Introduction: Car Key Fob Repair

Picture of Car Key Fob Repair

If your keyless entry 'fob' still doesn't work after replacing the battery, it might just be a problem with worn out contacts inside the device.  These contacts are rubber-like, yet coated with an electricity conducting film that can wear off with use.
A typical keyless entry 'clicker' for your car looks like mine. 
By using metallic tape and a hole punch, you can fix it....and the fix works g-r-e-a-t !
Tools needed:
metallic tape or (aluminum foil, for which you'll need a tiny amount of glue to make the dots adhere)
hole punch
a little  bit of manual dexterity

Disassemble the device as shown in the pictures.
Using the hole punch, cut out a "dot" of the metallic tape to place over the worn-out contacts inside the 'fob'.
If you cut the dots from aluminum foil, you might want to use tweezers to put the dots in place. I found through trial and error that super glue does NOT work for very long. I happened to have the roll of what I call 'muffler tape' (that's what it looks like to me and I don't rememnber where I bought it, or for what purpose originally)
I just had to repair mine again today after about 9 to 12 months of service. Beats the price they want at the dealer for a new one.
The pictures should tell the story. Good luck.
    i just re-did both 'fobs' this morning, June 30, '12, by necessity..the tape dots were coming loose again.   This time, to help the metallic tape 'dots' stay in place better I thoroughly cleaned the rubber-vinyl insert to the fob that the tape dots adhere to.  Maybe because it's in Florida, (lot of hot weather) or just general use that allows oils from your hands to enter the deveice over time, the insides of both mine had a distinct 'oily' feel to them.  So I washed them with soap and water, dried them off, then used rubbing alcohol to finish the cleaning.  I also decided to use a pair of tweezers to both separate the paper backing of the tape, and to put the dots in place. In the past I used my fingers to handle the dots and that may have compromised the glue-to surfaces. They seem to more secured now than before.


andrew.bock.90 (author)2015-02-28

This worked like a charm. I just put in two pieces of aluminum foil. one in the unlock button and one in the arm/lock button (the trunk button was working okay). Worked perfectly. I wonder by extending the foil over the hole(see photo) without touching any other foil, will that help keep the foil in place without using glue . Either way, thank you so much for this tip Bobcat1947

Glad this worked for you, andew.bock.90. Don't know about extending the foil over the hole as you've suggested. Although I've since sold that car, the last repair I did on the fob worked well and lasted; I think due to being careful with cleaning and handling it prior to repair. Also, another fob became damaged when the battery clip inside it broke free from the solder point. That turned out to be an easy fix, too, with patience and (for me) a magnifying lens. (author)2014-11-01

Thank you, thank you!! We just did this with the adhesive backed metallic tape and it worked immediately. Thanks for saving us $78.95 b4 tax.

IbalankyD (author)2016-11-02

Thanks doc ... this worked perfectly for my wifes Durango keyfob .... but I used superglue before reading that part, LOL! I'll see how long it last and then buy that tape you used! Bless!

bobcat1947 (author)IbalankyD2016-11-03

Very glad it worked for you !

BobB134 (author)2016-04-16

Just a quick note. When I took mine apart I found that the contacts had a dirty surface over them instead of being shiny. I used isoprol alcohol with a Q-tip to gently clean the dirt off of the contacts and rubber pads and put it back together. It has worked fine every time since.

ClaytanK (author)BobB1342016-10-21

This exactly, my buttons each had two contact points which had to make a connection so it was damn near impossible to get tiny enough pieces of foil to stay on that milimeter of rubber carbon, and I couldn't just put it across both of them as that made it malfunction. I took ISO and a qtip and rubbed all the contacts, lots of grime came off and it works like a dream again.

bobcat1947 (author)BobB1342016-04-17

Thanks. I did the same with another fob, as you did, and it worked also. My particular post was the only way I was able to fix that one.

ChristinaN26 (author)2016-07-05

Yes !!!!! It works. Thank you very much.

LatoshaD (author)2016-04-18

Thank you very much for the tips. I am pleased to report that not only am I able to lock my doors using my keyless entry, but I am unable to lock them as well. Again happy to save moolah.

ThomasS199 (author)2016-04-11

This repair using tin foil works great with TV remotes too.

bobcat1947 (author)ThomasS1992016-04-11

Good to know. Thanks.

CathyG36 (author)2016-03-30

OMG you just made my day!. Saved me tons. Dealership wanted to charge for new fob. Others said I needed new car battery, starter or computer system. Wow, thanks

bobcat1947 (author)CathyG362016-03-30

Really glad that helped. You just made MY day !

robxcarlson (author)2016-02-24

Awesome! Just fixed mine. Thanks!

CharlesH57 (author)2016-01-12

I just fixed my fobs by gluing tin foil to the rubber piece. It works great!!!!! Thank you so much for the quick easy fix!

AayushM2 (author)2015-10-10

Thank you soo much!

bobcat1947 (author)AayushM22015-11-17

Sorry I didn't see your remarks earlier. Glad this worked well for you.

AndreaA36 (author)bobcat19472015-11-18

Thank u. Its well worth it to do every six months or however long it lasts. So far works well

AndreaA36 (author)2015-11-17

Totally awesome!!!!!! That worked nicely

bobcat1947 (author)AndreaA362015-11-17

Thanks for the feedback; I'm glad that worked so well for you. The Florida heat down here tends to destroy the glues so I wound up having to redo mine a couple more times. But then it always held up for at least six months at a stretch.

AndreaA36 (author)2015-11-17

Saved me $180 bucks the dealership wanted to charge

AndreaA36 (author)2015-11-17

Saved me $180 bucks the dealership wanted to charge

JeffR29 (author)2015-09-24

bobcat, this awesome!!!! You just saved me a bunch of money because I didn't have to buy a new fob. Thanks, buddy.

Fridayj1974 (author)2015-09-14

Dude this freakin worked AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME thank you.

UncleMesy (author)2015-06-28

First off thanks for this. I tried this after having dropped my 97 Sunfire Gt fob and it came apart with the plastic gasket broken and useless. Getting a used replacement is an option but requires trunk access to reprogram and both my rear seat latch and trunk key lock are not working! I've been using said fob with either rubber band or duct tape strips. At first it worked, then it worked when it wanted to and now altogether stopped. I cleaned everything throughly, got new batt, and still nothing. Found this fix. Not working. I notice on the circuit board that from the battery contact sliding back and forth due to the plastic gasket having broken and hence not holding together and needing the duct tape and/or rubber band, that some of that contact is missing. I can only think that is the cause. Since I cannot access the trunk without locksmith I can't afford, is there any fix for the circuit board battery contact?

bobcat1947 (author)UncleMesy2015-06-28

One of my fobs did much the same, where, in that case, the battery "C" clip separated from the circuit board. I had a cheapie soldering iron and, with a magnifier and needle nose pliers,'was able to re-solder it. That car has since been traded or I'd post a pic of the fob internals. Hope this helps.

UncleMesy (author)bobcat19472015-06-28

Actually what I'm saying is on the CB itself, u know where the c clip has the little tab...since the casing was secured only by rubber banding I can see on the CB itself where some of the contact has rubbed off from the battery c clip contacts it, slid back and forth. Does that make more sense? Sorry for the confusing stuff. Best!

Drhoades11 (author)2015-01-01

This did not work at all for me
As a matter of fact it made the buttons worse and do nothing at all. I followed instruction completely.

Robinlynnn (author)2013-01-31

I just want to say THANK YOU! This was such a great idea even if I need to do a re-do in a few months and I just couldn't bring myself to go to the dealer to replace them. You have made my day (yes, my life is that dull).

bobcat1947 (author)Robinlynnn2013-01-31

Robinlynn, I'm very glad it was a help to you. :)

iBorg (author)2013-01-10

I have the same problem.....
I looked at your repair. First thing I heard in my head was "you idiot." Why didn't I think of that. Definitely going to do this when I get home.

Have you thought of trying either contact cement or nail polish?

bobcat1947 (author)iBorg2013-01-10

Yes to having tried contact cement (worked for a while), NO to having tried nail polish....and I keep a couple of those around for 'ding' repairs; a jar of clear and one black. Great idea you have.. I think that might turn out to be the best "glue" yet. Obviously you'd not want to get any on the surface of the foil that contacts the printed circuit; even if dried, it would prevent electrical current flow. Thanks for the input.

iBorg (author)bobcat19472013-01-11

Totally different thought.....
The idea is to create a conductive surface for the button. What about graphite?
I tried this last night. The graphite stuck well to the rubber and seems to work well.

bobcat1947 (author)iBorg2013-01-11

What form did the graphite have? I thought of it only as a lubricant for cable-driven devices such as old school speedometer cables. Where do you buy yours?

iBorg (author)bobcat19472013-01-11

Actually what I used was lube for pinewood derby cars

bobcat1947 (author)iBorg2013-01-11

I never knew graphite was conductive; and I can imagine it would cling nicely to the rubber. I've got to try this, when next time a re-do is necessary. Thank you for all your feedback.

Londonbrig0 (author)2013-01-05

what kind of glue would you suggest if using aluminum foil?

bobcat1947 (author)Londonbrig02013-01-05

Hey Londonbrig0 !
No glue has been perfect for this because (I guess) of the vinyl compound of what you're gluing the 'dots' to...seems nothing sticks permanently. The best result has come from super glue, for me. Any of them, - model glue, super glue, vinyl adhesive - has had to be re-done after a few months, maybe in part because of the heat down here. Also, I used the keys A LOT, before I retired. Now they're used far less and are indoors much of the time. Just remember to clean the area of the 'clicker' you're gluing to, before using the glue you choose. Hope this helped :)

MantiZ68 (author)2011-12-28

Works awesome thanks for the idea

bobcat1947 (author)MantiZ682011-12-28

Great ! Glad it helped someone else !

About This Instructable




Bio: Married, retired, kids, grandkids, like all kinds of music. Graduated Everett High School 1965, studied at Knoxville Business College, Tennessee College of Automation
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