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Go Keyless with a Remote-Entry System

DIY, Exterior, Interior  /   /  By Gary Lieber

Metal car keys are a thing of the past. Most of today’s new cars come with a programmable (and readable) fob that allows you to enter the car without a key and to access a range of desirable remote features. If your vehicle is currently relying on an old-school key, there’s no reason to be left behind. eBay Motors offers a wide variety of keyless-entry upgrade kits with features to fit every model and budget.

Shopping for Fobs

A basic keyless entry system will lock and unlock your ride.

Out with the key and in with a fob. A basic keyless-entry system will lock and unlock your doors.

A basic keyless-entry system consists of key-fob transmitters and a control unit that’s wired to your vehicle’s electrical system. The key fobs can be configured to open one or all of the doors with a push of a button. Multi-door key fobs are more convenient for unlocking all the doors, while the single-door setting is considered safer. Most systems also include the ability to open the trunk. These key fobs and their control unit also have a panic button to make a vehicle’s horn blast and flash the emergency lights.

It’s important to select a keyless-entry system that’s compatible with your vehicle. Every manufacturer has a slightly different technical configuration. Compatibility is especially important for cars and trucks with anti-theft systems, so the transponder can bypass the necessary controls and not inadvertently set off the alarm.

If your vehicle has power doors and trunk locks, then the keyless system will connect to the existing controls. But owners of vehicles without power doors should select a system that includes power solenoids for popping the locks.

Keyless Entry-System Upgrades

Remote starting is a popular addition to keyless entry systems.

Remote starting is a popular addition to keyless entry systems.

A keyless system adds convenience to getting in and out of the vehicle, but it’s only the beginning of the available desirable features when you take a step up to a fob. An upgrade is a perfect time to consider an alarm system that blocks the vehicle from starting if the doors or opened without the key fob. In that event, the system will trigger a dedicated siren.

Remote starting is also a popular upgrade with keyless entry. This option is useful in very cold or hot climates. It allows you to remotely start your vehicle—and heat or cool the interior before you get in.

Smartphone integration allows control of your car from a distance.

Smartphone integration allows control of your car from a distance.

If you want to be extremely high-tech, look for a system with smartphone compatibility. With these units, you can control all of the features of your keyless entry system via your phone and a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or cellular connection. The remote smartphone functionality can provide peace of mind when, for example, you fly off to another city and can’t remember if you locked your car left in the airport parking lot. Moreover, these systems can show you where you parked your ride. If your car is stolen, the system can reveal its location and disable the ignition.

Keyless-entry systems available on eBay Motors allow you to mix and match these features based on price, as well as the level of difficulty for installation.

Installing the System

If you have electrical skills, it’s relatively easy to install a remote entry system.

If you have electrical skills, it’s relatively easy to install a remote entry system.

A DIY installation of a keyless-entry system is not for everybody. The tasks are moderately difficult, requiring a level of knowledge and comfort with automotive electrical wiring. At the least, you need to understand the workings of ignition, lighting, and power locks—and have confidence in cutting and splicing wires. If your vehicle lacks power locks, you will need to remove the interior door panels to install door-lock solenoids.

Fortunately, high-quality systems will offer detailed step-by-step installation instructions. Don’t be concerned if you are not up to the task of installing the system. Hiring a professional installer can be affordable—in the neighborhood of between $150 and $300 depending on the number of features.

About the Author

Gary Lieber is a regular contributor to the eBay Motors Blog, Clean Fleet Reports,, and He likes to modify his cars by adding features that are unique to the marque. His Porsche 911 is a multiple Concours winner including Top 911 at Porsche Parade in 2005 and 2015. His Volkswagen GTI has been tricked out with engine management upgrades and style enhancements not commonly available on this side of the pond.

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