Ford Explorer & Keys: 12 Questions Answered (For Newbies)

The Ford Explorer has been around for three decades.

Over the years, the Explorer has matured into a sophisticated SUV with innovative tech, improved safety features and exceptional styling and comfort. 

This article discusses the key fob of the Ford Explorer.

Ford Explorer Key fob Buttons, Functions and Tricks

The fob of the Explorer is similar to other fobs made by Ford. Its key fob has a mechanical key that can be used to unlock the doors in cases of emergencies (like a dead fob battery).

The fob functions as the requirement to start your car’s engine. This means for your ‘push button’ to work, the fob needs to be in the car.

It can also be used to recognize your Explorer at night or at a large gathering where there are several cars, such as a mega store parking lot. Simply press the ‘lock’ button twice. It would cause your car horn to sound and flash your car’s lights.

The ‘panic’ button, usually represented by a sound icon, can be used to activate or deactivate your Explorer’s alarm system.

A 2X button represents the ‘remote start’ button with an arrow encircling it. This allows you to start your car even when you’re not in it. Simply lock your car, then press the remote start button twice.

Let’s say you’re done warming up your Explorer and want to ‘remote stop’ it. Simply press the ‘remote start’ button once.

How Much Does an Extra Key Cost?

An extra Explorer key costs between $50 to $380.

You can buy the key online then have it programmed for your car. Or you may simply get it from the dealer, that usually includes the cumulative programming costs.

The dealer might be the cheapest alternative (usually cheaper than a locksmith. However, the dealer may require stricter processes.

Buying the key online and taking it to a locksmith to be programmed separates the costs, which means separate negotiations and transactions.

Overall, you shouldn’t be on the high side of the range if you don’t use the latest models. Your location and the availability of your key code can also affect the cost.

My Explorer Car Key Is Not Detected

The “key not detected” message comes up if your car cannot read your key. It also pops up if your Explorer doesn’t recognize your key at all.

Most times, you only need to replace the battery. That’s because a dead battery is the most common culprit for the message.

Meanwhile, place your fob in the cup holder and press the ‘push start’ button to get your engine alive.

Other reasons include signal interference by network infrastructure, such as phone masts or another key fob (may cause the car to attempt reading both fobs).

Which Batteries Do Ford Explorer Keys Use?

The 2011 to 2016 Explorer fobs use the CR2032 3 Volt Lithium ion coin cell battery. The 2016 model year may also use the CR2025 battery.

In the 2017 model year, some fobs use the CR2025 battery while others use the CR2032 battery.

Starting from the 2018 model years, the fobs make use of the CR2450 battery. There may be variations in a single year, as seen in the 2016 and 2017 model years.

The higher up your model, the better the battery that its fob uses.

While many people use these fob batteries interchangeably, it’s better to use the default battery that came with the fob.

Click here for the best deals on Ford Explorer key batteries on Amazon.

Can You Change the Key Battery Yourself? (Dead Key)

You can, though the battery replacement method won’t always be the same. This is because there are many variations of fobs, and even the remote head key uses a battery.

You can take out time to play with your fob to understand it better and see the exact battery placement. Most fobs would first require a release of the metal key after sliding the release button.

You can use the metal key to pop open the fob. Then take out the old battery and put in the new one.

Next, put both pieces of the fob back together and slide your key back in.

Other fobs have another layer which would need to be opened and probably require two batteries, not one. This is also a simple process and doesn’t require professional help.

Also read our article about Ford Explorer and lights.

What to Do When Key Is Stuck in the Ignition?

A locked steering wheel is the likely cause of this problem. To release your key, turn and hold it in the direction it is locked in and wiggle your key out of the ignition.

You should also check that the transmission is in Park, otherwise your key will be stuck in the ignition.

Some keys remain stuck even when you set the transmission to Park. It may be because of a wrong alignment of the ignition cylinder pins.

Popular Key fob Covers

Here is a list of popular Ford Explorer key fob covers:

  • The Alegender rubber key fob cover
  • RLFEARL Carbon Fiber Fob Cover
  • Ritimsso retro leather key fob cover

Check here for quality and affordable Ford Explorer key fob covers on Amazon.

How to Find Key Codes for Lost Keys

Your key code should be available in your car’s documents. It is usually an alphanumeric code that you need when replacing your key. It gives the locksmith the direction and specification required to cut you a new key before programming it.

The code wouldn’t be useful if the ignition isn’t the original one installed by the manufacturer.

A dealer or locksmith can help you find your key code whether the ignition is the original or a replacement.

Make sure to also read our article about the Ford Explorer in snow and winter driving.

What to Do If the Key Won’t Turn?

Foremost, make sure your car battery has a charge. A dead car battery can cause your key to get stuck (electrical problem).

People tend to forget mentioning the ignition lock cylinder. Your key may not turn simply because the ignition cylinder is damaged and may need to be replaced.

Make sure it is not because of a steering wheel or transmission lock.

Many people are only concerned with solving their immediate problems. We recommend that after you’ve temporarily bypassed the problem, call your locksmith to have it checked.

The chances are, if it happened before, there’s a likelihood that it will happen again.

My Key Won’t Go in the Ignition

The cause of this problem may be a bent, broken or wrong key. Make sure you’re using the correct key for the correct car. You may mix up your keys if you have two or more cars.

A bent or broken key must be replaced, even if it works occasionally. Continuous usage may further complicate the problems.

Massive temperature differentials which can cause swelling and shrinkage may also affect your key. You should also get it replaced.

Your ignition cylinder may be bad or rusted. That would also require a change. Nevertheless, talk to your locksmith.

Please also read our article about how long the Ford Explorer lasts.

What to Do If Keys Are Locked Inside a Ford Explorer?

In cases of emergencies, the fire service can get it open for you. In normal situations, call your locksmith to open the vehicle.

In the future, make sure you have a spare key at home or somewhere else at all times. Also make sure you download the FordPass app. The app helps you unlock the car without your key fob.

Modern Explorer fobs can’t get locked in the car.

The car senses the fob inside and unlocks itself once you touch the door handle.

Ford Explorer MyKey Explained

The MyKey feature helps people keep track of the driving behavior of their kids or inexperienced drivers. It reminds younger or new drivers to drive safely when they are alone.

If you want your teen to use a MyKey, you first have to set it. This means one key would have to serve as an administrative key, which can be used to clear the MyKey settings.

Go to ‘Menu’ then ‘Settings’ then ‘MyKey’. Select ‘Create MyKey’ and hold ‘Okay’.

You can set several limits, including traction control, maximum speed and speed warnings. The warnings remind drivers using the MyKey to drive safely when they approach certain speeds.

When they use the MyKey, the seatbelts have to be buckled up before the car’s audio can function.

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