Don't panic if your key fob stops working

When was the last time you put a key into your car's ignition? If you're one of the millions of drivers who use a key fob to start your car, you might have trouble remembering.

As the experts at Consumer Reports point out, with the convenience of keyless entry comes some basic maintenance of the fob itself; to keep you coming and going seamlessly.

Whether you're a parent with their hands full, or a grocery shopper, or just someone navigating an already busy day, the convenience of using a key fob can become routine -- until it stops working.

But when your fob isn't working, experts say don't be in such a rush to shell out hundreds of dollars to replace it. They say the first thing you should look at is the battery.

"A battery typically weakens after a year or two. Where you store your key fob also matters," said Mike Quincy, Consumer Reports cars editor.

He says leaving your key fob in the car overnight, or even on a hook near the car, is not a smart idea.

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

Your owner's manual should give you simple instructions to replace the battery for just a few bucks.

Consumer Reports says if all else fails, be aware that many fobs have a key blade tucked inside -- sometimes used for valet parking -- that can manually unlock the doors.
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