Average Key Fob Battery Lifespan

key fob battery lifespan

The average key fob battery lifespan is four to six years. Those figures fall to 2 – 3 years for smart key fobs. At the very least, a regular key fob should remain in operation for three years before forcing you to replace the battery.

It is worth noting that modern batteries have expiry dates. The battery in question will continue to work after exceeding the expiry date. However, its performance will deteriorate. You’re better off replacing the battery before it crosses the expiry date.

Average Lifespan Of Different Types Of Key Fob Batteries

When you go hunting for key fob batteries, your retailer of choice will most likely offer you one of the following:

  • CR2016
  • CR2032
  • CR2450
  • CR1616

However, if they ask you to specify a type, your options will include:

  • Lithium Ion – Lithium-ion batteries are renowned for their extended lifespans and ability to perform admirably in extreme temperatures.
  • Alkaline – People that can’t afford lithium-ion opt for alkaline batteries because they are the cheapest option.
  • Silver oxide – This type stands out because the battery’s voltage output is stable, only falling off at the end. Y. Huot (Encyclopedia of Electrochemical Power Sources) associates this battery type with a low life cycle and poor performance when temperatures dip.

Lithium-ion batteries are attractive because of their impressive lifespan, capable of lasting fifteen years. However, you should expect a lithium-ion battery to last 4 – 6 years in a key fob. The same is true for an alkaline battery.

The battery type won’t make a significant difference if your habits and the environmental factors are the same.

Factors Affecting Key Fob Battery Lifespan

How come some batteries last longer than others? You can blame the following factors. They shape a key fob battery’s lifespan:

1). Battery Capacity

Key fob batteries are similar to conventional batteries. Some of them have a higher capacity than others. For instance, a CR2450 will last longer than its CR2032 counterpart because it has a higher charge capacity.

The battery’s packaging usually mentions the capacity. Common sense will tell you to prioritize batteries with the highest capacity. But that isn’t always an option. Some coin batteries are too wide and thick to fit in the fob.

2). Range

Have you noticed that some people can open their cars remotely from a hundred feet away while others must come within ten feet of the vehicle to use the key fob? The more powerful the remote, the more battery power it will consume.

Think about the key fobs that can operate a window with the push of a button. In many cases, you must hold the button down for several seconds as the window sinks into the door. You can’t expect such a key fob battery to last ten years.

3). Frequency Of Use

The more use a key fob gets, the faster the battery will drain.

Keep in mind that some fobs become active once you come within ten feet of the vehicle. They will remain in continuous communication with the car, gradually draining the battery.

This is why consumers are discouraged from keeping the key fob within the vehicle’s vicinity.

4). Battery Quality

Coin batteries are inexpensive because they are easily accessible. You can find them in every store. However, there’s a reason why contributors to this Kuga Owners Club discussion encourage drivers to buy Duracell, Energizer, and other reputable brands. The higher the battery quality, the longer it will last.

5). Temperature

One study in Scientific Reports (Feng Leng, Michael Pecht, Cher Ming Tan) found that high temperatures increase a lithium-ion battery’s maximum storage capacity. You get more chemical reactions at a faster rate, which sounds like a good thing. However, the battery’s lifecycle decreases in the process.

At the highest temperatures, the battery’s performance will deteriorate. Don’t be surprised if the battery fails altogether. This is why storing a key fob in direct sunlight is a bad idea.

Key Fob Battery Lifespan In Extreme Weather Conditions

  • Batteries can remain in operation at temperatures ranging between -40 degrees F and 122 degrees F.
  • Low temperatures can affect the chemical composition. You get a lower capacity and performance during normal usage.
  • High temperatures are more likely to increase the capacity while reducing the lifespan. According to Intercel, the battery life falls by half for every 15-degree F increment once you exceed 77 degrees F.

Impact Of Key Fob Features On Battery Lifespan

The features are the most important factor affecting a battery’s lifespan. Remember that batteries in a traditional key fob last four to six years, while smart key fob batteries have a lifespan of two to three years.

The more functions a manufacturer adds to a key fob, the faster the battery will drain. A key fob that opens and closes a car door can easily last ten or more years. But if your key fob can open the door, lower the windows, start the car, make phone calls, and the like, don’t be surprised if the battery drains within one or two years.

Key Fob Battery Voltage And Its Relation To Lifespan

A higher voltage means that a key fob has more power at its disposal. It can perform more functions while using less current. You could argue that key fobs that require a higher voltage will lower the battery’s lifespan because of the strain they exert.

However, you won’t find a direct correlation between the battery’s voltage and its lifespan. The lifespan depends on factors such as the temperature, frequency of use, and the number of functions at the key fob’s disposal.

Signs Of A Dying Key Fob Battery

  • The range will reduce. You must get closer than usual for the vehicle to detect the key fob.
  • The car doesn’t respond immediately. It may force you to press the buttons multiple times or hold them down for an extended period before you get a response.
  • Even when the car responds, the responses are delayed.

Eventually, the key fob will stop working altogether. But what if the fault lies with the fob, not the battery? One assumes that you have spare keys. Move the battery from the primary fob to the spare fob. If the second key fob works, the primary key fob is at fault.

You can also test the battery with a multimeter. You don’t want to replace the battery when your key has reached the end of its lifespan.

Battery Testing Methods To Determine The Remaining Lifespan Of A Key Fob Battery

Multimeters can tell you whether a battery is healthy, dying, or dead. But they won’t reveal the remaining lifespan. Your best option is an ohmic test. Although, laypeople find it easier to rely on the expiry date marked on the battery.

Tips For Maximizing Key Fob Battery Lifespan

  • Buy high-quality batteries from reputable brands. While they cost more money, they will also last longer. Ask the manufacturer to recommend a suitable brand whenever you replace a battery.
  • Keep the key fob away from wet and humid conditions. Store it in a dry location.
  • Keep the key away from extreme temperatures.
  • Clean key fobs with dirty or corroded contact points.
  • Don’t store the fob near the car. The passive RFID chip will continuously talk to the vehicle.
  • Don’t press the buttons for longer than necessary.

Proper Storage Of Spare Key Fob Batteries To Extend Their Lifespan

  • Make sure the battery in a spare key fob is inserted correctly. Connect each end to the correct terminal.
  • Keep the terminals and surfaces in the spare key fob clean.
  • It is safer to keep the batteries outside the key fob, especially if you don’t intend to use the spare key fob for a long time.
  • Place spare batteries in a cool, dry location away from extreme sources of heat or cold.
  • Don’t keep the batteries in close proximity to metallic objects, especially those with sharp edges.
  • Don’t recharge disposable batteries.
  • Don’t keep batteries in metal containers.
  • Don’t use airtight containers.
  • Don’t store these batteries outside.
  • Battery recycling encourages consumers to tape button cell batteries to prevent short circuits. It includes a picture that shows how this process works.

Battery Conservation Techniques To Extend Key Fob Battery Life

  • You can drain the battery by keeping it close to the vehicle. But if you can’t increase the distance between the key fob and the car, wrap the key fob in aluminum foil to block the signal when you’re not using it.
  • You can also invest in an RFID bag. It prevents the key from talking to the car, even in close proximity.
  • If the fob offers the option, turn it off when you don’t need it.
  • Keep the key fob in a cool, dry location. Avoid extreme temperatures

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