A cold key fob is an unhappy key fob - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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A cold key fob is an unhappy key fob

Here is an interesting one I haven't run into before with other brands.


My wife went for her morning run this morning with her keys in her pocket, when it was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit out. When she got back to her Pacifica, it would not unlock, either by using the button on the door or by the buttons on the remote (none of the buttons worked). She used the key insert from the fob to unlock the door, which of course set off the alarm. Once she was inside the van, she was able to start the van and drive home, by which time the remote was warm enough to operate. Assuming that the van would warn if the battery in the remote is low on power, she did not see any warning.


Without getting lost in terminology, it seems like the transmitter portion of the fob didn't like the cold, while the ignition interlock did recognize the chip in the fob to start the van? Which system controls the touch auto unlock, or allows the button on the handle to work?


Has anyone else encountered this? It would suck to be stuck out in the cold like this if you didn't know the cause.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 11:14 AM
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Interesting. I keep my keys in the fridge and haven't had any issue at all. Supposedly the keys in the fridge blocks the signal so miscreants can't use a repeater/signal amplifier to open up the van.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 11:48 AM
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I have not experienced this. Running in 20F weather is not on my agenda. Here's my thoughts on the problem your wife experienced.

The remote transmitter, not the proximity chip, controls the door handle buttons. (You probably suspected this!)

I would think the fob "plan B" physical key would would disable the alarm. That is something Chrysler needs to fix.

20F is pretty cold. I don't know the operating specs of the fob. Here is a copy and paste sentence from a Wikipedia article on key fobs:
"Most smart key batteries are temperature sensitive causing the fob to become intermittent, fully functional, or inoperative all in the same day."
No specific temperature is mentioned in the article.

Try the other fob and/or change the battery.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by salyers890 View Post
Interesting. I keep my keys in the fridge and haven't had any issue at all. Supposedly the keys in the fridge blocks the signal so miscreants can't use a repeater/signal amplifier to open up the van.
Your fridge is 38-49F. I keep beer and stuff there, not keys!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salyers890 View Post
Interesting. I keep my keys in the fridge and haven't had any issue at all. Supposedly the keys in the fridge blocks the signal so miscreants can't use a repeater/signal amplifier to open up the van.
My in-laws just had their mistubishi mirage stolen from their driveway in Chicago that way. They just got in and drove off like they had their own key fob.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 01:27 PM
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Generally it’s best to start with the simple stuff. Lithium batteries lose a lot of their power at low temperatures. Quite possibly you have a marginal battery in the key fob that will not trigger a low battery warning at room temperature, but is too low to function at 20 degrees. (We’re talking Fahrenheit here, right? &#128512 directions should be in the owners manual, and without looking I bet it takes a cr2032, cheap and widely available.

If you want to invest some time troubleshooting, put the key in the freezer and see if it replicates the problem. Then c(angel the battery and see if it’s cured.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salyers890 View Post
Interesting. I keep my keys in the fridge and haven't had any issue at all. Supposedly the keys in the fridge blocks the signal so miscreants can't use a repeater/signal amplifier to open up the van.
Yes, a fridge or any metal box makes a good Faraday cage. The metal walls block the RF signal so the fob cannot be detected by the car. Using the fridge is a bit overkill, a tin box (like from holiday cookies) on the hallway table is more than sufficient.

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My in-laws just had their mistubishi mirage stolen from their driveway in Chicago that way. They just got in and drove off like they had their own key fob.
Yeah, it’s typically a two man operation. One stands near the house with a repeater to pick up and relay the actual key fob signal. The second is at the car with a receiver that rebroadcasts the signal. The car is happy to unlock and start because it looks as if the key fob is right there. Lots of videos of cars being stolen this way, mostly from Europe.

Trying hard to resist making wiseacre remarks about steal8ng a Mirage......
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 02:34 PM
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Trying hard to resist making wiseacre remarks about steal8ng a Mirage......


Thief on a budget! He/she jacked the most fuel efficient non hybrid car in the country.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 02:44 PM
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Auto theft on the rise in Toronto area, and a security expert thinks he knows why


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toron...sing-1.4930890


Shared via the CBC News Android App

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow5501 View Post
Yes, a fridge or any metal box makes a good Faraday cage. The metal walls block the RF signal so the fob cannot be detected by the car. Using the fridge is a bit overkill, a tin box (like from holiday cookies) on the hallway table is more than sufficient.



Yeah, it’s typically a two man operation. One stands near the house with a repeater to pick up and relay the actual key fob signal. The second is at the car with a receiver that rebroadcasts the signal. The car is happy to unlock and start because it looks as if the key fob is right there. Lots of videos of cars being stolen this way, mostly from Europe.

Trying hard to resist making wiseacre remarks about steal8ng a Mirage......
Should probably look into a repeater kit. Sounds like an awfully good zombie apocalypse tool to have in a bug out bag. Can you post or pm a link

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Uconnect® Theater with Streaming and Sound
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Delete Vacuum / Add Spare Tire
Front and Rear Splash Guards
Engine Block Heater
Lifetime Warranty w/ $100 Deductible


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