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Can Car Keys Get Wet? Are They Waterproof?


You might be drenched in water on a rainy day or forget to take out the car keys from your pants before laundry. That’s normal. However, the problem begins when you have no idea about wet car keys. So here we shall talk about, can car keys get wet? Or are they waterproof?

If you have a key fob or a smart key, getting wet might permanently damage that. However, if you still have that mechanical-cut key, there’s nothing to worry about.

In this post, we’ll talk about how water affects your smart key and how to fix a wet key.

How does Water Affect Your Car Key Fob?

Your car key fob is actually a handheld remote that works on electronic circuits.

car key near water

Sometimes, you jump into the pool out of excitement, forgetting that the key fob is still in your pocket. Also, if you have accidentally dropped your key fob in the water, you have to react quickly, have to react quickly to the situation.

You already know that water and electronic devices don’t get along. Once water gets into the electric or electronic device, it instantly damages the internal circuit board, known as ECU (Electronic Control Unit.)

Moreover, the longer your car key fob stays in the water, the more likely it’s going to get permanently damaged. Even a tiny water droplet can destroy the whole device. Therefore, you have to stay vigilant not to take your key fob near water.

If the key fob has somehow got wet, you might have to replace it, which is pretty expensive.

Circuit of Key Fob

Although the key fob is just a small remote, it has an internal circuit that has all the essential microcontrollers. Moreover, the automobile manufacturers program the particular key fobs and sync data with the respective car.

When you reach your car, the key fob detects the immobilizer system. When you press any button, the car validates the command and responds accordingly.

Besides, car key fobs have become pretty common these days because they are less expensive than other smart key remotes. You just need a coin battery to operate a key fob.

However, the circuit of the key fob is vulnerable to water. If water is allowed to get inside the fob, it can damage the circuit.

Not only that, it might create a spark inside the fob that might explode the battery.

Have a look at the Key Fob Case made of plastic and metal.

What to Do When Water Gets in the Key Fob?

First of all, quickly take out the key fob from the water. The chances are high that the water has already reached the fob’s circuit. But don’t worry, you still have access to your car. We’ll discuss later how to fix a wet car key fob.


Let’s discuss how you can unlock and start your car without the fob.

How to Start Your Car Without a Fob?

Assume that your car key fob has drowned in water. You press its buttons on the fob but to no avail. You need to get in your car. What are you going to do?

Unlock Your Car

First of all, you have to unlock the doors of your car. Since the fob is no longer working, you have to use that mechanical key attached to the fob.

Some models of cars allow you to use that mechanical key in case of an emergency. The manufacturers knew that electronic devices like a key fob could fail you at any time. Therefore, some cars allow you to open the doors using only the car key.

Use Car App

Advanced models of BMW, Audi, Honda, and Ford allow you to unlock your car using the car app. These models don’t provide any mechanical key with the fob. Instead, you have to install an app that is particularly for your vehicle.

If you have the app installed, call the customer support center of your car’s manufacturer and tell them the situation. They will instantly verify the case and convert that app into a virtual key fob.

Therefore, use that app to unlock your car. On top of that, you can even start your car using that app.

Start Engine

If your car manufacturer doesn’t provide any app, don’t worry. You can still start your car without a fob.

This method allows you to start your car’s engine without breaking any security protocol of your car. Typically, when you try to give ignition to your car without the fob, the car’s immobilizer or anti-theft system might not allow the engine to start.

Therefore, follow these steps:

  1. First, detach the key from the faulty fob.
  2. Get in your car.
  3. Find a plastic cap hidden at any side of your car’s steering wheel.
  4. Remove the plastic cap. Here’s the hidden key slot for manual ignition. Most keyless entry cars have this secret key slot available.
  5. Insert the car key and start the engine.

Although you have started your car without a fob, it’s not a suitable method after all. Therefore, you have to replace the key fob today or tomorrow.

Check out the set of 5-Lithium Coin Batteries for your car key fob.

How to Fix a Wet Car Key Fob?

You can try the following steps and fix your wet car key fob:

keyfob towel
  1. Hold the fob upside down and shake it with force. That will allow water to leave the fob.
  2. Take a dry towel and clean the fob from the button side. Clean the side crevices of the fob as well.
  3. Open up the fob and remove the coin battery. The battery might have been damaged. Therefore, you have to dispose of it.
  4. Take a piece of cotton and dip it in isopropyl alcohol.
  5. Gently wipe the circuit of the fob. That will clear any contamination due to the damaged battery.
  6. Wait till the circuit completely dries off.
  7. Insert a new battery and close the lid of the fob.
  8. Try pressing the button on the fab and see if it’s working properly.

If the fob is not working after following the above cleaning process, you have to buy a new fob for your car.

It’s recommended to replace your car key fob as quickly as possible to avoid any security issues with your car.

Final Thoughts

No doubt, water destroys the key fob because of the electronic circuit installed in it. You can try cleaning the fob. However, make sure you don’t use a hairdryer or put the fob into the microwave to remove the water that’s gone inside the fob. That will worsen the situation of the wet car key fob.

Therefore, you have to find a replacement for the faulty fob. Once you buy that, let the car-dealer program it with your car. After that, you can easily unlock your car using the new fob.

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