by George Heymann

Taking control of your car remote!

Have you ever had to replace a car remote? After 6 years the plastic tabs at the top of my remote broke, leaving me with a small square piece of plastic and no way to attach it to my key chain. My first instinct was to just order another one.

After a couple of calls, I discovered that car remotes can cost $85-$100 or more depending on the make and model of your car. In some cases there is an additional charge for programming. I was a little surprised by the cost; after all, I estimate there is less than $10 worth of parts, including the battery inside the typical remote.

Fortunately, there are a few options that can save you a considerable amount of money when replacing your car remote — if you don’t mind scavenging a bit. In my case the remote was functional but the plastic case was broken. I found that there are vendors that just sell replacement cases (as low as $4.99 plus shipping). Once you receive the new case it’s a simple procedure to remove the keypad and circuit board from your old remote and swap it to the new case and you’re back in business.

Use a coin or flathead screwdriver in the slot along the edge of the remote and twist or pry gently. The case will split in half. In this example the back half houses the battery the front half houses the rubber membrane and circuit board. Press one of the buttons to push the rubber insert and circuit board out of the plastic shell. Then peel the rubber layer from the board. Reverse the procedure to assemble in your new case. The newer remotes have been redesigned so that the battery is housed on the circuit board instead of the back half of the case. The procedure for disassembly remains basically the same.

Another inexpensive option is to buy a used remote. I was able to find one for my vehicle on Ebay for $14 including shipping. I then reprogrammed the remote myself. It may sound daunting but I was surprised on just how simple the procedure was. We can use the instructions for my car as an example. The instructions will vary from vehicle to vehicle so make sure you get the instructions on how to reprogram the remote for your vehicle from the vendor that sells you the replacement remote.

Time Required:

Less than 5 minutes

Tools Needed:

The key you use to start your car

All remotes you plan to use on your car (not just the new one)


  1. Gather all the remotes you plan on using with your car.
  2. Get in car, fasten seatbelt, and close the doors to make sure it doesn’t beep when you turn the ignition to “Run”.
  3. Place key in the ignition.
  4. Turn the ignition to “Run” (Not Start), then back to “Off” 4 times within 6 Seconds, stopping at “Off”
  5. The system will chime once to confirm the programming.
  6. Press the unlock key on each remote you wish to use. Wait at least 1 second between each remote. You only have 20 seconds to add additional remotes. Any previously programmed remotes will no longer work so you must add all of the remotes you wish to use with your car within that 20 second window.
  7. After the last remote is programmed turn ignition to RUN then OFF to exit programming mode

I couldn’t be happier for less then $25 dollars I now have not one but two fully functioning remotes.


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One Response

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