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What to do when your car’s automatic key fob stops working

January 31, 2019

Chances are, you use a “key fob” to lock and unlock your car. As convenient as keyless entry is, sometimes the automatic keys have issues with suddenly not working so well -- or not working at all.

If your fob, which stands for frequency operated button, dies, Mike Quincy, a car editor with Consumer Reports, recommends owners check the battery before rushing to shell out hundreds of dollars to replace it.

“A battery typically weakens after a year or two,” said Quincy. “Where you store your key fob also matters.”

According to Quincy, you shouldn’t leave the fob in the car overnight or even on a hook near the car.

“If the fob is too close to your car, it can continue to communicate with your car, which could drain the battery,” he said.

If you do need to replace the fob, check your owner’s manual -- it’s usually simple to do, and the batteries typically cost just a few dollars.

Don’t have time for repairs? Many drivers aren’t aware that the fobs actually have a key “blade” tucked inside that can manually unlock the car doors if needed.

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