Jeep Key Fob Not Detected: What Does It Mean & How to Fix?

A keyless-entry Jeep, equipped with a push-button start, undoubtedly makes life easier for its owners. But the problem arises when the car won’t start because of a dead key fob – and you can’t simply turn the key a few times (in an old-fashioned desperate go) to start it.

Regular maintenance on your key fob may seem ridiculous, but when it fails, you can’t even enter your car, let alone start it, which, in short, can be a nightmare.

If you find your Jeep key fob not detected, it’s necessary to identify the trouble and determine whether it’s better to repair it or replace it. Listed below are some tips on how to deal with a non-working key fob.

What Does It Mean When Your Jeep Says Key Fob Not Detected?

What it sounds like pretty much describes what it is. Your Jeep saying ‘Key fob not detected’ means that a working key cannot send a transmission to the vehicle, often due to weak batteries in the key fob.

Basically, this fault in the key fob prevents you from getting a keyless entry to your car even if the feature is functioning well.

What Causes Key Fob Not Detected on Jeep?

If your Jeep doesn’t detect the key fob, these are often the reasons:

1. Dead Key Fob Battery

As with all vehicles with keyless entry, the most common cause of key fob failure in a Jeep is a failed battery. When the key fob’s battery is dead or weak, it cannot transmit any signal to your keyless entry system. 

2. Use of a Wrong Key

Sometimes it’s easy to grab the wrong key when in a hurry. Each key fob is unique and unlikely to function in other vehicles. 

3. Faulty Key Fob

It’s always a possibility that your Jeep’s key fob has got damaged without your knowledge. A malfunctioning lock-unlock system can result from loose or old wiring, water damage, or circuit damage. 

4. Programming Issue

You may experience software or programming issues in your Jeep just as you would with any other keyless-entry car.

The key fob’s programming may be accidentally deleted due to a stalled load or the battery dying during operation, preventing it from being detected by the system.

5. Car Battery Worn Out

Sometimes, problems stem not from the key fob but from the car itself. Jeep’s modern, demanding locking system prevents it from responding to a key fob when its battery is dying.

6. Faulty Door Lock

Problems with your Jeep’s door locks can also affect its key fobs.

7. Misaligned Buttons or Broken Contacts

A key fob with stuck, broken, or damaged buttons cannot function efficiently or send correct signals. Pressing a stuck start button won’t make the necessary contacts.

8. Radio Interference

When your Jeep key fob suddenly stops working, and you can’t seem to figure out why radio interference could be to blame.

Several wireless devices, including anti-theft alarms and radar detectors, may transmit at the same frequency as the key fob signal to disrupt its connectivity.

How to Fix Your Jeep Key Fob

Before proceeding to fix your Jeep’s key fob, you should first be sure whether it went wrong for real or not. You can simply know that by starting your car with a spare that came with your purchase. If it works fine, the other must have a problem. 

Now, if it’s really faulty, seeking assistance from the manufacturer is the best way to have your key fob working again as long as your warranty has not expired.

However, if the warranty does expire, it’s okay to attempt to repair it yourself before hiring a professional service. Here are some possible fixes you may want to try.

1. Replace the Battery

When you first try to fix your key fob, you should try replacing the battery with a new one since it’s most likely to cause key fob detection issues.

In addition, you should check the car’s battery and make sure it’s working fine too.

2. Readjust Button Alignments and Contacts

As a result of abuse that your key fob has experienced, its buttons may become misaligned and fail its terminal contacts. 

You can check such occurrences by pulling the fob apart with a flat screwdriver and inspecting for loose or broken connections. If you find any, you can gently solder them back in place, which should fix the problem.

Also, be sure the buttons are correctly aligned and not pushed down or popping out. 

3. Improve Conductivity of the Contacts

It’s also possible to encounter key fob detection failure even when the buttons are correctly aligned, and the contacts are firmly in place. When that happens, the worn circuit board may be to blame. 

In that case, you may want to try cleaning and polishing the board with isopropyl alcohol to improve the connectivity. You can also put a little bit of conductivity paint to re-establish the connection. 

4. Replace the Fuse

Jeep fuses are challenging to diagnose, which often results in the vehicle not receiving signals. So, if nothing works after replacing the batteries or readjusting the connections, you should replace the fuse and see if that fixes the problem.

5. Reprogram Your Key Fob

If none of the above methods work, the chances are that your key fob has a crashed program. In such a case, reprogramming the fob is the only option.

You can accomplish it by starting the engine several times while keeping the doors closed. 

You can program a Jeep key fob by following these steps:

  • Be sure to close your trunk and doors before entering your Jeep.
  • Keep your key in the “OFF” position and insert it into the ignition. 
  • Let the driver’s side door ajar.
  • While the door is still open, turn the lock, so it’s in the ‘lock’ position.
  • Set the ignition to “ON.”
  • Hold down the “LOCK” button for five seconds on your remote.
  • Take the key out of the ignition and release the button if you have successfully programmed the Jeep key fob!

How to Start Your Jeep with a Dead Key Fob

Having a non-responsive key fob and getting stalled on the road will undoubtedly frustrate anyone, especially when you’re not carrying any spare or replacement batteries or you’re in no situation to fix it. But there’s nothing to panic about. 

You can get your Jeep back on the street in no time using a little-known technique. It starts with unlocking your car. Fortunately, Jeep key fobs include a conventional car key, unlike most keyless-entry cars. 

On the back of your key fob, you will find a small sliding button. To remove the cover, simply slide or press the button. Use your fingernails and a little force to release the key.

You can now open the door by using the mechanical key. There must be a key slot hidden behind the handle cover if you cannot see one on your door. Simply pop the handle cover off gently with the key, and you’ll be able to access the key slot.

Here’s how you can start your car with the dead key fob now that you are inside:

  • Close the key fob after putting the mechanical key back into it.
  • Now, instead of using your finger, press your Jeep’s start/stop button using the tip of your dead key fob while pushing the brake pedal. 

And that’s it! Your Jeep should now start without any trouble. Jeep vehicles use the system as a backup so that the car will operate even if the key fob is dead.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. You now know all the DIY methods to deal with a Jeep key fob not detected. Besides the above methods, you can also use Jeep’s android or iOS apps to unlock your car remotely when it is locked.

All you need to do is make sure you’ve got your app set up with your vehicle before your key fob dies.

And in case everything fails, you can always seek professional help, which will cost you around 200-300$. Good luck.

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