Car Key Washed in Washing Machine

Ever washed your keys before?

My Car Key went through the Washing Machine

Recently I put my car key remote through the wash and while I had a bit of a chuckle, paying out for a new car key remote is no laughing matter. Replacing car keys can be expensive, even for a locksmith like me.

But the good news is, just by following a few instructions and a bit of luck your key may just have a second chance.

Here's what to do or not to do if you have put you keys through the washing machine:

If you washed you key, DON'T press any buttons

By pressing the buttons you may just fry the circuit board and will be up for a new key. If the key remote is non-integrated (transponder is located in the key but independent of the remote), you should still be able to open the car with the key and start the car.

Remove the battery for the key remote

Removing the battery will reduce the chance of any further damage. While there is power and water present, it's a recipe for disaster. When you open the case, have a look for any signs of water. Sometimes there may only be a little condensation left inside. If you are lucky, your key remote may be well sealed and no water has entered at all but it also depends on how long the key was exposed to water as well.

Ford Ranger key with battery cover rmoved

Dismantle the key remote as much as possible

Dismantle the key remote as much as possible but don't go overboard and start cracking the case open. Many remotes will only allow you to open it as far as changing the battery and that should hopefully be enough.

Working out how to open the remove can be challenging. Loo for a small screw, they can sometimes be hiding under the logo sticker. sometimes there may be no screw but has a clip on cover which you will need to pry open.

Warning:  Be careful not to loose the small transponder chip located inside the remote. Sometimes they are not glued in and may fall out on the floor without you knowing.

Hang the key out to dry

Like your washing,  the best way to dry it quickly is to hang it out to dry in the sun. Yes, I had a laugh when I did it. I probably wouldn't go as far as putting it in the dryer but who knows, it may just work. But seriously, I would allow at least a few hours for the key to dry in the sun. Or if time is on your side, just leave it somewhere to dry inside for a couple of days.

Ford Ranger Remote Drying

Replace the battery and test the key

The time has come. Nervous? I was. Place the battery back in and test the key to see if it works and with any luck you're away again. If not well it was worth a try.

Not all key remotes have replaceable batteries

Unfortunately not all key remotes have replaceable batteries. A good example of this is the Holden Commodore Key. The batteries in these are welded onto the circuit.  The remote case is not designed to be pulled apart either.


Need a new key? Try a locksmith first

Before running off to the car dealer for a new key, try your local automotive locksmith first. Usually a locksmith will come in much cheaper than a car dealer.

One last thing, make sure you have a spare key. Yes, they can be expensive but if you loose your only car key, then you will regret not having one cut.  Believe me, I here the same story all the time "I was going to get a spare key cut but never got around to doing it". Do wait any longer, make sure you have a spare key and take the spare key with you on holidays if you are taking the car.


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