How can I extend the range of my keyless entry remote, or buy a new one?
February 28, 2007 4:39 PM   Subscribe

How can I extend the range of my car's keyless entry? Or what should I buy that has a longer range?

I have a ford focus which I bought with a keyless entry built in. However, both remotes are short range, and I am one of those people who can't find their car without a long range keyless entry.

I possibly want to buy a keyless entry remote that is longer range, but it seems like they all need a lot of installation invovling cutting wires and such. Do I need to do that even though I already have a keyless entry setup? Will my current setup be replaced? If I can just "add" the remote on, like the car manual says, that would be great, but where can I buy a keyless entry system that is just the remote and not the "installation kit and video"?
posted by lpctstr; to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Put the fob up underneath your chin and open your mouth about halfway, then bleep the button.

Sounds stupid, I know, but it increases the range quite significantly.
Works well on remotes with dying batteries so I don't see why it wouldn't work on a new remote.
posted by madajb at 4:47 PM on February 28, 2007

Hi, I'm already doing that and I only get about 50 feet. The remotes are brand new. I'm mainly looking at getting a "long long range" remote at the moment.

I had a rental car once where I had parked in a different lot on the next street over, and using my rental car's remote was able to beep it in the other lot. Very useful!
posted by lpctstr; at 4:49 PM on February 28, 2007

You have probably already searched it, but I came across this. I was surprised to read that madajb's under the chin suggestion was included there as well. My other tip would be to make sure you don't park your car in a faraday cage.

Why the need for keyless entry from so far away? The question. . . it seems to beg itself.
posted by isopraxis at 5:01 PM on February 28, 2007

Why the need for keyless entry from so far away?

Submitter answered that in the original question: "I am one of those people who can't find their car without a long range keyless entry." (i.e. using the beep sound for purposes of echolocation)
posted by knave at 5:06 PM on February 28, 2007

Funny, that part didn't come across in the braille the first time.
posted by isopraxis at 5:29 PM on February 28, 2007

There must be a recieving antenna somewhere in the car. Perhaps the dealer can locate it and extend the antenna wiring to help.

On my VW the antenna for the remote is behind the rear seat. I tapped another wire onto it and that improved the range.
posted by pgoes at 5:51 PM on February 28, 2007

It's a radio.

Several things improve range. One is additional transmitter power; another is receiver sensitivity. (It's collectively called link budget.)

If you can find your RKE antenna, you can experiment with getting it some additional exposure. That means moving it to the top of the car... It will be most sensitive when it is most visible, more or less. It'll take some doing.

If you can boost your transmitter power, that'll help a little. Can't provide too much in the way of smarts here, without knowledge of your unit, but if it runs on a 3 V lithium button cell, you might be able to run it on a 3.6V lithium chloride lithium chloride cell and get more output power.

You can also experiment with the transmitter antenna. Orientation is important, though not so much with the modulation format used in the RKE stuff. Find the maximum range you can achieve with the fob held horizontally. Move another 20 feet away and try different orientations to see if it works better/worse.

Hold the unit as high as possible when activating it to increase the chances of getting a line of sight signal exposure.

Failing all that, put a big ass antenna on your car and mount a tennis ball to the top.
posted by FauxScot at 6:17 PM on February 28, 2007

Perhaps it would be simpler and cheaper to carry a notepad and write down where you park?
posted by IndigoRain at 2:53 PM on March 1, 2007

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