Updated at: 29-07-2022 - By: Lucas

We realize that our car keys have been wet without recognizing it, and this happens frequently when we forget the keys in a pocket while we wash our clothes. A problem may arise if car keys are exposed to water, however there are remedies to this issue.

What happens to the car key if you wash it?

In order to respond to this query, we must first determine whether the automobile key in question has a chip or not. Today, the vast majority of keys contain a microchip. The keys without a chip were designed for vintage automobiles that are no longer on the road. It makes no difference whether or not you wash a key without a chip in this situation.

Water and detergent can’t get into the metal no chip key, which is why it’s so durable. It is impervious to even the most abrasive of weapons. It does not create any significant harm to the washing machine when it is present.

In contrast, washing a key with a chip can result in problems since water can harm the chip inside. There are a number of steps involved in reassembling the key after it has been dried. The oxidation poses the additional risk of necessitating a complete replacement of the chip. The combination of moisture and detergent is significantly more damaging to this type of key.

Problems that a car key with chip can have if it gets wet

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It’s possible that the automobile key is still usable after being washed. However, the detergent has a negative impact on this situation. What may happen to the owners:

  • A short circuit. Car windows can open and close without a reason.
  • A communication problem. The car ECU might not recognize the key and it will not start.
  • Other faults. Key buttons will not work anymore.

What to do when you wash your car key?

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  • Check the key to see the damage it has;
  • Find a way to disassemble the key and memorizing the steps you took;
  • Clean the chip board carefully and try not to harm anything there;
  • Dry all parts so that there is no moisture left. You can put the parts in a towel and the towel on a warm stove;
  • Check the key after the final build. All functions must work;
  • If the problems persist, you will need to replace the chip.

Let’s take a closer look at each of those steps.

To see if the key is damaged, press the buttons on the keychain to see if the lights come on. Even if you hear that there is water inside, the key will likely work as it did previously. However, the chances of recovery are slim if pushing the buttons yields nothing. To begin with, remove the detergent from the chipboard of the washing machine, since this might negatively affect critical functionality.

How to remove the chip from the car key?

Using a bright light, a variety of screwdrivers, a wire cutter, and other circuit-cleaning tools, you may remove the key’s chip.

Look at the key fob in the light and you’ll see where the chip is attached. If the case is cast, open the joints with a knife. Cut a piece of plastic with utmost care. Once you locate the screws, unscrew and remove the chip from the case, then separate the keyblade from its mechanism and remove the buttons.

How to clean the car key chipboard?

As soon as the game is over, you need to rapidly wipe out the board. Locate any areas where detergent is present, as it will oxidize if it comes into contact with it. However, it is critical that no harm be done.

  • Use sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. The product cleans well, but at the same time acts gently, neutralizes oxidation, and removes corrosion. For cleaning, take a cotton cloth moistened with ammonia. Then sprinkle the board with sodium bicarbonate or baking soda and carefully remove those spots.
  • Use isopropyl alcohol. It evaporates quickly enough. For use, it is diluted in water 50/50. Then, with a moistened cotton cloth, clean the areas.
  • Use distilled water for cleaning. Cleaning is done with a moistened cotton cloth.
  • Clean the board with a phosphate-free cleaner.

There are contaminants in tap water that might cause chemical reactions and oxidation, so don’t use it.

Drying all components

Drying time for all components is at least 12 hours. As a result, store the components in a warm location. Make sure you don’t overlook the rubber pushers hidden beneath the buttons. Pay close attention to what’s written on the board. It has to be dry. Drying should be done at a slow pace.

Car key chip replacement and costs

Replacement is necessary if the above measures fail, or if the chip’s damage is too great. After assembling and inspecting the product, you may discover that it has to be replaced.

In most circumstances, you’ll need to travel to the dealership and order a new key to replace the chip. A workshop that specializes in automobile key chips or electrical components may be more affordable, but the costs will be higher as a result. The key could be repaired at a lower cost.

The typical wait period at a car dealership is roughly a week. The cost of a replacement key may be reduced if the vehicle is still under warranty or is brand new.

Depending on the make and model of your car, the cost of a replacement key at a dealership can vary greatly. The price ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. If the repairmen at an electronics workshop are able to fix it, you’ll save a lot of money.


Ignoring your pockets while you wash the garments can lead to significant loss if the car key with the chip isn’t found. If you’re quick, but also cautious, and have a little luck, you can save some chips.