How to Reset the FOB Remote Starter Key

Has your remote starter stopped working? Do you find yourself shivering in the driver’s seat, frantically pressing the little key fob button with no response? Don’t lose hope – with a few simple steps, you can get your remote starter back up and running in no time.


A remote starter is a lifesaver on those frigid winter mornings. Just press a button from the warmth of your home and your car turns on automatically, heating to a comfortable temperature by the time you slip behind the wheel. But when that handy device stops working, it can leave you out in the cold.

Don’t worry – in most cases, restarting the remote is a quick reset that will have you on your merry way. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to troubleshoot common remote starter issues and reset the system so you can stop scraping icy windows.

Whether your remote key is an original part or an aftermarket add-on, we’ll explore the ins and outs of the technology. You’ll also get step-by-step instructions tailored to different vehicle makes and models. Just grab your gloves and get ready to warm up!

How Does a Remote Starter Work?

Before learning how to reset your remote starter fob, it helps to understand what’s going on under the hood.

A remote starter is a radio-controlled device that starts your vehicle’s engine from a distance. When you push the button on your key fob, it transmits an encoded signal to a radio receiver module installed in the vehicle.

The receiver recognizes the signal and triggers the starter motor to turn over the engine. It also initiates other ignition functions like fuel delivery and engine management systems.

Once the engine is running, additional features may kick in like powering the heater, defrost, and seat warmers. This allows your car to reach a comfortable temperature before you get in.

Remote starters offer convenience and luxury during cold weather. But like any automotive technology, they can sometimes malfunction and need a reboot. Let’s look at some common trouble signs and their solutions.

3 Key Reasons Your Remote Starter May Need a Reset

There are a few typical culprits when a remote starter stops working:

  • Dead Key Fob Battery – Like any battery-powered device, fob batteries drain over time. Replacing the battery often gets the remote working again.
  • Out-of-Range Signal – Remote key fobs have a limited signal range. If you move too far away or there’s interference, this can disrupt the connection.
  • Electrical System Failure – Issues with the vehicle’s battery, starter, or electrical wiring can shut down remote start capabilities.

Resetting the system often resolves electronic glitches and re-establishes the signal between the key fob and receiver module. Now let’s look at the step-by-step process.

How to Reset Your Car’s Remote Starter

Resetting a remote starter fob only takes a few minutes. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Check the key fob battery

The first step is to replace the flat button cell battery in the remote key. Typical batteries last 1-2 years before needing replacement.

Turn the fob over and look for a notch or seam to pry it open. Slide out the old battery and replace it with a new CR2032 lithium coin cell battery with the positive side facing up.

Restore the water-resistant fob seal if applicable. Test the remote buttons. If replacing the battery resolved the issue, you’re all set!

Step 2: Try locking and unlocking the vehicle

If new batteries didn’t help, try manually locking and unlocking the car with the key fob or door lock. This reconnects the key fob with the vehicle’s computer and re-syncs the signals.

Then try the remote starter again. Sometimes this simple lock/unlock reset is all it takes to get things working again.

Step 3: Reset and reprogram the system

For stubborn remote start problems, the next step is resetting and reprogramming the system. The steps vary slightly depending on your vehicle make and model:

  • Ford – Put the key in the ignition and turn it to the Run position without starting the engine. Press the remote start button on the key fob twice. Turn the ignition Off then On and test the remote starter.
  • Toyota – Start the engine with the key. Turn the key to Off then press and hold the Lock and Unlock buttons on the key fob simultaneously for 5 seconds. Shut off the car and test the remote start.
  • Honda – Turn the ignition switch On then Off. Press and hold the Lock and Unlock buttons together for at least 10 seconds. Turn the car back On then Off and test the starter.
  • Subaru – Put the key in the ignition and turn to On, but don’t start the car. Press and hold the remote start button for 5+ seconds. Shut Off the car then test the remote.

For other car brands, check your owner’s manual or contact the dealership for instructions to reset the system. You may need to confirm the radio frequencies to reconnect the fob and receiver.

Step 4: Make sure the car battery isn’t dead

If you recently had a dead battery, the remote starter may just need a reset. Start the vehicle with the key and let it run for 20-30 minutes to recharge the battery.

Turn the car and key fob Off and back On. Then try the remote starter. A fully charged battery provides the power needed for ignition and start sequences.

Step 5: Check all electrical connections

For a remote starter to work, the ignition switch and starter motor must be in working order. The fob receiver module also needs good wiring and connections.

Pop open the hood and inspect battery terminals and cables. Look for fraying, corrosion, or loose wires. Tighten any loose clamps or fittings. Check that the starter engages when you turn the key.

If you see significant wear, it’s best to take your vehicle into a professional for repairs. A certified technician can test all systems and confirm everything is in proper working order.

When to Consider Professional Help

While many remote start issues can be addressed with simple reset procedures, others may require a mechanic’s expertise:

  • If the battery is more than 3 years old, it may need replacement along with cables and connections.
  • Faulty ignition switches and starter motors often necessitate part replacements.
  • Major engine issues like low compression can prevent successful ignition.
  • Damaged fob receiver modules or antenna wiring will interrupt the remote signal.
  • Aftermarket installation problems can cause malfunctions.

If you’ve worked through all the troubleshooting steps and the system still won’t reset, it’s best to have a professional diagnose the specific problem. Most independent shops and dealerships have specialists who can get your remote starter running reliably again.

Adding an Aftermarket System

Many modern cars come equipped with remote start capabilities. But if your vehicle didn’t include this feature, you can still add an aftermarket system.

Professional installation shops can help select a customized kit with a fob and receiver specific to your vehicle make and model. Expect costs between $200-$500 for parts and labor.

DIY installation is also possible for those handy with electronics and auto electrical. Follow the provided instructions carefully and confirm all connections are secure.

Once installed, be sure to program and test the remote following the reset steps for your car brand as covered earlier. With proper setup, an aftermarket system provides the same convenience as a factory-installed starter.

Handy Safety Tips for Remote Starters

Remote starters make life easier, but a bit of caution goes a long way in preventing mishaps:

  • Use Only in Park – Only remote start when parked in P for automatic vehicles or neutral for manual transmissions. Exiting ‘park’ can damage the transmission or cause accidents.
  • Avoid Extended Idling – Don’t allow the engine to idle for more than 10 minutes to prevent excess emissions and fuel waste.
  • Wait Before Driving – Give the engine 1-2 minutes after remote start to allow oil pressure and systems to stabilize before driving off.
  • Lock Your Car – Always keep your vehicle locked with the parking brake on when unattended to prevent theft after remote starting.
  • Check Notification Sounds – Ensure any beeps or alarms indicating the engine is running are loud enough to prevent accidental rollaway.

Following basic precautions keeps your remote system safe and reliable for years of frigid weather ahead.

Warm Up Your Mornings

Don’t let a finicky remote starter leave you out in the cold. With new batteries, reset procedures, and electrical inspections, you can get your system back up and running.

While advanced cases may require a trip to the mechanic, most issues are simple fixes. So stay cozy and enjoy the convenience of remote start with these handy troubleshooting tips.

With preparations before winter, your car will heat up at the push of a button. Just sit back with your coffee, slide into a toasty car, and escape chilly mornings with the comfort of a remote start.

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