Remember the days when you had to manually unlock your car door with a metal key? Those days are long gone, thanks to the invention of key fobs. These handy little devices have become an integral part of our daily lives, allowing us to unlock our vehicles with just a press of a button. But like all electronic devices, key fobs are not immune to issues, especially when it comes to their batteries.
Nothing is worse than trying to get in your car when it’s raining, and your key fob isn’t working. Gaining quick access to your vehicle, start the engine, and be on your way. It’s especially crucial in emergency situations where every second counts.
The most common issue with key fobs is a dying battery. Over time, the battery loses its charge, leading to decreased performance. You might notice that you need to press the buttons multiple times or that the range of the fob decreases. In some cases, the key fob might stop working altogether.
Fun Fact: Did you know that extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can affect the lifespan of your key fob battery? It’s always a good idea to store your keys in a moderate-temperature environment.
Signs of a Weak Key Fob Battery
It’s essential to recognize the early signs of a weak key fob battery so you can replace it before it dies completely.
Here are some indicators to watch out for:
If you find yourself pressing the buttons multiple times before your car responds, it’s a clear sign that the battery is on its way out. This can be particularly frustrating when you’re in a hurry.
Interesting Fact: The lock button on key fobs tends to wear out faster than other buttons because it’s used more frequently.
Remember when you could unlock your car from quite a distance? If you now need to be closer to your vehicle for the key fob to work, the battery is likely weakening.
Some modern cars have warning indicators on the dashboard that alert you when your key fob battery is low. It’s a helpful feature that can prevent you from being caught off guard.
Pro Tip: If your car has this feature, don’t ignore the warning. Replace the battery as soon as possible to avoid potential inconveniences.
Method 1: Replacing the Subaru Key Fob Battery
When it comes to replacing the battery in your Subaru key fob, the process is relatively straightforward.
Gather Necessary Tools and Supplies
Before you start, ensure you have the right tools on hand. Typically, you’ll need:
- A small flathead screwdriver or a similar prying tool.
- The appropriate battery for your key fob. Subaru key fobs generally use one of three batteries: 2032, 2025, or CR 1620, depending on the fob’s design.
Identifying the Key Fob Type
Subaru has used various key fob designs over the years. The most common ones are:
- Bulging Rectangle Shape
- Teardrop Shape
- Exposed Metal Key With Buttons
Each type requires a slightly different approach to open and replace the battery.
Opening the Key Fob
For the Bulging Rectangle Shape:
- Locate the small silver tab on the back of the key.
- Press it in to remove the metal emergency key.
- Carefully pry open the fob using your flathead screwdriver.
For the Teardrop Shape:
- This design doesn’t have an emergency key release, so you can directly pry it open.
For the Exposed Metal Key With Buttons:
- This fob has an exterior and an interior casing. You’ll need to open both to access the battery.
Removing the Old Battery
Once open, locate the battery. It might be above or below the transmitter circuit board, depending on how you’ve opened the fob. Carefully release the old battery.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the average lifespan of a key fob battery is around 3-4 years? However, frequent use can shorten this lifespan.
Installing a New Battery
Place the new battery into the slot, ensuring the correct side is facing upward. It’s best to touch the new battery as little as possible to prevent any potential damage or discharge.
Closing the Key Fob
Snap the two halves of your fob back together. If your fob has a metal emergency key, don’t forget to re-insert it.
Testing the Key Fob
After replacing the battery, always test your key fob to ensure it’s working correctly. Try locking and unlocking your car from various distances to confirm its functionality.
Method 2: Using a Key Fob Battery Replacement Kit
In recent years, key fob battery replacement kits have become increasingly popular. These kits are designed to provide car owners with all the necessary tools and instructions to replace their key fob batteries seamlessly.
A key fob battery replacement kit typically includes:
- The appropriate battery for your key fob.
- A set of prying tools designed to open the key fob without causing damage.
- Detailed step-by-step instructions tailored to various key fob designs.
Fun Fact: Some kits even come with a small pouch or case to store your key fob, offering added protection against potential damage.
Purchasing the Appropriate Kit
When shopping for a key fob battery replacement kit, it’s essential to choose one that’s compatible with your specific key fob design. Always check the kit’s description and reviews to ensure it matches your Subaru model and year.
Pro Tip: Some online platforms allow you to input your car’s make, model, and year to filter out the most compatible kits.
While each kit will come with its own set of instructions, the general process is:
- Use the provided prying tool to carefully open the key fob.
- Remove the old battery.
- Insert the new battery, ensuring the correct orientation.
- Close the key fob and test its functionality.
Advantages of Using a Kit
Using a kit offers several benefits:
- It ensures you have the correct battery type.
- The specialized tools minimize the risk of damaging your key fob.
- Detailed instructions can make the process smoother, especially for first-timers.
Method 3: Seek Professional Assistance
While replacing a key fob battery can be a DIY task, there are times when seeking professional help is the best course of action.
Consider professional assistance if:
- Your key fob is damaged or has visible signs of wear.
- You’ve replaced the battery, but the key fob still isn’t working.
- You’re not comfortable performing the replacement yourself.
Interesting Fact: Some modern key fobs come with advanced features like remote start or proximity sensors, which might require professional reprogramming after a battery replacement.
Visiting a Dealership or Automotive Locksmith
A dealership is equipped to handle any issues related to your key fob. They have trained technicians who can replace the battery, fix any damages, or even provide a new key fob if necessary. Alternatively, many automotive locksmiths offer key fob services and can assist with battery replacements or repairs.
While replacing the battery yourself is generally more cost-effective, professional services might come with a fee. However, the peace of mind knowing your key fob is in expert hands can be worth the cost.
Pro Tip: Some dealerships offer complimentary key fob battery replacements as part of their service packages. It’s worth checking if your dealership provides this service.
Maintenance Tips to Prolong Key Fob Battery Life
To ensure you get the most out of your key fob battery, consider the following maintenance tips:
- Proper Storage: Always store your key fob in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This can help prolong the battery’s lifespan.
- Avoiding Extreme Temperatures: Extreme cold or heat can drain your key fob battery faster. If possible, avoid leaving your keys in the car during hot summer days or freezing winter nights.
- Regularly Using the Key Fob: Regular use can actually help maintain the battery’s functionality. If you have a spare key fob, it’s a good idea to rotate its use with your primary one.
- Periodic Battery Checks: Every once in a while, check the strength of your key fob battery. If you notice any signs of weakening, like reduced range, it might be time for a replacement.
Why does my key fob work intermittently, even with a new battery?
This can be due to several reasons. The key fob might have sustained internal damage, especially if it has been dropped or exposed to liquids. This can affect its circuitry and overall functionality. Electronic interference from other devices or even certain locations can affect the signal between your key fob and the car. For instance, areas with high radio frequency can sometimes interfere with the key fob’s signal. Or the problem might not be with the key fob itself but with the car’s receiver. If the receiver is malfunctioning, it won’t respond to the key fob’s signals consistently.
How long does a typical key fob battery last?
A typical key fob battery can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years, depending on usage. Factors like frequent use, exposure to extreme temperatures, and even the quality of the battery can influence its lifespan.
Can I waterproof my key fob to prevent damage?
While it’s not advisable to submerge your key fob in water, there are protective silicone or rubber cases available in the market that can offer a degree of water resistance. These cases can protect the key fob from splashes or accidental drops in puddles but remember that they aren’t entirely waterproof.
What should I do if I lose my Subaru key fob?
First, ensure your car’s safety. If possible, use a spare key or manual key to lock it. Then reach out to your Subaru dealership. They can provide guidance on getting a replacement. Remember, for security reasons, only authorized dealerships can provide genuine Subaru key fobs. Once you receive a new key fob, it will need to be programmed to work with your specific vehicle.
Can I replace the key fob casing without affecting its functionality?
Yes, the casing is primarily for protection and aesthetics. If it’s damaged, you can replace it without affecting the key fob’s internal components or its functionality. However, ensure that the new casing is compatible with your key fob model to fit correctly.
Are there any security risks if my key fob stops working or is lost?
If your key fob is lost or stops working there’s a risk that someone could find the lost key fob and gain access to your car, especially if they know the vehicle associated with the fob. It’s advisable to deactivate a lost key fob (if possible) and always ensure your vehicle is manually locked if you suspect your key fob is missing or compromised.
In our fast-paced world, the convenience of technology, like key fobs, is undeniable. These small devices have revolutionized the way we access and secure our vehicles, making our journeys smoother and more efficient.
However, like all gadgets, they require understanding and maintenance. By being proactive, recognizing signs of wear, and knowing how to address issues, you can ensure that your Subaru key fob remains a reliable companion on all your adventures.
Remember, whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or prefer professional assistance, there’s a solution for every key fob challenge. Drive safely!