How to Program an Automobile Remote Door Lock Opener

by Paul Dohrman

A car remote door lock opener, or keyless entry remote, must be recognized by your car's computer as authorized to gain access to your car. Therefore, the remote must be programmed to work correctly. Dealerships can charge as much as $100 per lock for this service, but you may be able to find instructions to do it yourself and save yourself this charge. Unfortunately, no small set of do-it-yourself instructions will program most keyless entry remotes. Chevy alone has 16 different sets of programming instructions, none of which can be substituted for each other.

Check your owner's manual for programming instructions. If you've misplaced your manual, proceed to the next step.

Look up your car at the Program Your Remote website (see References section). This is the best online source for keyless programming instructions. The site has almost three dozen makes, broken down further by model and year. The site's navigation is self-explanatory.

Find your missing car manual on the Owners Manual Source website (see References section). This repository of manuals also breaks down by make, model and year. The online version of your manual might have the programming instructions.

Phone various dealerships to see if you can get free instructions over the phone. This would be a last-ditch effort to avoid having to pay a dealer for the programming service. Since you're just making phone calls, you aren't restricted to your local area. In fact, your distance from a particular dealership may negate a dealer's incentive to rope you into the dealership for the service and free him to give up the instructions.


  • check If the above doesn't work for you and you want to search for instructions online yourself, helpful keywords are "keyless," "program" and your car's model name.


  • close Some automobile makes--Mercedes and Hyundai, for example--do not have instructions the car owner can use to program the remote. In these cases, the programming service must be purchased from a dealership.

About the Author

Paul Dohrman's academic background is in physics and economics. He has professional experience as an educator, mortgage consultant, and casualty actuary. His interests include development economics, technology-based charities, and angel investing.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera keyless remote image by Ray Kasprzak from