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What Is A Key Fob And Why Is It Important?

Most modern vehicles come equipped with a key fob instead of a traditional key. A key fob is an electronic device that allows you to lock and unlock your vehicle without using the physical key. Depending on your vehicle and its equipment, your key fob can serve a variety of other functions. This includes opening your trunk or remote starting your vehicle. If your vehicle has a push to start system, the key fob is the transmitter that allows you to start the vehicle with the key nearby.

What Does A Key Fob Look Like?

OEM vw key fob

Key fobs are a few inches long and a few inches wide. A majority of Volkswagen key fobs contain 4 to 5 buttons. But, this can vary depending on your vehicle's equipment.

The buttons are:

  • Unlock button
  • Lock button
  • Trunk release button
  • Panic button
  • Remote Engine Start (If equipped)

On older vehicles, a key fob is a separate unit from the physical key. Modern key fobs are a single unit design that still contains a physical key concealed inside the fob. This streamlined design is more practical while still delivering convenient technology. This also allows access into and out of the vehicle via the keyholes on the doors in the event of any malfunctions. If your Volkswagen key fob is not functioning, read more here.

How Does A Key Fob Work?

VW oem key fobs

Key fobs use radio technology to communicate with the specific vehicle's door lock mechanism. This system is called Radio Frequency Identification(RFID).

The three main RFID components are:

  • Radio transponder
  • Receiver
  • Transmitter

The key fob serves as the radio transmitter and the receiver unit is in the vehicle. The transponder is part of the vehicle's security system and immobilizer.

The key fobs range can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Typically, a person can be 50-75 feet away from the vehicle when they press a button on the key fob. It works most reliably if you’re within 20 feet of your vehicle.

The vehicle creates a unique code that it sends out into the airwaves along with a signal to indicate which specific car the signal belongs to. The key fob receives that code and then uses it to encrypt a message back to the car's receiver unit. If everything checks out, the receiver unit in the car unlocks the car's doors or performs another function as indicated by the fob.

How Secure Are Key Fobs?

VW key fob

The technology behind key fobs allows them to be relatively secure. The programming between a key fob and vehicle is unique to each unit. This means that your specific key fob is programmed to only perform functions for your vehicle. This erases any mixups when you find a duplicate of your vehicle at the supermarket.

Summing Up

Most modern Volkswagen vehicles come equipped with key fobs that allow you to perform a variety of vehicle functions via the remote. On more recent Volkswagen vehicles, the simple key fob is a main component in several convenience feature technologies such as keyless entry, keyless access and push-button start/stop. The technology is secure for how it works and can't be duplicated by anyone except you using your specific code.

Key fobs are powered by batteries, which need replacement every few years. To learn how to replace your key fob battery, read more here. The physical key fob unit should last the lifetime of the vehicle unless it has been broken or lost.

In the event that you need to replace your key fob, you can buy your replacement key fob unit from us. Simply look up your Volkswagen model here to find the right part. Then refer to this post on how to program your key.