Is Your Keyless Remote Not Working Unless You're Very Close To Your Car? Here's What You Need To Know

You’re approaching your vehicle, and trying to unlock the doors — but nothing is happening. You notice the doors finally open, but you’re much closer to your car than usual. So you back up a little and try to find the exact range, and it’s close, too close. The issue behind this can be tied to several things, so let’s dive right in.

It Might Not Be The Remote

Just because the range has suddenly become limited when you try to use your remote doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a problem with the remote itself. More than likely, you have two key fobs that came with the car. An easy way to test if there’s a problem with your car versus remote is simply trying out the second remote. If there’s still a range issue using the backup remote, it’s not the remote.

Limited range issues that aren’t associated with the remote aren’t common but do happen. These can include a disconnected antenna, broken transmitter, faulty memory card, or failing locking mechanism.

When The Problem Is The Remote

Keyless entry fob

If the range is diminished, the battery is likely to go dead. Replacing the battery will remedy this issue, and it’s simple to do.

Your key fob will have a slit in the side. Open it with a small flathead screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the rubber gasket underneath so it will go back together securely when you’re done.

Once it’s open, you’ll see a small, coin-like battery inside. Replace this battery with an exact replacement, and close it back up. It should work fine now; no reprogramming is needed if the battery wasn’t all the way dead prior.

Be careful if you decide to tackle the task by yourself -- don't damage the circuit board inside or you'll have to replace the whole thing. If you’re not comfortable changing the battery yourself, you can get it done quickly at a GM service center.

Reprogramming The Remote And Other Considerations

Chances are if you can still unlock the doors from any distance, it’s not a programming issue. Don’t mess with it unless you can’t unlock the doors with the remote at all.

Also, there may be some issues if you allow your remote’s battery to completely die. Check out what happens with certain models, like Cadillacs, and how to reprogram a non-working remote in this article.

If these solutions don’t fix your problem, contact your local GM dealership for help troubleshooting possible connection issues with the wireless lock system.