What is a Keyless Entry Remote?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A keyless entry remote is a device that allows the user to gain access to a vehicle or automated garage door by pressing a button on a designated key fob. The keyless entry remote will transmit radio waves over a specified frequency, along with a set code that the vehicle or garage system will accept to unlock the doors. This code may remain the same each time the remote is used, or it may change regularly to increase security, and prevent potential thieves from copying the signal.

A keyless entry remote will only work with a vehicle that has power door locks, along with a keyless entry system installed. Most of these vehicles will come with one or two keyless entry remotes when purchased. If these keys are ever lost or damaged, the fob is much more expensive to replace them than a traditional car key.


A keyless entry remote for a vehicle will typically include one button to unlock the doors, one to lock the doors, and a "panic" button that will cause the lights to flash and horn to sound if held down. In addition, the remote might contain a button to open the trunk, or to set the alarm. Some remotes come separately from the key, and will hang separately on the keychain, while others are designed to be part of the key. In general, it is easier to keep track of one key/remote combination than one of each, but the purchaser is often not given much choice in the matter.

Most vehicles are designed to indicate in some way when the doors are locked or unlocked using the keyless entry remote. The lights might flash, a small beep may sound, or the horn may make one short beep. In many cars, the interior lights will also turn on when the car is unlocked remotely. This is a safety feature that clearly shows if anyone is hiding in the car who should not be.

Keyless entry remotes for garages are typically much simpler, and may include only one button to raise and lower the garage door. More complex systems are available when installed with home security systems. It is possible for a keyless entry remote to become unsynchronized with the system it is supposed to be unlocking; in most cases, the homeowner can reset the code for a garage door, but a vehicle will often need to be reset at the dealer.

With all keyless entry remotes, it is necessary to be within a certain distance of the vehicle for the remote to work; the owner's manual will specify the distance. Some newer remotes do not even require the user to press a button. Instead, the remote will automatically unlock the car when it comes within a certain distance of it, such as when carried in a pocket or purse.


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Post 2

@Terrificli -- Keyless entry is pretty much standard equipment now, but it is still possible to get a vehicle without it. If you have ever had a keyless entry fob fail, you may wish you had gotten a car without it because those things are expensive to replace.

Post 1

Are there really any vehicles out there that are not sold with keyless entry these days? I do believe every new vehicle on the planet comes with that.

I well remember having to fumble for a key to open a car door years ago. Thank goodness those days are over and keyless entry is standard stuff.

Oh, and that is safer, too. You don't have to fumble around for a key in the dark and most of those fobs have a panic button you can hit that sounds the horn and flashes the lights on your car to bring attention to you. Bonus!

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