Running into any issues after a vehicle repair, even something as simple as a car battery change, is not a great feeling.
While the most common reason your remote car starter isn’t working is a dead battery, that’s usually not the case if you’ve just had it replaced. If your car starts right up with the key, it’s time to do some more troubleshooting.
There are several reasons your remote start isn’t working after a battery change, most of which have simple solutions. Keep reading as we explain why this happens and how you can fix it.
Reasons Remote Start Doesn’t Work After a Battery Change
The most common reasons remote start doesn’t work immediately after a battery change include:
- Your car is still in valet mode
- Your hood is not latched (or reporting that it’s latched)
- Your remote start control lost programming
These issues directly relate to what happens when you change your car battery, and they have straightforward fixes.
1. Your Car is in Valet Mode (from the Maintenance)
Cars with remote start have a valet mode that allows you to unlock and lock the car from your FOB but prevents remote start. Mechanics use this mode to allow them access to the vehicle and prevent anyone from starting the vehicle while they’re under the hood.
Anyone who replaced your battery should put your car in valet mode while working under the hood. Your car may also revert to valet mode as soon as the original battery is disconnected, and it will not automatically reset with the new battery.
To fix these, figure out how to turn valet mode off for your specific remote. This usually involves holding down a combination of two buttons (likely lock button and trunk button). Some vehicles have a switch under the dash.
Your parking lights should flash to confirm the change, and then you can remote start as normal.
2. Your Hood is Not Latched (or a Broken/Failing Hood Pin)
If you attempt to remote start and your car instead flashes the parking lights several times, suspect an issue with your hood.
Remote start systems will not work if the hood is open. Not only does this protect you from driving off with an unsecured hood, but it protects those operating on the vehicle from serious injury while working in the engine bay.
Your hood may not have closed completely after replacing your car battery. Try opening it and closing it again, then attempt another remote start.
If this issue persists, find your hood tilt or hood pin switch. This is the part that communicates hood status and prevents starting. It often corrodes over time, but you can also break it on accident when working in the engine bay.
Clean off any present corrosion and replace the part if it’s broken.
3. Control Lost Programming
If a remote start attempt merits absolutely no response from your vehicle, you may have lost programming between the two. This is rare with newer remote start systems, but older remote controls may lose memory the moment the battery is disconnected.
To deal with this you must reprogram your remote starter switch. You can do this by:
- Calling the remote starter installer (or the car dealership)
- Looking for an online guide (with most aftermarket systems)
- Contacting a locksmith or mechanic with remote start knowledge
We recommend contacting your installer whenever possible. Many remote start systems have anti-theft features that prevent you from reprogramming on your own, so prepare to need to take the vehicle in to unlock this feature again.
Other Common Reasons Remote Start Isn’t Working
If these aren’t the problem, your remote start issue may not be related to the battery change.
Common reasons to consider include:
- Dead batteries in your remote starter
- Failing to put your car in park
- Too many start attempts in a short period of time
- Key FOB in Car
- Hazard lights still on
- Issues with coolant temperature or oil pressure
- Check engine light on
Some of these seem obvious, but it happens to the best of us. Run through this troubleshooting list to make sure you’re not making a simple mistake before reaching out to a professional for help.
If you’re using a new remote start system, verify that you’re using it correctly. You may not be pressing the right buttons or may not hold your button long enough to communicate correctly.
1. Dead Batteries in Remote Starter Device
Just because you replaced the battery in your car does not mean your remote starter is in the clear. This is easy to check if you have another FOB that you can test on your vehicle or swap remote batteries with.
Replacement key FOB batteries are available at most auto parts stores or online. Make sure you get the right type of FOB battery for your device.
If battery replacement doesn’t fix the issue, you may need to reset or reprogram your remote starter.
2. Vehicle Not in Park
Most remote starters have a safety feature that prevents startup if the car is not in park. Even if you’re sure that you put the car in the park the last time you got out, double check.
This usually happens when you engage the parking brake without actually parking the car. Once you fix this issue, your remote start button should be back in commission.
3. Too Many Start Attempts
Some remote start systems automatically lock you out if you try to use it too many times in a short period. This can happen if you get frustrated while fumbling with the remote start button or even accidentally while it’s in your pocket or bag.
To reset this, get in your vehicle, insert the car key in the ignition, and start it that way. You can drive off right here, or you can turn the car off and try remote starting again to verify this was the problem.
4. Key FOB in Car
Remote starters will not work if you keep your other key FOB in the car.
Make sure you don’t have your spare stashed away somewhere in your glove box, console, or a bag in your vehicle.
5. Hazard Lights are On
Your vehicle will not remotely start as long as your hazard lights are on. You may have had them on previously or accidentally turned them on while getting out of your car.
Walk around and make sure your emergency signals are not flashing. If they are, get in the car and switch them off, then attempt to remote start again.
6. Car Temperature or Oil Pressure
Another useful safety feature of your car is prohibiting remote start while your coolant temperature is too high or your oil pressure is too low. This prevents undue wear on these systems.
If you suspect overheating, allow your car to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before you check the coolant and oil levels. Top off if needed, and then try to restart your vehicle.
Make sure you address these issues as soon as possible. While waiting is a workaround, your car should not run into higher temperatures or low oil pressure under normal conditions.
7. Check the Engine Light
A check engine light may prevent some remote starters from operating. They will not function properly until you address the underlying cause of the check engine light.
You can get a general diagnosis by using an OBD2 on your vehicle. Most auto parts stores do this for free, or a mechanic can run more thorough diagnostics and offer to repair the issue on the spot.
Because this problem ranges from a bad sensor to complete system issues, it’s difficult to gauge how easily this may be fixed.
Resetting Your Remote Starter
Most newer cars that come with a remote start system automatically installed require an authorized dealer or technician to deal with any remote start issues you have. This may be inconvenient, but it acts as an extra level of security to keep your car in your possession.
Because remote starters are not standardized among different manufacturers, you need to track down your owner’s manual or check ProgramYourRemote for specific instructions.
This usually takes less than an hour and follows steps like these:
- Get in your driver’s seat and close the door.
- Insert your key, then turn the ignition to “accessory” position (or push the start button once without pressing the brake)
- Press the lock button on your remote starter, then turn key off for 5 seconds (or push start button again_
- Repeat this cycle 3 times (4 times total)
On the fourth cycle you should hear a noise when you enter programming mode. Press and hold your remote’s lock button, then turn the car off shortly after.
If this doesn’t work to reset your remote starter, reach out to the manufacturer or installer for help.
When your remote start isn’t working after a battery change:
- Check the most obvious causes first
- Don’t forget to check common remote start problems (that might be coincidental)
- Reset your remote starter as a last resort
While finding the cause involves tedious work, it’s worth it to resolve the issue. Reach out to a professional for help if you’re stumped, and comment with any other questions or issues you have.