Why Your Car Key Has Stopped Working

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We all had one of these days. You are in a hurry to get somewhere and suddenly when you insert your key into the car door lock; you realize that the key is not working. When you are embarrassed outside your car, ideas jostle in your mind as to the causes of this problem. Often the answer comes easily to your mind, while other times you will think long and hard about what the cause may be.

We have all gone through a hard time like this. To alleviate the headaches these problems can cause, we will review some reasons your key is not working.

In order to diagnose the source of your problem, you need to know the type of key you have and how it works with your vehicle. There is a misconception that since the keys are used to operate a car, they must all be the same. Right? Unfortunately, no.

Although car keys are similar in several respects, they are all unique (which is why they resist the key-to-hit method). So, it is important to understand your type of auto key in order to diagnose your key problem properly.

Previously, the most common key was a physical key that engaged in your lock and acted on your contact. 
It is very likely that if your vehicle was manufactured before 1995; you have this type of key.

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After 1995, most car manufacturers released chip keys. The transponder key is essentially a more secure way to link your key to your vehicle. There is a transmitter embedded in the key that transmits a signal to a receiver housed in the vehicle. For the car to start, the transmitter and the receiver must exchange a series of signals which are used to verify that it is the correct key. 

Today, the majority of modern cars are designed with this transmission device introduced by smart keys. This led to keyless entry systems.

A keyless controller contains several buttons that each contain a function. The key sends commands to your vehicle to perform various actions. The chip key serves the same functions as a traditional key except that everything is done with press buttons.

8 Reasons Your Auto Key Does Not Work

It is useful to remind you at first that if your key is broken in the lock, the following text will be of no use to you. 
However, contact a locksmith who knows how to extract a broken and/or stuck key in a lock.   Let’s start:

1. Damaged lock

If your car key does not work when you try to unlock your car, there is a possibility that the lock itself is damaged. 
If you are driving a relatively new car, you are less likely to have this problem due to the presence of keyless entry systems. 

On the other hand, if you have an older car model that requires unlocking with a physical key, you will experience this problem. 
It is likely that your car key is not working due to a faulty or damaged lock. 

Car locks work in tandem with the keys, which results in simultaneous wear of the lock and the key.

This is not the only way to use your lock. Since the locks are on the outside of your vehicle, you should not underestimate the impact of environmental factors on the condition of your locks. This means that your lock can become blocked by the accumulation of debris and dust. On the other hand, beware of collisions that can cause great external damage.

2. Damaged key

One of the main reasons for the malfunction of your key is the wear of your key. When we think of damaged keys, the image of a key split in four comes to mind. 

It is an exaggerated perception which does not do justice to reality. However, a damaged key is not always broken. If you look at how your car doors work, you can see why. The notches in the key correspond to internal mechanisms of the lock or contact.

Keys are physical components that do not stand the test of time. Most of us do not pay attention to how much wear and tear the keys and locks undergo over time. We add to the wear a lack of maintenance and we have a perfect recipe for a damaged key. 

If the notches in your key deteriorate over time and the key is no longer able to operate the internal mechanism of the lock, it is potentially damaged and this is the reason why your car key does not work. more.

3. Defective Contact Cylinder

Your key is not only associated with your door locks, it also works in accordance with the engine contact. 
Car keys have several functions. 
For each key that exists, there is a lock or mechanism that works with it. 

If your car key does not work when you insert it in your contact, that does not mean that your car key is necessarily damaged or defective. 

Sometimes we are faced with a symptom of a larger problem: a faulty contact with your car. 

Cars are units of mechanical components that are always mobile. All of these components degrade over time and contact is no exception.  

4. Auto Key Batteries Are Dead

Sometimes you have to look no further than the batteries in your transponder key or electronic key chain. It is a common problem with an equally common solution. 
Batteries die over time, so diagnosing this problem is relatively simple. 

If you notice that your vehicle is not responding to commands and signals sent to your vehicle, there is a good chance that the batteries have run out of juice. 

However, keep in mind that this may not be the only reason that your battery will no longer work.

When you realize that your chip key is no longer working due to the batteries, the easiest solution is to find the right batteries and replace them. Once this is accomplished, your key should work like new.

5. Internal Damage to Keyless Entry Systems

As I mentioned earlier, there are several types of keys that have their own characteristics and traits. 
The chip key establishes communication between a transmitter and a receiver, so if one of the components is defective, your key will not function properly.


If the problem is in your car’s electronics or there is damage to your receiver or transmitter, the car key will not work. 

Sometimes the elements of these electronic systems will wear out and this wear manifests itself more than often by bare, cut wires, etc. 

In other cases, damaged internal wiring can result from external damage to the chip key itself. 
These problems arise when we drop the key or it undergoes a hard shock which displaces the internal alignment of the key components.

6. The key has not been programmed

Even traditional keys must go hand in hand with a car. 
On the other hand, technological advances in the automotive industry have changed the way we see this pairing. 
Now the way car keys are paired with cars adds a higher level of protection.


This is accomplished by transmitters which are set up to facilitate the interaction between the key and the car and thereby make car protection more difficult to bypass. 

Traditional keys have no programming bugs as can be encountered with transponder keys and joysticks. 
If your key does not work with your vehicle, it is possible that this key has not yet been programmed with your car. 

It’s common to forget to reprogram your transponder key when you acquire a new one or when you make duplicates. If this is not done correctly, the functions of the key will be limited to opening your doors or your suitcase. 

7. Auto Keys from Spare Parts Markets

The car keys that you get from spare parts stores are a cheap option to replace or find a duplicate for your key. 
Before buying from this type of reseller, it is essential to understand the risks that these kinds of keys pose.

We forget to keep a clear head often when the urgency to replace a key concerns us and slows us down in our day. 

If you buy a used key and don’t reprogram it, your key won’t work anymore. Used goods stores are a good place to get all kinds of automotive items. However, keep in mind that some parts that were not designed for your vehicle require additional work to function properly. So, it is very important to make sure that your used key is programmed correctly so that it works well with your vehicle.

8. You Use a Duplicated Key

Duplicate keys are popular with drivers and with good reason. This gives you peace of mind that there is less chance of getting caught when you get stuck outside your car. You will have the luxury of sharing your keys with a family member when they want to use your car. 

On the other hand, many people do not realize that any duplication of keys reduces the integrity of the original key. 

This may seem difficult to grasp. Let me explain. Each time your key is duplicated, the duplicate you get differs from the original.  It may seem less important, but this duplication has an impact on the way your key works.

In some scenarios, you find that your car key does not work because of the difference between the copy and the original.

Having a duplicate is often a more affordable option than getting a new custom-made key. However, this is not always the best scenario for your safety.

If you find yourself caught in any of the scenarios we’ve described above, the best thing to do is call a phoenix locksmith near you to help you out.