How to Program a Car Alarm Remote

Using a key fob to unlock or remote start an Audi.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
Owner's manual
New car remote/key fob
What You'll Need
Owner's manual
New car remote/key fob

Most modern cars come with a small remote, often called a key fob. These devices serve perform several functions including locking and unlocking your vehicle without a key, opening the trunk, turning the panic alarm on or off, and sometimes even remotely starting the car. But just like your TV remote, key fobs can be easy to lose or damage, in which case you will have to buy and program a replacement. This process isn't complicated if you know the right steps to take.

Tip: Repeatedly using your key fob out of range can also cause it to need reprogramming, so always try to reset your remote before throwing it out.

Step 1 - Check Car Manual

Every car model has slightly different instructions regarding how to program a remote. Before you start with a general method, look in your vehicle's owner's manual to see if there are any details you should know first.

Step 2 - Check the Car

In order to program a car remote, you first need to make sure every door and the hood and trunk are shut. Then, get into the vehicle, close the door behind you, and make sure the doors remain unlocked. If anything is still open, an indicator will chime or a light will come on.

Step 3 - Hold the Automatic Unlock

Place your key inside the ignition but do not turn it yet. Press and hold the unlock button on your door to start the locking cycle. Turn your key to the accessory power position, stopping just before turning over the ignition to start the engine. Release the unlock button to cycle the locks once more.

Step 4 - Reset Fob

On your car remote, press and hold the "lock" and "unlock" buttons for at least 15 seconds. In some cars, the remote will chime when it has been reset.

Step 5 - Test

Exit programming mode by turning off the car completely and removing the key from the ignition. Step out of the car and test every button on your key fob to make sure the process was successful.

If your remote has been programmed correctly, you can follow this same process for any other new fobs.

Step 6 - Try Going to Your Local Dealership

In the event that you've been unable to program your remote or find any instructions on how to in your vehicle's manual, contact your local car dealership to bring your car in. They will also usually show you the correct method if you ask.