let’s get down to it: why your car key isn’t working. Bear in mind that the following points will not apply to you if you’ve broken your key or snapped it in the lock. If that’s the case, you should call a locksmith to come extract the key for you.

(1) Your Lock Is Damaged

If you’re quite sure that there’s nothing wrong with your car key, your lock may be to blame, especially if you drive an older model of car. This isn’t as common in new cars, which rely more heavily on transponder technology (and sometimes omit locks entirely.) Car lock cylinders can get worn down over time, and trap dirt and debris which makes it harder to use. 

(2) Your Key Is Damaged

Your key doesn’t have to be completely broken in order to be rendered useless. Keys are a piece of hardware, after all, and like your locks, are also prone to being worn down over time. The grooves on your key may be worn down and eventually fail to operate the lock mechanism.

(3) Faulty Ignition Cylinder

Your ignition lock (if you have one) is just another piece of hardware: susceptible to wear and tear. It can fill with debris and dirt or have its internal components damaged by force. If your key worked on your car door locks but not your ignition, than your ignition is likely to blame.

(4) Worn Out Key Fob Battery

Your key fob is what facilitates communication between your car key and your car. If the battery inside your car key is dead, you won’t be able to use it. 

(5) Damaged Key Fob

Alternatively, damage to either the transmitter or receiver can render your key inoperable. These issues can arise from accidents as simple as dropping your car key too many times or knocking the internal parts of the fob out of alignment.

(6) The Key Programming is Off

As we described above, most car keys today rely on some form of basic or more high tech transponder technology. In order for this communication to work properly, keys must be programmed to a specific car. If your car key isn’t working with your vehicle, it may not yet have been programmed. This is a common occurrence among drivers who replace their car key remotes or get duplicate keys. 

(7) Your Key is a Copy

Most people have at least one copy of their car key, and for good reason! If you ever get locked out, it’s a lifesaver to have a spare ready. However, with each consecutive duplicate, a key loses the integrity of the original, the reason being because it moves further and further away from being identical to the original. 

What To Do

If your car key isn’t working, try to take stock of the situation and figure out why. You’ll need to replace a key if it’s damaged. If the lock is damaged, try some tips for cleaning it out. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to have it repaired. Assuming the problem with your key is at all technological, you’ll need to have it programmed or replaced. For any and all of these services, the person to reach out to is a professional automotive locksmith. Many of them these days offer mobile services and will come to your location to take care of your problem. From key replacements to lock repair, these guys can perform a wide range of auto lock and key services on the spot. For an automotive locksmith in Orlando, FL, you can give Sasi Pro Services a call! We work 24/7 to meet the needs of drivers across the city.