In modern cars, keyless entry is a big feature. When you press the unlock button on the keyfob (remote), it sends a coded radio signal to the car which tells it to unlock or lock itself. Many of these keyfobs also allow you to open trunk, arm or disarm the security alarm system in your car or even enable panic mode.
Some older cars used infrared technology (IR) to communicate between the car and the keyfob. This required you to be in the line of sight to your car. These remote systems were clunky and did not work all the time. This technology soon got replaced by radio waves (RF) which is much more reliable and work when you are in 5-15 meter range.
So, does window tint really affect keyless entry? Or the dealerships just lie to get rid of you?
There could be some other problems but if you have a metallic tint film installed then yes it will affect keyless entry. Metallic window tint consists of thin plastic film with tiny metal particles coated onto it. The metal particles help to reflect UV and IR rays to reduce heat inside the cabin.
These metalized tint films are well known for having issues with radio waves (that make the keyless entry work) and even metallic tint manufacturers admit that this can happen.
This can result in multiple presses of the button on the keyfob to unlock/lock the car.
[su_box title=”Important!” box_color=”#dec015″]Metallic window tint does not only affect the keyless entry but can also affect cellular and GPS reception (by blocking it) when you are inside your car.[/su_box]
If your keyfob is not working properly after you got your car windows tinted, these might be the possible problems.
If you have metallic window tints installed then you are likely going to have keyless entry problems. My advice? Don’t go for metallic window tints as ceramic tints are better in every way.
Water from fresh tint install.
Water from a fresh tint install can get into keyless entry antennas and connectors which can cause the keyless entry to not work properly and sometimes the keyfob does not get recognized by the car. Usually the water dries out on it’s own and it should start working normally.
Damaged keyless entry module or antenna cable.
Back in 2006 when I got my Camry tinted, my keyless entry was affected. I had to press unlock button on the keyfob multiple times to get it to unlock the car. I had to remove the rear driver side window tint and replace the antenna cable which got damaged by the tint installer.
Weak keyfob batteries.
Yes, it is a possibility but coincidences don’t happen that much. Replacing your keyfob battery is way cheaper than re-tinting and even supposed to be changed at some point. Give it a try to see if this solves keyless entry problems.
How to fix it?
Replacing Window Tint.
If you have metallic window tints installed on your car, I would suggest you to re-tint your car with something like ceramic window tints. They not only provide much better UV and IR blockage but also last longer and don’t affect any radio frequencies, GPS and cellular reception.
Removing the window tint.
Usually the antenna for keyless entry module is located near the rear driver side window or in the dash. Removing the old metallic tint (where keyless entry antenna is) will hopefully make the problem go away. Look in service manual for keyless entry antenna for your car.
Checking for damaged antenna cable.
Antenna cable for keyless entry module may get damaged when installing window tint due to untrained installers. This is why I always tell people to get window tints installed from a professional. A damaged antenna cable can not be repaired and can only be replaced.
Metallized tint films are the technology of the past. They introduce reflection and glare from the sun, which makes , affect radio, GPS and cellular reception, and are not any more efficient than ceramic tint films.
A good ceramic window tint film might be expensive but it is going to last a long time, provide excellent UV, IR and heat rejection. It will also not affect radio frequencies, GPS and cellular reception.