Car Key Washed in Washing Machine

Ever washed your keys before?
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 have washed your 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 remote and remove the battery can be challenging. Look for a small screw, they can sometimes be hiding under the logo sticker. Sometimes there may be no screw but you can open it buy just prying open. Look for where the remote casing joins together. Usually there is some indication where to pry apart.

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 or Use a Blow dryer

Like your washing, one the best ways to dry it out is to hang (or lay) it out to dry in the sun for a few hours to a day depending on the weather. Only a couple of hour would be needed for a hot summers day.. Yes, I had a laugh when I did it. Using a hair dryer is another good way and much faster way to dry it out. Use a medium heat for a few minutes and if the remote can't be pulled totally apart, try doing it a few times over an hour. The longer you can leave it to dry the better chance it will work again.

Ford Ranger Remote Drying

Replace the battery and test the key

The time has come. Nervous? I was. Place the battery (a new battery if you have one) back in and test the key to see if it works and with any luck you will be on the road 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.  You can try COAST AUTO LOCKSMITHS located on the Coast Coast NSW if you are looking for an automotive locksmith.

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 hear 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!

One last tip; take your spare key with you when you go on holidays because you just don't know when you might loose your key, or worse, have it stolen. Loosing your only key when on holidays can easily be a disaster.


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