What Exactly is Key Fob Programming

Electronic car keys, often known as key fobs, allow you to control your vehicle’s doors, trunk, and alarm and even have the ability to start the car remotely. As its name implies, the technology locks and unlocks vehicle doors using a portable device the size of an eraser. A remote keyless entry system is a sort of electronic locking system used to regulate access to modern vehicles. Keyless entry systems may utilize either conventional remote fobs or sophisticated Smart Keys. As with any other electronic device, these key fobs may eventually become nonfunctioning, typically due to signal or data loss. You can typically quickly reconfigure and program the remote control at home in order to relearn the data.

In this article, we will be going over what exactly key fob programming is so you can have a better understanding of these small yet very useful devices.

What is key fob programming

Vehicle security has advanced significantly over time. Mechanical locks and critical combinations were employed to unlock the doors of early automobiles.  Today’s vehicles are fitted with sophisticated locking mechanisms that are more secure than those of the past.  Although the automotive industry is moving toward keyless entry systems, mechanical door locks are often utilised. Two crucial aspects of car security are impacted by keyfob systems:  vehicle entrance and ignition. The system utilizes transmitters, transceivers, and transponders. These gadgets communicate by the transmission and reception of radio waves. 

When the onboard computer receives a signal from the receiver to unlock or lock the vehicle’s doors, it sends a signal to the door actuators. The frequency range of all key fobs is between 300 and 400 MHz. To prevent other automobile owners from entering your vehicle, the signal transmitted by your key fob must be unique. The keyless entry system generates this unique signal using “rolling” or “hopping” codes. Rolling codes hinder burglars using code-grabbing devices because the codes are updated with each use. Additionally, keyfob codes are encrypted, making it extremely difficult for criminals to decipher the signals.

How do you program a key fob?

Different car models have distinct ways of key fob programming. The procedure described here is the most prevalent method for reprogramming key fobs. This tutorial is compatible with most cars on the market, but you may need to learn detailed information about your vehicle:

Step 1: You should be seated in the driver’s seat with the ignition key and key fob in your possession and all doors closed. Then, enter the key into the ignition and turn it to start the motor without the engine.

Step 2: Once seated, insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the “On” position to activate the vehicle’s electrical systems. Verify that the ignition is not in radio mode, and do not start the engine.

Step 3: Press the fob’s lock button and spin the key to the ‘Off’ position with the key in the ‘On’ position. This procedure should be repeated three times, concluding with the key in the “On” position. This sends a signal to your car’s electronic control modules indicating that your key is in the ignition and then stores the data.

Step 4: Wait for the door locks to chime. You have now initiated programming mode. Press the “Lock” button on your remote control within five seconds. The locks will cycle again to signal that the programming was successful.

Step 5: To program additional remotes, press “Lock” again on each remote within 10 seconds of entering programming mode. After each remote is successfully programmed, the locks will cycle. You can program a maximum of three remote controls.

Step 6: Take all the programmed key fobs with you, exit the vehicle, and lock all the doors. Test the unlock and lock functionalities on your programmed key fobs to ensure they are operational.

Where to get key fob programming

In some vehicles, programming a key fob may not be as simple as outlined above, and specialized hardware and software may be necessary to complete the process. In general, we recommend that you contact your authorized car dealer to learn how to program the key fobs for your specific vehicle. Since obtaining this information or assistance from an authorized dealer can be costly and may not be worthwhile for older vehicle models, you can contact a locksmith or a local auto repair business.

How  much does key fob programming cost

Although locksmith services are less expensive, you may still be curious about pricing. How much does it cost to program a key fob with a locksmith? The price might vary between $50 and $200. The exact price varies on several variables, including:

  • The kind of key fob. 

If the key fob has a transponder key or keyless ignition, it may be more expensive to reprogram than a standard key fob. Transponder keys contain computer chips that are required for the vehicle to start. If a computer chip is needed, you may be unable to reprogram an old key fob from a different car to operate in your current vehicle if you attempt to do so.

  • Build and design your vehicle. 

Certain manufacturers make it difficult to reset a key fob. While this is advantageous from a security aspect, it increases expenditures when the key fob must be replaced or reprogrammed.

  • How much do locksmith services cost on average in your region? 

Locksmiths must maintain a competitive environment in order to remain in business. The price may vary depending on the average cost of key fob programming services in a state or city. Regardless of your location, you will save money using a locksmith instead of the local dealership.


Programming car keys can be a complicated topic, but with a bit of research and fundamental understanding, you should be able to comprehend the system’s primary function. Programming a key fob for the central lock system is typically a simple procedure, but programming an immobilizer may require the assistance of a key fob programming specialist. We hope that this guide will help you in any way, shape or form. Remember to always drive safely and cautiously!


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