How to Troubleshoot Subaru Key Fob Not Working

Worried about your Subaru key fob not working?

It is most definitely not a fun experience. After all, just when you need to get to your destination, the last thing you need to deal with is having a defective key fob.

Generally, the Subaru is a reliable vehicle with plenty of bragging rights. So, you would expect the same thing for its components including the key fob.

What can you do then when the key fob is acting up? Keep reading to learn more!

subaru key fob not working

Subaru Key Fob Not Working – What To Do

As with many modern vehicle manufacturers, Subaru is one of these vehicles that feature a remote keyless entry system. However, when your key fob does not work in opening your vehicle, you may be wondering what you can do. 

Thankfully, there are a handful of techniques you can try. One is to use a spare key fob, and you can also get your mechanical key as an alternative to your key fob. Sometimes, using the Starlink app can prove to be useful, too.

We will discuss these options further in the next sections.

Now, when you have a functioning key fob, you should not encounter any problem with unlocking or locking your vehicle. But it may fail because of a number of reasons. The most common is having dead or weak batteries. This is why it helps to use a spare key, which dealers provide you when you buy your vehicle. What this does is to give you an option to still enter your vehicle when your other key fob is not working.

But if you have no spare key fob, the next thing to do is get one and have it programmed at the dealership. There are also aftermarket key fobs that you can find online that should work once these are programmed to work with your vehicle.

Now, a mechanical key is another choice to consider. But do keep in mind that it still depends on the age and model of your Subaru car. You may either have a completely-integrated smart key or a remote and key combination. But regardless, you should still have one mechanical key.

In the case of a keyed type of ignition system, you should be able to use a physical key for opening your door and starting your engine. But this is not an option for a push-button ignition with other Subaru models, which is mostly done with a mechanical key.

When you have a push-button ignition type of Subaru, the key fob is what you use to start or stop the vehicle. 

It is worth noting the Subaru has come up with a keyless access feature that includes a PIN access function. This is usually in higher end models manufactured from 2013 onwards.

To know if your Subaru has this feature, simply check your owner’s manual. From there, you should be able to know right away if you can get a PIN access.

Start by disabling your keyless access system. You can do this when you open the driver’s side door and then push your door lock button and put it into the “lock” place.

On the key fob, you need to press and hold the button that says “lock” and “trunk”. Do this for a few seconds until there is an audible chirp sound from your vehicle. Next, go to the tailgate or rear hatch. 

Then, press and hold the lock on your key fob followed by the lock button on the rear hatch. When you hear a chirp sound, you can now press unlock on the key fob.

By doing these, you should be able to program the 5-digit PIN access code. You can do this via the lock button on your rear hatch. A single press on the lock at the rear hatch should enter 1 and two presses will enter 2.

Afterwards, the number of these consecutive presses on the button will automatically enter the single digits of the 5-digit PIN code. When you have finished entering the PIN code, there will be several chirping sounds from your vehicle. This means that you have done this step correctly. 

Then, re-enter the code, which allows the door locks to cycle. At this point, you should have finished setting your PIN access code.

We would also like to add another option when you have a defective key fob. Sometimes, using the Subaru Starlink app can help if you want to unlock the car. You can use this app from your tablet or phone. 

Important Points To Keep In Mind

There are a few things to note if you want to know if your key fob is faulty. For instance, the transmitter may be having issues, which is your app or your key fob. Or, you may have problems with the receiver or the RKE module, and even the car component that you control. 

To determine if the key fob is the issue, you may want to test it by using the spare key fob. In case the key fob works just fine, then you can rule out the possibility that it is a key fob concern. 

But make it a point to use fresh batteries prior to testing the key fob since it may also be a battery problem. 

Now, you can also use your radio frequency remote tester as a tool for checking the proper transmission of signal of the Subaru key fob. But if you have no remote tester, then a smart TV can be useful. It lets you determine the transmitter’s frequency of your key fob.

Read More: Learn More About Subaru PZEV Problems


A Subaru key fob not working can be quite an inconvenient thing to deal with. However, it helps to know what the cause of the problem is, so you can address it appropriately. We hope this post has been helpful in providing some solutions for your particular concern.

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