8 Reasons Why Your Car Keys Might Not be Working

Your alarm clock didn’t ring in the morning and now you’re late for an important meeting at work. With a cup of coffee in your hand, you run out the door to your car. But to make matters worse, your car key isn’t working!

Everyone has had days where nothing is going right. You have to rush to go somewhere and your car keys are just not cooperating. While we recommend that you call an automobile locksmith in New York City if you find yourself in a situation like this, getting to know WHY your car key is not working in the first place is very important.

The reasons behind your car keys not working may be many. With so many different types of cars and car keys, the problem could be anything! But rather than spending precious time and effort trying to find the exact reason, we’ve saved you the trouble by talking about everything in one place.

This is your handy guide for troubleshooting the reasons why your car key may not be working. Let’s start by taking a look at the different kinds of car keys first.

The Different Types of Car Keys

To get to the bottom of the problem, it is good to know what kind of a car key you have and how it’s different from other types. It is a common misunderstanding that the car key of a similar make and model will work on others as well. But that’s not how it works. Although lock and key systems may operate on the same premise, every system is unique.

This is why it is a good thing to identify what car key you own so that you can diagnose accurate reasons for its malfunction.

  • Traditional car keys– although not the safest, these are the most basic and the most commonly owned car keys. It is a standard, machine-cut key that unlocks your car door by working with the ignition. Cars manufactured before 1995 will have this type of key.
  • Transponder car keys – cars that have been manufactured after 1995 will feature a transponder key. These are a more secure option as there is no actual physical key that can be copied. Instead, your key fob will have a unique transmitter embedded in it that corresponds with a chip located in the car. These wireless keys are more commonly used in today’s cars.

Reasons Why Your Car Key Isn’t Working

Now that you’ve identified what kind of a car key you own, diagnosing the problem will be much easier. Let’s delve in to find out the reasons why it may not be working.

1. A Damaged Lock

A common reason for your car key not unlocking your car is that the lock is simply damaged. Car owners who have older models will be more likely to experience this issue than modern car owners. That’s because recent car models mainly use keyless remotes but older ones still rely on physical keys.

It may be that your car lock has worn down because of time. If you use your car a lot, chances are you’ll be locking and unlocking the door a lot too. Over time, this constant use takes a toll on the car’s lock, causing the internal mechanism to become faulty.

Aside from that, since car locks also come into contact with the exterior of your car, external influences can also damage the lock. They keyhole can be blocked off due to dirt and grime and that may be the reason why it’s not functioning properly.

2. A Damaged Key

On the flip side of the coin, it may not be your car lock that’s at fault, but the key itself. Again, this is an issue that is more prevalent with older car models than recent ones. Now, when you think of a damaged key, your mind may summon up images of broken key pieces. But that is not the only damage that your car key can incur.

If you take a closer look at your key, you’ll notice that it has a pattern; grooves that fit in exactly with your car key lock. But like with every other material thing, your physical car key is prone to wear and tear. Over time, and combined with a lack of maintenance, the grooves on your car key can get scuffed and worn down.

If you constantly use your car key, and not take proper care of them, they are bound to be damaged over time. A time will come that the grooves on the key will be so altered that they won’t be able to work on the lock’s internal mechanism.

3. Faulty Ignition

The ignition system is basically what activates your car’s electrical systems. But starting up your car is not its only job. Your car lock works in tandem with the car’s ignition. They key doesn’t come in contact with the external lock only; it is also linked to the ignition system through the internal lock mechanism.

If your car key and lock seem to be apparently fine, then there may be a larger issue at hand. The fault may lie in your car’s ignition system. Just like the exterior and physical components of a car, the internal and electrical mechanisms are also susceptible to wear and tear. So this may be one reason why your car keys are not working.

4. Dead Key Fob Batteries

You press the unlock button on your key fob and anticipate your car to, well, unlock. But, it never does. The reason may be simpler than you think. One reason why your keyless remote may not be working is that because it has simply run out of batteries.

Batteries are only designed to last a specific period of time, after that they run out. So if you see that your key fob is not responding as it should, or at all, simply check to see if the batteries are working. The solution is simple; replace it with new ones and be on your merry way!

5. An Un-programmed Car Key

A transponder key or a wireless key remote is programmed to open your car. A transmitter is placed in your keyless fob that works in conjunction with a responder chip installed in the car’s system. Once you press the lock/unlock button, your key fob sends out a signal to the chip in your car and does the required action.

If your keyless remote is not working, chances are it’s not programmed in tune with the car’s system. It may be that you recently got your transponder key replaced or acquired a duplicate that has not been programmed with the system.

6. Internal Damage to the Keyless Remote

Another common reason why your car keys may not be working is the internal mechanism of the key fob has been compromised. As discussed before, the car’s keyless remote works on the basis of a signal being transmitted to the car’s internal mechanism. But if your key fob is unable to send signals successfully, it may be internally damaged.

It could be because you dropped your keys and knocked the internal wiring out of place, or some other external damage that is preventing them from working fine.

7. Aftermarket or Spare Car Keys

Are you using car keys that are not original but instead spares that you bought from the aftermarket? That may be the source of the trouble. Aftermarkets are a good place to find spare automotive parts for cheaper prices. But you should know, those spare parts aren’t always designed to work in harmony with your car. If you have a malfunctioning key, this may be the reason.

8. A Duplicate key

Most of us own duplicates of our car keys. On the off chance that you get locked out of your car, a duplicate will really come in handy. But if a copied key is what you’re using as a replacement for an original key, that may be causing you trouble. Duplicate car keys, although somewhat similar to the original one, aren’t exactly identical. You may find that the reason your car keys are not working is simply because they’re duplicates.

What Should I Do?

You’ve now acquainted yourself with the various reasons of what could go wrong with your car keys, but what’s the solution?

In case of a damaged key, your best bet is to contact an auto key replacement in NYC. Same in the case of a damaged lock; a professional auto locksmith service will ensure that your car keys are back to working fine. If you suspect any of the above reasons as a source of your car key troubles, it is best to get in touch with us at New York Locksmith Networks Inc.

We will get to the root of the problem and make sure that everything is as good as new! Contact us now on 917-472-1252 or 347-753-9043.

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