Troubleshooting Remote Key Won’t Unlock Car Door

Troubleshooting Remote Key Won’t Unlock Car Door

Car Locksmith In Houston: Reasons Why A Key Stops Working

Has it ever happened to you that you got out of your car and are headed into a store or another type of destination and your key fob failed to work? Perhaps you tried hitting the lock button but nothing happened as a result? You stop and then try again, but still, nothing happens. Most likely you walked back towards your car to try it again, and then gave up and locked the doors manually. When it comes to car keys, that isn’t an uncommon issue, but it isn’t the only way they might not work. There are other times when the fob won’t unlock the car if they don’t fit right into the ignition or lock, or more. In order to understand why a car key stop working, you need to begin with the kind of keys that are used and then why they, in particular, develop performance problems. Only a Houston car locksmith can layout the real reasons why your car keys may have stopped working.


Preventing Rust

If rust is the main issue, it is important to prevent it from reoccurring. You should insect your locks and car regularly for signs of rust. Do not allow water to pool in the key assembly. Washing your vehicle regularly can help prevent rust build up so any dirt does not rub away at protective coatings, causing rust.

Once you have cleaned off the rust, applying a rust arrestor can help prevent the rust from spreading. Most rust arrestors on the market come with their application brush. All you have to do is dip it in the arrestor and apply a thin coat to the area that was rusted.

If your rust arrestor does not come with a brush, you can always use a Q-Tip or small rag for application to the metal. Just be sure to allow it to fully dry. The bottle will indicate how long this should take.

When it has dried, apply a thin layer of primer over the rust arrestor. Be sure to use a rag or paper towel to dab any excess primer so that it does not drip.

If it is in a painted area, you can apply to touch up paint over the primer. Similar to the rust arrestor, it is important to let the primer fully dry first.

4. The Key Fob Doesn’t Work

Remote keyless entry is a great convenience that comes on many Subaru vehicles. Over time, you may notice that you have to walk closer and closer to your car in order for the key fob to unlock the vehicle. Eventually, it may decide only to work at certain times. This is a sign of a key fob battery that’s running out of juice. Your Subaru owner’s manual should have information on how to replace the battery, and we’re also glad to perform that service at Shingle Springs Subaru.

4. Use DIY Tools to Reach Inside

When it comes to tips for purchasing a car, chances are you didn’t consider whether your vehicle had post locks or not. If your car doesn’t have those types of locks, the good news is there are many DIY-friendly methods to get back into your locked car. Here are some tools you can use:

A coat hanger

If you have horizontal locks, you may be able to use a coat hanger by untwisting and molding it into a hook shape. Once you do that, try to use the car door and maneuver the hook around the lock. Then pull to see if it unlocks. 

A screwdriver and metal rod 

If you have a screwdriver and a metal rod, you can try to get your car door unlocked as well if you don’t have the keys. Use the screwdriver to open some space and then take the metal rod and push into the lock to see if it opens. Just be careful as these tools can damage the vehicle. 


You might even find kitchen tools like a spatula may help if you’re trying to figure out how to get into a locked car. Take a spatula and place it between the car door to create space and pry the door open. If you can get the door to open with the spatula you can unlock it from the inside. 

An air bag pump wedge

You can also get an air bag pump wedge that can be used to open your car door. Using this tool, the air is pushed between the car doors to make a door opening that is big enough to use tools so that you can effectively unlock the car. 


If you have a strip of plastic, you can fold the plastic into a U-shape, and then with the bottom closed portion you can place it between the door jamb and lift it up. 

2. The Key Won’t Turn in the Ignition

We’ve covered problems with door locks, but your Subaru may also have an ignition lock that could act up. If you try to turn the key to start your car and are met with resistance, it could be due to a number of things. The precisely-cut key that turns the ignition may have worn down, as could the tumblers in the ignition. This will need to be addressed by a professional; however, there is another possibility.

If your Subaru has an anti-theft immobilizer or push-button start, it may be that the chip in your key isn’t working. If the chip doesn’t function, your Subaru won’t pick up its signal–and therefore it won’t start.

Structural Damage

This is usually more common after an automobile accident, though a hard slam of the car door or trunk could also potentially cause structural damage in the car door lock. This can result in a bent or disconnected latch.

Now that you have narrowed down what may be wrong with your car door lock, it is time to try to fix it. What are some things that you can do, both with minimal skills and those that may be skilled with a toolbox?

There’s a problem with your key chamber

Okay, so your keys are fine. But what about the key chamber?

Just like the key itself, a damaged lock chamber can stop your locks from working properly.

A damaged key chamber could be the consequence of a failed break-in.

For example, maybe you left your phone in your car once. That’s the jackpot for thieves – perhaps somebody tried (and failed, thankfully) to pick your car door to get it.

And since the vast majority of cars come with remote unlocking by default, chances are we might never realise until we’re forced to rely on physical keys!

More specifically, this can cause damage to the pins in your lock chamber, so they don’t align with your car key any more.

One of the first things your local auto locksmith learns is how to unlock car doors. In the vast majority of cases, we’ll be able to unlock your car door, even if it’s damaged.

If time isn’t critical, we can also rekey your car lock altogether. Alternatively, we can schedule a follow-up appointment, fixing your problem for good.

2. Phone a Friend or Family Member

If you locked keys in car, it’s natural to panic a bit and wonder how the issue will get fixed. Being locked out of your car can put you in a vulnerable position, even if it does not seem like a full-blown roadside emergency. That’s why it’s crucial to call a friend or family member if there’s one nearby. 

You’re put at risk by having to potentially get help from strangers or stand by the side of the road, so it is always a good idea to let people in your life know where you are and the situation you’re facing. If they can’t help you figure out how to get into a locked car, they can provide some much-needed emotional support, and also it can be a good safety measure to know your whereabouts. 

In the absolute best-case scenario, your family member or friend has a spare key you can use to unlock your car and remedy the issue. But even if they don’t have a key, they may be able to help out by bringing you some supplies to help you manually unlock the door. Some tools that you might find helpful include: shoelaces (or comparable string), a doorstop, and a wire coat hanger, to name a few (more on that later).


How do you unlock a stubborn lock?

Most people recommend using a silicone lubricant on the lock, but I prefer multi-purpose lubricating oil because it’s cheaper and just as good. Hold the key flat and pour some oil on it, then insert it into the lock. Work the lock and be patient, and you’ll likely be able to turn it.

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Why won’t my key unlock my car door?

We’ve explained the reasons why the physical key might not work, but you’ve still got other options to open the door. You can unlock the passenger’s side door with the key, use the fob remote, or even unlock the vehicle through a phone app.

3. The Power Locks Don’t Work

So, your key battery is just fine, but the power locks still don’t work. The first thing you should do is check to see whether this affects all the locks, or just one of them. If it’s just one, the locking mechanism in the door or the lock actuator may be on the fritz. However, if all the locks are non-functional, it may be due to a blown fuse. Check the fuse box in your Subaru and replace the offending fuse to see if that fixes things.

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