An Essential Guide to Buying Remote Locking Controls/Fobs for Your Car

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An Essential Guide to Buying Remote Locking Controls/Fobs for Your Car

Remote control fobs for cars are a splendid example of a small invention that makes life easier for everyone. Gone are the days when car owners have to juggle armloads of packages and bags, while they struggle to put the car key inside of the lock. Remote control locks unlock car doors by simply pressing a button, making it easy for everyone to get in and out of the car.

Though this idea seems relatively simple, there is a lot of technology that goes on behind the scenes to make remote control locks work. Buyers often do not understand this problem until they lose their old key fob and have to buy a new one. Auto shops and eBay frequently sell remote control key fobs, but most cars require a specific key that works with their specific make and model. Buyers must purchase fobs that work with their car that comes with the right buttons and synchronisation tools.

Understanding Remote Control Locks

To truly appreciate all of the technology that goes into an unassuming car fob, buyers must first understand how remote control locks work. Interestingly enough, this technology was first developed for opening garage doors. A 1960s garage door opener was an extremely simple device that had a small radio transmitter that responded to a radio receiver in the garage. It worked on a single signal, which was fine at first until everyone on the block started getting garage door openers. Because they all responded to the same signal, it meant that one neighbour could open another neighbour's garage door.

Clearly, in the case of remote locks for cars, this would be terribly unsafe as it meant anyone with a remote control key could open anyone else's car. It was not until technology advanced far enough to start sending out different signals, that manufacturers started taking another look at applying garage door technology to remote control locks for cars.

Modern Remote Control Car Locks

Security is paramount for modern remote control car locks. The basic process is still the same as a small radio transmitter inside the key fob sends a signal to a radio receiver in the car. However, this signal operates on a 40 bit rolling code for safety. The key fob sends out a particular code to the receiver in the car that tells it to unlock the door. In other words, the key fob has over 1 trillion possible codes, so the likelihood of one remote control working for another car is quite low.

Buying for Buttons

Most remote control locks come with four buttons. Again, it is necessary for customers to buy the right type of remote control for their car, as there is no point in buying one that comes with four buttons if the car can only recognise three of them. The buttons can work at short distances, usually around 7.6 metres.

Lock and Unlock

The most basic function of a remote control is the lock, all models have this option. Though they are two different buttons, they use the same function, and this is important to remember in case the buyer ever needs to reprogramme the key fob. In most models, the lock button features the symbol of a closed lock, while the unlock button has an open lock.

Car Alarm

This bright red button can come in handy in emergency situations. It automatically turns on the car alarm,, scaring away potential thieves. People also tend to use this button to scare away cats and other animals that are sitting on their car. It can be turned off by pressing the button once more.

Car Horn

The car horn button, which is often painted bright blue, is an alternative to the car alarm. It sounds the horn of the car without turning on the full alarm system. This feature is particularly useful if the driver is wandering around a large parking lot trying to remember where they parked their car.


Some models also feature a button that opens and closes the trunk. It is especially handy to have for those who like to use their trunk as a means of storage. These buttons usually feature the symbol of an open car trunk.

Buying Replacement Remote Control Locks

It is an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes people lose their car keys, along with their remote control key fob. When this happens there is no alternative except to buy another one. Customers have several options when they reach this point. They can opt to buy replacement keys and locks from a dealer, but this means paying premium prices. However, by choosing this method they are assured that the remote control fob works for their car.

The second method is to buy after-market parts from an auto shop, or through an online retailer like eBay. This is a less expensive option than buying directly from the dealer, but buyers must make sure they are buying the right type of key for their car. If the car's make and model is not listed, the remote control lock may not be able work.

A Note About Broken Key Fobs

Sometimes key fobs seem to be broken when in essence all they need is to be reprogrammed. This is due to a quirk in the radio transmission feature. If the driver, or a small child who is playing with the car keys, accidentally presses the unlock or lock feature when the transmitter is more than a mile away from the car, the receiver blocks it. The receiver then creates a new code that it sends to the transmitter, and it does this up to 256 times. However, many parents of small children attest to the fact that their child can easily press the button more than 256 times. At this point, the receiver blocks all future transmissions and disables the lock.

Reprogramming Remote Control Locks

Whether the buyer needs to purchase a new lock, or merely reprogramme their old one that was desynchronised, the reprogramming instructions are the same. For most cars, put the key in the ignition switch and turn it back and forth between the on and off position eight times within ten seconds. This tells the car to switch over to programming mode. Then press the buttons on the key fob for each part of the remote the owner wants the car to recognise.

Buying Remote Control Locks for Older Cars

Owners of classic cars, and any vehicle made before 1990, do not have to settle for manual key locks. They can purchase a locking system that includes a set of key fobs as well as the receiver which is installed inside of the car. This retrofits the car for modern remote control capabilities. In this case, the buyer does not have to worry about buying a specific type of key based on the make and model of their car. This is only an issue for cars that already have the receiver inside of them. Since older cars lack a receiver, locking system kits come with their own receiver that is guaranteed to work with the key fobs.

Buying Remote Control Locks on eBay

eBay is a haven for auto enthusiasts, or for anyone who just wants to save a little bit of cash on aftermarket auto accessories. Whether you need to replace a key fob, or want to instal a remote control locking system in your classic car, eBay has all of the parts you need. As long as you pay careful attention to details, you can purchase the right replacement key for your car in a few simple steps.

Finding Remote Control Locks on eBay

Start your search by navigating to the relevant listings. Type 'remote control locks car&' into the search engine to pull up all results for remote control locks. You can try and get lucky by searching for 'used remote control car locks&' and then enter your make and model into the search engine. You could get a great deal on a used key that only needs to be reprogrammed. Of course, if you are not interested in buying used merchandise, search for 'new remote control car locks&' and then type in the make and model. You can also search for locking kits by typing 'remote control car lock kit' into the search box found on any eBay page.


Remote control car locks make life just a little bit easier than it was before, and it is one of those features that most car owners never truly miss until they lose their keys. Being able to easily open the car door without having to struggle to shove the key into the lock every time, is a small luxury many car owners have come to depend upon when driving.

Buyers who have older cars can purchase an entire locking system that retrofits their car for a remote control lock. Owners who have lost their key fob have to purchase a new one, and many choose to save money by getting their new keys via eBay. When it comes to getting a replacement key fob, ensuring that the make and model of the car match with the key is the most important factor, while deciding on the number of buttons is a secondary consideration.