Is a key fob covered under warranty?

Good news: In most cases, the answer is yes

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Edited by:
Endurance Auto Warranty, Omega Auto Care, Concord Auto Protect, Toco Warranty and American Dream Auto Protect
man's hand holding a car key fob

Your car’s key fob is one of the most touched items in your life, making it one of the most important vehicle-related components. Because it’s used every time you drive, your key fob can wear out over time, making it annoying or impossible, in some cases, to enter and use your vehicle. Unfortunately, they’re expensive to replace, costing hundreds of dollars at their most expensive. The good news is that most fobs are covered, at least partially, under many extended warranty plans.

Depending on the provider, you may be eligible for coverage of part or all of the key fob replacement costs. Some warranties provide reimbursement for a limited amount of the cost, while others include the key fob, sometimes called “keyless entry transmitters,” in higher-level coverage plans. This overview will help you understand which warranties cover such repairs or replacements, how much you can expect to pay and what might be involved in the process.

Key insights

Replacements can cost several hundred dollars.

Jump to insight

Most warranties offer at least partial coverage of fob replacement costs.

Jump to insight

Many drivers will never need a key fob replacement.

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Key fob warranty coverage

Key fobs aren’t a part of the vehicle, which can make them a gray area for warranty coverage. Manufacturers cover defects in the fob under the factory warranty, but that protection only lasts for a few years after the initial purchase. Extended warranties fill the gap, but some only cover part of the replacement costs. There are more comprehensive plans from some companies that offer protection for the fob, but you’ll need to ask plenty of questions to make sure the plan you select provides coverage.

It’s also important to note that some warranty plans include coverage for lost or stolen, but not broken, key fobs. It seems like we’re splitting hairs, but there’s a difference in how plans view a damaged fob versus a lost or stolen component. If you end up having to pay for the replacement yourself, you might be surprised at the cost. Some fobs can cost more than $500 to replace, depending on the make, model and functionality of the device.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

What types of warranties cover key fobs?

Extended warranty providers generally offer a few tiers of coverage that range from basic powertrain protection to more comprehensive “exclusionary” plans. Some of the top-tier plans pay for key fob replacement, while the vast majority of the more basic plans do not. Companies like Endurance offer add-on coverage that pays for a significant portion of the replacement or repair costs, with the Endurance Elite Benefit covering up to $500 per instance. Most of these plans, including Endurance Elite, come with additional charges above and beyond the monthly or annual cost.

Automakers’ factory warranty coverage almost always includes key fob protection if there’s a manufacturer’s defect involved. They might not cover the costs if you damage or lose your fob, and dealership replacements are pricey. That said, none of this should convince you that you can’t use your key fob as originally intended, and many vehicle owners find that the fobs last the life of their vehicle with regular battery replacement.

» MORE: Car warranty guide: what you need to know

Does your extended warranty cover key fobs?

While some extended warranty providers offer key fob coverage, others require supplemental protection that can pay for a part of the cost. Remember that add-on plans typically cost extra, so plan that into your budget if it’s an option you want with your extended warranty. Finally, some warranties provide lockout assistance or lost key assistance to help you enter your vehicle. These services are separate from key fob replacement, and may not pay for a replacement.

How much does it cost to fix your key fob?

Key fob replacement costs depend on the make and model of the vehicle, the dealer’s parts policies and the complexity of the device. The popular “switchblade” keys that have a push-button key deployment feature are often more expensive than basic fobs, and some luxury automakers’ keys contain high-end materials that drive up the price. In general, expect to pay up to $100 per key fob for older vehicles and around $500 for more functional modern fobs. That said, range-topping luxury models sometimes have display screens and other features that can push the replacement cost to more than $1,000.

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Is a key fob covered under any factory warranties?

Key fobs are covered under factory-limited warranties against manufacturing defects, which means that damage or wear from use is not covered. Battery replacements may be covered, but they are easy to perform and don’t usually warrant a trip to the dealer service department.

How much does it cost to replace a key fob?

Key fobs for older vehicles can be as cheap as $50, while more modern keys can cost $300 to $500. Luxury automakers tend to charge more than that, especially if the fob has tech features like a display or advanced communication with the vehicle (remote parking control, etc.).

How long should a key fob last?

Most key fobs last between five and 10 years, depending on how often they’re used and the quality of manufacturing. That said, batteries are far less durable and will need to be replaced every couple of years, again, depending on use.

Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. American Dream Auto Protect, “Benefits of American Dream Auto Protect Warranty.” Accessed May 22, 2024.
  2. Endurance Warranty, “Key Fob Replacement: A Step-by-Step Guide.” Accessed May 22, 2024.
  3. Carchex, “What’s Included in a Honda Warranty?” Accessed May 22, 2024
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