Starting A Dodge Durango Without The Key Fob: Is It Possible?

Imagine you’re leaving the grocery store with a cart full of groceries, but you arrive to your Durango and find that the key fob is dead. What a mess! Are you stranded? Or can you start your car without a key fob?

To unlock and start a Durango with a dead key fob: Flip the key fob over to reveal a small latch. Slide open the latch and pull on the end of the fob to remove a key, allowing you to unlock the door. With your foot on the brake, hold the fob over the ‘Start’ button and press it with the fob.

So, there’s no need to panic if you’re stranded with a dead Durango key fob. Luckily, this problem has an easy solution. Let’s take a closer look at everything you can do to start your Durango without a key fob.

Can You Start a Dodge Durango With a Dead Key Fob?

Dodge Durango

If your key fob has died, don’t worry. Dodge wouldn’t leave you completely stranded like that! The Dodge Durango key fob has a hidden key inside that allows you to unlock the door even if the battery dies.

Here’s how:

  1. Flip the key fob over and find the small, textured latch or button. It should be located near the top, beneath the logo, and close to the keychain-end of the key fob.
  2. Slide the latch or button to the side with your fingernail. Pull on the keychain-end of the key to remove a small, silver analog key.

Once you remove the key, you can use it to manually unlock the door. Afterward, you can open the rest of the doors using the Durango’s buttons. But you’re not out of the weeds just yet; you’ll still need to actually start your Durango.

How to Start a Dodge Durango With a Dead Key Fob

What good does unlocking the car door do if you can’t start the vehicle? Fortunately, the key fob includes a chip that the ignition can detect even if the battery’s dead. Here’s how:

  1. Once inside your vehicle, put your foot on the brake pedal.
  2. Place the key fob over the ‘Start’ button.
  3. Press the ‘Start’ button with the key fob to start the Durango. Your car should recognize the chip and work as usual.

Once your vehicle starts, you can continue with your day. That said, it’s best to put the silver key back inside the fob for safe keeping. Afterward, purchase a new CR2032 battery (on Amazon) as soon as possible.

You can use this trick as long as you need to until you find a replacement battery or key fob.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Key Fob?

All key fobs require programming to work and to prevent vehicle theft, but they come in different levels of complexity.

A basic key fob replacement can range in price from $50 to over $100, depending on the manufacturer and complexity. Some dealerships will program a key fob for free, while others charge additional labor fees.

But what about keyless entry systems like the one on the Dodge Durango?

Keyless entries, or “smart keys,” are more complex and allow you to start the engine with the click of a button. Depending on the vehicle, key fobs are more expensive and can cost between $220 to over $500 each.

Replacements typically need to be bought at the dealer or from a verified factory reseller.

Can You Use a Physical Key in a Dodge Durango?

A physical key might work in your Dodge Durango, depending on the make and year. Most Durangos allow you to start the vehicle with a dead key fob by using the internal chip, as we described above. You can simply place the fob over the ignition and press the ‘Start‘ button to turn on the engine.

That said, some keyless entry vehicles include a key slot underneath the Start button or a plastic cap on the steering column. You can take off the plastic top and reveal a slot for a physical key.

Your Durango may or may not have this feature. Inspect your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for the most accurate information available.

What to Do if Your Key Fob Isn’t Detected

Dodge Durango Parked near Palm Trees

Sometimes, the Dodge Durango can display ‘Key Fob Not Detected’ when you try to start your vehicle. This error code can be because the battery is dead or for another reason. Let’s look at what you can do if you encounter this issue.

Start the Vehicle With the Key Fob

As we mentioned earlier, you can start the Dodge Durango with a dead key fob. You can use this trick even if your Durango displays “Key Fob Not Detected.” Simply follow the instructions provided earlier to resolve the issue.

Enable or Pair Your Key Fob

The fob should be paired to your Durango, but there are instances where the vehicle won’t recognize it. In these situations, you’ll encounter the “Key Fob Not Detected” error.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Enter your Dodge Durango and lock the door with your key fob within 10 seconds.
  2. Hold down the ‘UNLOCK’ button, put your key in the ignition, and start the car.
  3. Now, hold the ‘UNLOCK’ button and the ‘PANIC’ button simultaneously. Release them at the same time as well.
  4. Click ‘UNLOCK’ once more.
  5. Test to see if your Durango recognizes the key fob by exiting the car, locking it, and then attempting to unlock it with the fob.

Your key fob is successfully paired if it unlocks the car. Otherwise, you might need to call the dealer, a locksmith, or a repair tech for additional assistance.

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