It can be expensive to get an auto dealer to program your key fob for you. It would be so much easier if you could just program a new key fob yourself.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee does not come with self-programming capabilities. In order to program a new key fob, either a third-party key fob programmer must be used or the vehicle must be taken to a Jeep dealer or automotive locksmith. This is an anti-theft measure taken by the manufacturer.
It is an unfortunate fact that there simply is no way to program your new key fob on your own on any Jeep Grand Cherokee built after 2010. Even vehicles manufactured before that require some expertise to program. Here’s what you need to know.
What Other Websites Say
There are a lot of websites out there that give cheat-code-like instructions that will supposedly program a new key fob to your car using nothing but the original key. This is also a common genre of video on YouTube. If you have a Jeep Grand Cherokee, you may have noticed that this doesn’t actually work.
We’re not sure why people keep saying that this will do anything, but there’s no reason to believe that this would be possible. The actual manual for the Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn’t mention any such methods, and experts agree that the manufacturer didn’t include that functionality in the vehicle.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s completely impossible to program a new key fob on your own, it just means that in order to do so you’ll need to buy expensive aftermarket parts and follow the same convoluted steps that they would at the locksmiths. There is no way out of this.
In case you’re still holding on to the hope that these codes might have the answer, just take a look at any two of them. Pretty much none of them match! If there was some consensus between the websites that offer this knowledge then they might have something going for them, but looking at all of them feels a lot more like asking a bunch of elementary school students how to cheat in a video game than it does getting advice from a professional.
If you’re trying to figure out anything about a car, the ultimate authority is that car’s user manual, and if the user manual doesn’t mention a way to program new key fobs on your own then it is often impossible to do.
And the aftermarket devices will only work on models from 2008-2013. This is because they take advantage of a gap in the vehicle’s security system that was fixed starting with the 2014 model. Unless you know a lot about cars and computers, these devices will likely be extremely limited in their functionality and not really worth the money to purchase.
What to Bring to The Locksmith
So you’ll need to visit a locksmith if you want a new key. What will you need to bring with you to make this happen?
The first thing you’ll need is an actual key. Getting the key cut at the locksmith’s will probably be pretty expensive, and while buying a third-party version off of eBay might be a lot riskier it should still end up saving you some money. As for the blade, as long as you have the original you should be able to get a new one cut at a local hardware store.
The next thing you’ll need is proof of identity and ownership of the car. For legal reasons, in order for a locksmith or dealership to work on your vehicle, they need to be able to prove that it’s your vehicle. You probably keep the required materials in your glove box, so that should be easy enough.
The person programming your new key will need to have access to the car and the keys being programmed. They’ll also need to have the individual code for your car. They can get this using your ID and proof of ownership, and they change rather frequently on modern vehicles so there isn’t much use in bringing it with you.
Should You Take Your New Key to a Locksmith or The Dealer?
When it’s time to get your new key programmed, you’ll need to choose between bringing it to a locksmith and bringing it to the dealer you bought your car from. Both should be able to do the job just fine, so the biggest difference between the two will be the price.
The better option is usually going to be a locksmith. Locksmiths are likely to be a bit cheaper than dealers, and can even make the new keys for you if you don’t want to bring your own. More importantly, some locksmiths may be able to come to you with the new key, since they can often afford to be mobile. This is especially important if you don’t have any keys to your car.
When to Program a New Fob
You will need to program a new key fob any time that you get a new key, sure. But you may also need to program a new fob if your old one has run out of batteries as well. This is because the battery is the thing that allows the fob to store its memory of the car that it works on, so running out of battery can cause it to lose that memory.
If your key fob does run out of batteries, make sure to get the new one from Jeep. The owner’s manual warns that third-party watch batteries often don’t fit in the specialized key fobs made for Jeep vehicles. Trying to use one won’t work at best and might damage the key fob at worst.
It’s disappointing to learn that Grand Cherokee key fobs can’t be easily reprogrammed by vehicle owners. There’s probably some compromise that Jeep could institute to allow owners to save money while preventing auto thieves from being able to easily mint new keys. The onus is on Jeep to make this change, and all consumers can do is tell them that it’s a change they want.