Troubleshooting Remote Keyless Entry and Vehicle Starting Issues

Troubleshooting Remote Keyless Entry and Vehicle Starting Issues

Learn how key rings, RFID chips, and other factors can affect your vehicle's security system and learn to resolve these problems.


If you get a customer coming in and complaining that their remote keyless entry is not working, or they may have a complaint that the vehicle did not start on certain occasions, take a look at the key ring. The key ring or key fob may have two radio signals coming from it. The first one is for the remote keyless entry. This is typically in the range of 315 to 433 megahertz, and it travels pretty far to open up the doors while they’re halfway across a parking lot. The other one inside, well, it’s 125 megahertz, RFID chip. Inside this RFID chip has a copper coil wrapped around it, and that copper coil is connected to a computer chip. Also, there is an antenna or a broadcaster with another set of coils on the steering column, and those two create a signal that causes this chip to broadcast an identifier that says, Hey, this is my key that’s gonna start my vehicle.

Let’s go. So let’s look at this key chain and why would it be a diagnostic nightmare? First of all, you’ve got all these wonderful pieces of metal that can block the antenna just in case. Also, on here, I have an RFID key tag. This can get a person inside a building, but it can also interfere with the RFID chip inside the key fob itself. Just keep this in mind when you’re diagnosing one of these problems with remote keyless entry, and then also a no start complaint or other issues where it says the key is not authenticated or it violates certain security things on the dash. By checking this, you can know if the problem is key related. Also, top tip, if you have A-T-P-M-S tool, these typically have something called an RKE menu or functions that can test the keyless entry. So when you press this button, you’ll have an indication that it actually transmitted. Also, if you have a scan tool that can look at that keyless entry module or the security module on the vehicle, you could see if you press one of these buttons on here, if the ECM recognizes it and allows the engine to start. I’m Andrew Markel. Thank you very much.

This video is sponsored by Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper.

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