Most of us use a remote key fob to lock and unlock our cars. If you’re one of them, you might be wondering, how does my key fob actually unlock my car? Is security an issue?
In today’s blog we’ll discuss some of the basics about how a controller can remotely unlock your car, what the security risks are, and the steps you can take if your remote fob stops working.
How do Key Fobs Work?
Your car’s key fob is actually a small radio transmitter which sends a radio signal to your car. The signal carries a specific code your car recognizes as one from a trusted controller. The fob also sends a code that tells your car what it should do with that signal–unlock or lock your car, open the trunk, or activate the car’s alarm system.
Key Fob Security
Remote key fobs are convenient, especially when your hands are full or you want to be in your car quickly. But some owners are concerned that the remote system is vulnerable to interference and hacking. If a thief can guess or “capture” the correct code your car’s lock system uses, what’s stopping them from using it to break into your car?
Thankfully, most modern key fobs use something called a “rolling” or “hopping” code system for extra security. These systems regularly switch to a new 40-character code periodically to protect you from theft and break-ins.
What if my key fob isn’t working?
Remote keys are so integrated into our lives, it can be frustrating when they stop working. Usually when your remote fob stops working you simply need to replace the battery. Follow these steps to test your key fob if it doesn’t seem to be working:
- Double check that your key fob isn’t working by using a backup if you have one.
- Replace the battery. You’ll find key fob batteries at most auto parts stores.
- Your key may need to be reprogrammed. Contact a professional auto locksmith (like us!) to reprogram your key fob.
- If nothing else works, you’ll need to replace your key fob.