How To Program A Dodge Key Fob Without A Working One

How To Program A Dodge Key Fob Without A Working One?

Wondering how to program a Dodge key fob without a working one? You would think that it’s not possible unless you go to a Dodge dealer. However, there is a way that you can do this, albeit a little tricky to execute, but we’re here to help you. If you lost your original car key fob for your Dodge, learn how to program a Dodge key fob without a working one in this post.

What Is A Key Fob

You may be wondering how does a key fob work? Does it use black magic to communicate with your car? Well, no, but it’s probably equally mystical. Key fobs use radio waves to communicate with your car’s door lock mechanism.

This system is commonly known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which consists of a radio transponder, a receiver, and a transmitter. When you push the button on the key fob, it will send digital data via radio waves by using the transmitter.

The reader in the car receives the data and identifies it using an inventory number. If it matches, the door lock mechanism in your car will activate. Think of it like a digital electronic barcode, where the system will see if the barcode matches.

How Does Key Fob Work

The transponder is part of your car’s security system, along with the engine immobilizer in your car. But what is it exactly and how does it work? Well, the transponder is basically a chip that also sends radio signals.

When you insert your car key into the ignition, the transponder will send radio signals with a tag to the receiver inside the car. And then, if the tag matches, it enables your car’s ignition system.

After the ignition system is enabled, when you turn the key, the car will start its starting procedure. This includes cranking the engine with a starter motor and simultaneously firing the ignition system so that the spark plugs will fire and the engine can begin the combustion process and turn on.

How To Program A Dodge Key Fob Without A Working One

If the tag doesn’t match, then the immobilizer will disable the ignition system. As a result, when you turn the key, only the starter motor will turn. But since the ignition system remains off (the spark plugs won’t fire), the engine won’t start.

This is similar to the symptoms of a car that has a new battery but won’t start. In some cases, the immobilizer may prevent the starter motor from working in the first place. One last note, this type of key is called a transponder key.

Most modern cars have this, but as recently as the early 2000s, some cars still don’t have transponder keys. Instead, they use a regular key with a separate fob to control the door lock actuator mechanism. And yes, some Dodge vehicles from the early 2000s still use regular keys rather than transponder keys.

Types Of Car Keys

Good question. Why yes, there are different keys out there that Dodge and other carmakers use. Here are the different types of car keys, which will be crucial as we’ll learn how to program a Dodge key fob without a working one:

  • Basic Key: This is the type of key that older cars use. No chip, no transmitter or transponder, just a good old key that you use to lock and unlock the door and start the car.
  • Transponder Key: This type of key is common up until the mid-2000s. It’s similar to a basic key, and oftentimes it doesn’t have any buttons to lock or unlock the door – there’s usually a separate fob. But the key has a transponder that communicates to the car, which as mentioned, adds an extra layer of security
  • Key Fob (Remote Keyless Entry): This is one of the most common types of keys today. The key and the door lock buttons are all in one housing, and there’s a transponder that communicates with the car.
  • Switchblade Key: A switchblade key is similar to key fobs in terms of how they work. But the difference is that the metal key that you insert and turn in the ignition can fold away into the plastic holder, hence why it’s called a switchblade key.
  • Smart Key Fob (Proximity Key): When people say keyless entry, this is what they usually mean. A proximity key is a type of key where you don’t need to push a button to lock or unlock the car. In many cars, the door will lock itself when the key is out of range and unlocks when the driver pulls the door handles. Or sometimes there’s a sensor on the door handle that the driver can touch to unlock the door.

How To Start Keyless Car With Key

As mentioned, the keyless proximity can activate the door lock mechanism without the push of a button from the driver. This system will also often allow the ignition system to work as soon as it detects the key inside the car. But how does it work? Well, it works largely similarly to your conventional key fobs: by using radio signals.

The difference is that while a conventional key fob waits for the driver to press a key to send a signal, a keyless system constantly transmits this radio signal from the key fob. If the signal matches, then it will activate the necessary mechanisms in the car on its own– such as the door lock – for the driver’s convenience.

For example, when a keyless system detects a key is nearby and you pull the door handle, it will unlock the door automatically for you. If it doesn’t detect the key, then it won’t activate.

And the same goes for the ignition system: if it doesn’t detect the key inside the car, it will disable the ignition system. Resulting in a car that won’t start, and adding an extra layer of security for your car.

Can You Program A Key Fob Without The Original Key

Each car has a unique tag programmed into the receiver and key fob. When you purchase a new key fob, it doesn’t have this tag since the key fob hasn’t been programmed. In other words, it’s a blank key. This is why you often need the original key fob: to copy the tag from the original key into the transponder of the new key.

Without the tag, the transponder in that new key won’t be able to communicate with the immobilizer in the car. As a result, the immobilizer will disable the ignition system, and the car won’t start. This programming process for a key fob usually involves using a scan tool to connect to the car.

As a safety measure, the system often requires the original key fob. This way, indecent people with bad intentions won’t be able to steal your car since they don’t have the original key fob.

Program Dodge Key Fob Without Original

There are several ways to program a Dodge key fob without the original one. This process will depend on what type of key you have in your Dodge. Some Dodge cars use a separate fob for the door lock mechanism, and turning the key in the ignition itself doesn’t have any buttons.

And it may or may not have a transponder. Others have the fob, the key, and the transponder in one housing. It’s crucial that you first understand which is which before you learn how to program a Dodge key fob without a working one.

How To Program A Dodge Key Fob Without A Working One

If you have the latter, such as the one shown above, then here’s how to program it according to Dodge dealerships:

  1. Enter your car and sit in the driver’s seat. Within 10 seconds, press and release the “LOCK BUTTON” of the key fob five times in quick succession. Timing is crucial, so make sure to not miss that 10-second window and press it quickly.
  2. Afterward, press and hold the “UNLOCK BUTTON”. While holding it, insert the key into the car ignition and turn it in the ignition to “RUN” mode. Do not take your finger off of the “UNLOCK BUTTON.”
  3. While pressing down the “UNLOCK BUTTON”, do the same on the “PANIC BUTTON” for one full second. Afterward, release both buttons together.
  4. Next, hold down the “UNLOCK” and “LOCK” buttons together before releasing them simultaneously.
  5. And finally, press the “UNLOCK BUTTON” once again.

How To Program Keyless Remote Without Original

If you have a key fob rather than a conventional key, the key fob has a physical key within the fob. Ejecting them is as simple as pressing a button or sliding a switch, and the physical key will come right out. Then use this physical key to unlock the door by inserting it into the lock cylinder, just like you would with a normal key.

Some Dodge cars may require you to remove a plastic piece covering the cylinder, others have the lock cylinder immediately accessible. Most car keys aren’t unique, so if you bought an OEM key fob specifically for your Dodge car, the lock pattern should match and you can unlock the door.

If you’re having trouble entering the car, read our helpful guide here on what to do if you locked your keys inside your car.

Hold on, that doesn’t seem very secure, does it? Someone else with a similar car as yours can have the same key pattern and unlock your car then? Well, technically, yes. But as mentioned, modern car keys have transponders inside them with a unique tag for each car.

If the transponder doesn’t have a matching tag, then the car won’t run. So don’t worry about someone driving off with your car.

How To Program A Dodge Key Fob Without A Working One: Using DRB-3

This method is for Dodge cars where the ignition key and the fob are separate. However, this method requires using a DRB-3 scan tool, which is a factory scan tool. This is the scan tool that Dodge and other Chrysler-brand car mechanics use to diagnose or program a Chrysler car from 1994 to 2007.

It costs thousands of dollars, so unless you already have a DRB-3 tool lying around for some reason, this method isn’t really viable. Not unless you want to spend thousands of dollars on a scan tool that you will rarely use. Still, if you have a Dodge mechanic friend, you may be able to get a hold of it. In any case, here’s how to do it:

  1. Connect the DRB-3 tool to the car’s OBD port, it usually lies underneath the driver’s side of the dashboard.
  2. Turn the DRB-3 tool, go through the menu, and select ‘DRB-3 Standalone’.
  3. Select ‘Customer Preference’, there are two options, select the one appropriate to your Dodge’s model year.
  4. Select ‘Program RKE’ on the menu.
  5. Press enter and then hold the key fob against the DRB-3 tool.
  6. Press the Lock and Unlock buttons on the key simultaneously for a few seconds, and then press the unlock button.
  7. There should be a chime, and this indicates that the key is successfully programmed.

Again, this method will only work if you have the very expensive DRB-3 scan tool. And this will only work for Dodge cars from 1994 to 2007 since Dodge cars after 2007 use a different type of scanner.

How To Program A Key Fob

There is something called a manual programming procedure, here’s how to do it:

  1. Connect pin 1 of the 16-way data link connector to the chassis ground or to pin 4 of
    the 16-way data link connector.
  2. Close all doors and turn the ignition key off.
  3. Turn the ignition key to Accessory or “ACC”.
  4. Turn the ignition key off again, and the door locks will cycle once.
  5. Press any button on the key fob 3 times in a row to program it. The door locks will cycle once again once programming is complete.

If you’re still having trouble programming the new key, then we recommend going to a dealer or an automotive locksmith to solve your problem.

How To Program A Dodge Key Fob: If You Have A Working Key

Just in case you have a working key, or you just found your spare and you now need to program the new one, the programming is a lot easier. One device that will help you with the process is SimpleKey, and here’s how to use it:

  1. Get a hold of the SimpleKey programmer.
  2. Activate the new key fob by pressing the ‘Lock’ and ‘Panic’ buttons until a blue light comes on.
  3. Afterward, enter the activation code. It’s going to be different depending on your car’s make and model, and you will be able to find this in SimpleKey’s user manual. It will chime once it’s activated.
  4. Take the SimpleKey programmer, and turn the dial according to the manual depending on your car.
  5. Turn the hazard light on, and then use the working key to turn on the car.
  6. Connect the programmer to the OBD port, it will beep three times to indicate that it’s now communicating with the car.
  7. Turn the engine off, and then pull the working key out.
  8. Afterward, take the new blank key and insert it into the ignition. Press the button on top of the programmer, you should hear three quick beeps.
  9. Pull the new key out, and press the button on the top again and it should chime.
  10. Unplug the programmer, turn the hazard light off, and turn on the vehicle with the new key. The new key should work.

Again, this method will only work if you still have the original key as it requires you to turn on the car. It will also only work with certain Dodge and other Chrysler-brand vehicles, check this list to see if it will work with yours. The programmer costs $200, but is often on sale for around $120 and comes with a new key fob included.

Dodge Key Fob Replacement

Programming a new blank key for your car is a painful process, especially when you don’t have the original keys. If you haven’t succeeded at this point, you’re probably thinking of just going to the dealership and getting them to do the job for you. But how much will that cost you? Well, quite expensive, if we’re being honest.

Here are the estimates depending on the key types:

  • Basic keys typically cost no more than $30, and you can have any decent locksmith (even those at AutoZone) make a new key for you.
  • Transponder keys are around $170 on average,
  • Key fobs or remote keyless entry is somewhere around $150 – $200 on average.
  • Switchblade keys are slightly more expensive at around $200 – $300 due to the switchblade mechanism.
  • Proximity keys are the most expensive due to the complexity of their system and programming. They’re anywhere between $200 to $600 on average, with some cars costing more than that.

How about the key replacement for Dodge cars then? On average, expect to pay anywhere between $80 – $450 at the dealer, depending on your car’s make, model, and key type. The cost doesn’t usually include taxes, but already includes the cost of the programming itself. As you can see, a car (or motorcycle) key replacement isn’t cheap.

How Much Is A Key Fob

It’s mostly expensive because of the technology inside the keys. Especially when it comes to proximity keys, where the keys, the immobilizer, and the door lock mechanism are much more intelligent and complex. Additionally, some keys may be laser-cut. Laser-cut keys are more precise and harder to duplicate (unlike car keys with chips), but they cost at least $60 more than standard keys.

And finally, dealerships often put a premium on OEM spare parts. This is because OEM spare parts usually come with a warranty, and dealers have to make money as well since they have to purchase these OEM parts from manufacturers, leading to more expensive parts.

Who Programs Key Fobs

The next best choice is to go to a car locksmith. Even Home Depot could make car keys for you. Many of them can reprogram new car keys without the original at the fraction of the price that a dealer asks. The cost will vary depending on your car’s key type, but it’s often as much as 60% cheaper than dealership prices.

And many of them offer home service, so they will come to your house and you don’t need to worry about towing. Often at no extra charge at all. If you want to program a new set of keys, whether with a locksmith or at the dealer, here are the things you will need to prepare:

  • Inform them of your car’s make, model, and year.
  • Provide proof of ownership of the vehicle, such as the registration and title. If for example, you’re programming your parent’s car, ideally they should be there when the technician comes. Or having a valid ID of theirs may also be enough, inquire about this with the locksmith before making an appointment.
  • The locksmith will typically ask for your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) as well.
  • Knowing the key identification number will also be helpful for the technician. You will be able to find this in your owner’s manual, but this is not necessary.

And finally, if you think your old keys have been stolen, let the locksmith or dealership know. They will reprogram the car so that the old keys will no longer work and no one can steal your car.

Can A Locksmith Program A Key Fob

If you can, we recommend programming a new key for your Dodge at the dealership. Especially if your car is less than 10 years old, as newer car keys are typically more difficult to program, and not every locksmith is capable of doing it. Newer cars will often only work with OEM keys and won’t respond to aftermarket keys.

Dealers will also often offer a warranty just in case there are errors with the keys. And since they use OEM keys with OEM devices and software, it provides better peace of mind that the new keys will work, and your car will be secure.

The downside to going to a dealership is, of course, the higher price, and they usually don’t offer home service. So if you can’t drive your car, you’ll have to tow it. However, if your car is over 10 years old, and you’re on a tight budget, then programming a new key with a locksmith is a viable option.

They will likely be much cheaper, and they will be able to do it since older car key systems are less complex. Search for locksmiths in your area, and read customer reviews if there are any before making a decision.

We have several more tips about choosing the right car locksmith, and you can learn more here.

How To Program A Dodge Key Fob Without A Working One: In Conclusion…

So, yes, you can program a Dodge key fob without the original one. By pressing the buttons on the key fob in a certain pattern and in quick succession, you should be able to program the new keys. If not, there are other ways as well. But to be honest, we think it’s too much of a hassle and isn’t worth going through.

Car keys obviously play an important role in your car’s security. If you can’t program the keys, we recommend going to the dealer or a locksmith to have it done for you. It may be quite expensive, but a small price to pay for security and peace of mind.

How To Program A Dodge Key Fob Without A Working One

FAQs On How To Program A Dodge Key Fob Without A Working One

If you’re still curious to learn more about how to program a Dodge key fob without a working one, our FAQs here might help…

Why Is It Called A Key Fob

The term ‘fob’ is defined as something that you’d put at the end of a key ring. For example, an amulet or a pendant. This applies to key fobs for your car, too. That’s because the key fob is made to be small, light, easy to carry around, and could be attached to the end of a key ring. But as small as the key fob might appear, it’s a crucial part of your car’s anti-theft and security system. The key fob is basically a remote-controlled device that interfaces with your car’s theft deterrent system. Once a button is pressed to unlock the doors, it transmits security and authentication codes via radio waves back to your car, which would then unlock the doors if the codes match.

How To Program Key Fob Push Start

Depending on what vehicle you have or the key fob that you’ve fitted, the steps to program it will vary. But in general, it starts with you getting into the car and sitting in the driver’s seat (with the key fob in hand). Then, close the doors. Once that’s done, press your car’s push-start button 15 times in quick succession (no more than a 2-second gap in between). Remember to not press the brake pedals while you’re doing this. Then, after the 15th press, push the door lock button on the key fob. If you did it right, the doors should lock. At that point, the key fob should be fully functional. If not, then you can repeat the process once more, but refine the timing a bit further.

How To Find Lost Remote Car Key

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to find lost remote car keys. If you’ve just lost it, try retracing your steps, and looking in every nook and cranny possible. This might give you some clues as to where you might’ve dropped them. Otherwise, one good prevention trick would be sticking your remote car keys onto a key ring, in addition to an AirTag or a Tile tracker. So, the next time you dropped your car keys, you could more than easily use a mobile app to track the AirTag or Tile tracker’s location. If you have a brand-new car, some automakers are now allowing some customers to negate the use of keys altogether, by using a smartphone as a key – which should be easier to find!

Why Does My Key Fob Not Work After Replacing Battery

Car key fobs have a variety of different tricks to make it harder to deter theft. One of them (which can sometimes be a nuisance to owners, as well) is for the key fob to not work once you replace its internal battery. This is because a key fob requires there to be a receiver within your car. The latter is what receives authentication codes that have been transmitted by the key fob via radio waves. However, replacing the key fob’s battery can often reset this paired (existing) connection between the key fob and your car’s receiver. Therefore, the only solution now is to reset and reprogram the key fob, which entails re-establishing the paired connection with the in-car receiver.

How To Get New Key Fob

If you’ve lost your car key fobs, then there are only two people to turn to – car dealerships, or a locksmith. The most secure and seamless way to get a new key fob for your car is by going to a certified dealership. From there, they’ll be able to re-assign a new key fob, alongside re-programming it, as well as sorting out a new set of security codes. However, dealerships tend to charge a lot of money for a set of replacement key fobs, often hundreds of dollars. As such, you should consider asking a locksmith beforehand, as they could do it for much less. Although, not all locksmiths have the right keys, tools, authorization, or skills to replace every single key fob out there.

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2 Comments

  • Bill Says

    These FOB keys are not for security, it just another way to fuck the customer over and over.

  • Dan Berry Says

    PROBLEM: It just quit working the other day–after the many times I’ve removed the automobile battery over the years, with NO PROBLEM After 8 1/2 years of doing this—SOMETIMES, but not always, the Vehicle Theft Alarm activates, so I have to shut it off with the PANIC BUTTON or ACTIVATE THE IGNITION SYSTEM. THIS TIME (when I hooked the battery cables on )—- NOTHING ON THE RKE WOULD WORK!! I AM SUSPECTING THAT SOMEHOW THE BATTERY DISCONNECT MADE BOTH RKE’S QUIT—THE DEALER WOULDN’T /COULDN’T DO ANYTHING WITHOUT ADMITTING IT TO THE SHOP FOR PERHAPS A HIGH PRICED JOB!!! YES THE TRANSMITTER KEY BATTERIES ARE ALL OK AT 3.3 & 3.1 VOLTS!! Pay attention now!! PRESENTLY,
    I UNLOCK THE DRIVER’S DOOR WITH FOB KEY–THE ALARM WILL ACTIVATE–SO I JUST UNPLUGGED THE VEHICLE HORN (WHICH I NOTICE HAS A BLUE WIRE FOR THE ALARM SYSTEM PAIRED INTO IT OF COURSE. I’VE UNPLUGGED THE HORN MANY TIMES WITH NO ILL EFFECTS ON THE RKE/FOB USAGE–SO IT SHOULDN’T BE THAT AS A PROBLEM.) SO, AFTER ENTERING THE VEHICLE WITH MANUAL KEY–I HAVE TO PUSH THE STARTER BUTTON WITH THE END OF THE RKE & EVERYTHING STARTS UP & AWAY I GO, BUT THE INFO PANEL SAYS “KEY NOT DETECTED” AS SOON AS I MOVE IT OFF THE IGNITION BUTTON! WHEN I EXIT THE VEHICLE–THE INSIDE DOOR LOCK BUTTON WILL LOCK THE DOORS, HOWEVER. THE RKE IS USELESS ONCE AGAIN FOR TO DO ANYTHING—EXCEPT START THE CAR WITH IT PRESSED AGAINST THE BUTTON AS I ALREADY MENTIONED.

    1/ I SUSPECT THE BATTERY UNHOOKING SOMEHOW DISABLED SOMETHING. WHETHER IT IS THE ON BOARD TRANSPONDER/RECEIVING UNIT OR HAVING TO REPROGRAM THE KEYS?? WHAT DO YOU THINK? ASK SOMEONE THAT KNOWS THIS SYSTEM TOTALLY, PLEASE. This is my first car with this system & it only has 18,000 kms on it –although I use it regularly–so it is a new car, basically. I read the CAR MANUAL & it has NOTHING shown as to what to do with any re-programming.

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