Ultimate Guide To The Types Of Car Key Fobs

It is possible to unlock or lock a vehicle from a distance using a key fob without the use of a metal key. This is possible through a remote keyless entry system. On pressing the lock or unlock button, the fob sends a signal to the car. Older vehicles use infrared while the latest models use radio signal. When the car receives the signal, the door is locked or unlocked according to your requirement.

car key fobs

Situations when the car might not recognize the key fob include:

  • Key fob not sending a signal
  • When the key fob is out of range
  • Key fob battery is dead
  • Car not programmed to receive a signal from the key fob

What to do with a key fob

The key fob can open the trunk, open or close the sunroof, raise or lower the windows, and start the vehicle. For minivans and SUVs, you can open or close sliding doors and lift gates remotely. Fortunately, the key fob fits in the palm of your hand. There is a panic button on the key fob that you can press to trigger the car horn to blare or to make the lights flash. key fob eliminates the need to use a metal key to unlock or lock the car but you still need to carry the metal keys.

Some circumstances might not make having a key obvious. However, you still need the metal key for use as an emergency key. Retrieving this is through sliding the key fob. The key fob might stop working when the battery is weak or dead. This is where you can retrieve the emergency key to manually lock or unlock your vehicle.  

Types of key fobs

Remote key fob

This is an electronic device in a hard plastic cover to allow keyless entry into your car, truck, or SUV in a particular range. The remote key fob is powered by a battery and should be programmed to work with your vehicle. In case it’s lost or damaged, you can always contact a professional locksmith for key fob replacement in OKC. The new one needs programming using onboard programming so it works like the original.

Despite having a remote key fob, you need a separate key to start the car. The remote sends an infrared signal on pressing the button regardless of whether you have a truck or SUV. Having a transponder depends on your car model and brand. The transponder also needs programming so it works seamlessly with your car. This allows your vehicle to start after recognizing the transponder.

Remote key combo without a transponder

This is a car key with a huge plastic head housed in a plastic cover. Apart from locking or unlocking your vehicle, the remote key combo can open the trunk, open or close the sunroof, raise or lower the windows in a particular range on pressing the corresponding button. You can use this key to open or close sliding doors or lift gates.

This key is powered by a battery and requires programming or adding into your car memory. Programming is through onboard programming or connecting diagnostic equipment to the car’s OBD2 port. However, you need to use the metal key at the bottom when starting your car. The remote key combo lacks a transponder and doesn’t require programming. 

Remote key combo with transponder

A remote key combo with a transponder is a car key with a huge plastic head inside a plastic cover. The cover also houses the remote, transponder, and battery. Most transponders don’t use batteries since they are powered on getting inserted into the car ignition. You can use this remote combo to lock or unlock your car. However, you can also use it for purposes including opening the trunk, raising or lowering the windows, opening or closing the sunroof.

Using this key requires being in the given range and pressing the appropriate button. You can use this key to open or close sliding doors or lift gates of SUVs and minivans. The key needs programming or adding into the car memory for the vehicle to recognize it. Additionally, the transponder needs programming in the vehicle to work properly.

Smart key fob

These function like other key fobs to lock or unlock the vehicle, raise or lower the windows, open the trunk, open or close the sunroof. Smart keys can also start your vehicle on pressing the right button. However, smart keys can work even when left in the purse or pocket, unlike other key fobs. You just have to touch the sensor to lock or unlock the door or to open the trunk.

With the smart key in your pocket or purse, waving your foot under the sensor of your vehicle will slide the door or open or close the tailgate. This comes in handy when your hands are full of shopping. Inside the car, pushing the start button or twist ignition will start the engine. Programming a smart key is only possible by connecting diagnostic equipment to the car OBD2 port. Each smart has an emergency key retrievable by sliding the cover. This comes in handy to lock or unlock the car when the fob fails to work.


Regardless of the type of key fob your car uses, you can always contact a professional OKC auto locksmith when you need a replacement key fob.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for informing me that one of the possible reasons why my car won’t recognize my key fob is that it’s not sending a signal and that I should call a locksmith to help me get a replacement. My key fob has not been functioning at all for the whole day, and I can’t open or use my car because of it. I’ll call an emergency locksmith now to help me open my car and make a replacement car key remoted for my broken one.

  2. Wefob says:

    Thanks for sharing this informative article, hoping to read more about key fob.

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