How to Access Your Car When Your Car Key's Battery Is Dead

How to Access Your Car When Your Car Key's Battery Is Dead

Opening the doors of modern keyless cars is simple when it works, but it becomes a challenge when your key remote's batteries are dead. So, how do you get into your car without a charged key? 

The 'Keyless Entry' systems that are used in most modern cars are child's play: a simple pull on the door handle, and the car automatically unlocks. The engine then starts with one press of the start button. But what can you do if the remote key stops working because the battery died? In this case, the car's electronics will struggle to recognize the key, and the doors will stay locked. 

Fortunately, you shouldn't need to call roadside assistance, as car manufacturers usually have a hidden spare key that will allow you to unlock and start the car. The exact location of this 'secret key' varies from model to model. Usually, there is a button on your remote. Pressing this button and pulling elsewhere reveals the key. Your owner's manual will provide detailed instructions on how to find this emergency key.

The next problem is: how do you open the door? It may seem like the lock in the door handle has completely been removed by manufacturers, or at least, it is no longer visible. But don't worry, it is still there, hidden behind a cover. To open the door with the emergency key, you need to remove this cover first. This process will differ per car, but typically, it is just to the rear of the door handle. If you look from underneath, there should be a gap in the cover, you can pop off the cover and reveal the keyhole.

© Hella

When you turn the key in the lock and open the door, the alarm may go off if there is still some power in the battery. By turning the ignition on or starting the car, the alarm will stop. The physical spare key usually cannot be used to start the car, as modern cars are equipped with a start-stop button. So, how can you start a car with a dead remote?

The secret lies in the fact that the transponder in the remote typically doesn't need an external power source. The remote picks up an electromagnetic signal that the car itself emits. In some cases, you need to hold the remote against the side of the steering wheel where the ignition used to be. In other cars, the key must be held against the start button, and in many Mercedes models, you can remove the start button and start the car with the key.

The exact procedure for your specific car should be detailed in the owner's manual. You should now have access to it after you have opened your car door with the emergency key in your remote. Additionally, almost all modern cars give a warning when your key fob's battery is nearly dead. Nonetheless, it is helpful to keep a spare battery for the remote in your car or wallet.