How long should my car’s key fob last?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who is worried about getting stuck with a dead car remote.

Q. I have a 2013 Jeep Wrangler with 26,000 miles on it. How can you tell when the battery for the key fob will need to be changed? I can’t get an answer from the dealership, and I don’t want to be left with the remote not working.

A. The battery life of a key fob depends on how much it is used. I had a remote that was 10 years old and it still worked fine. Our other car’s fob only lasted about three years before it stopped working. There are a couple of things you can do. If you have more than one key fob, keep one unused and when the primary fob stops working, you have one ready to go. The other thing you can do is just change the battery every three to four years. Just like a television remote, the performance of the fob will diminish. If the fob doesn’t have the range you are used to, this is an indication that the battery is failing. You could also measure the battery voltage, but if you are opening up the remote, you might as well just change the battery.

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John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.