Car won’t start is it a Renault car key problem ?

Renault Keys

It’s hard to imagine someone choosing all the  worst car key features, and include then all in one key, but here it is. The Renault car key problem. Strap yourself in, we’ve a lot to say about these.

It’s incredible that so many people come into our shop and say the same thing..’well it’s my fault really, I did buy a Renault’. This is a shame, because people love the cars, but the keys are so, so bad, in our opinion.

Renault car key problem

Renault Key Cards

Imagine the design office of Mr Renault. Picture the scene.

The Boss. ‘We’ve got a perfectly good key system. But it’s not very, how do I say?

Young up and coming designer. ‘Sexy? Cool?

The Boss. ‘Talk to me?’

Young up and coming designer. ‘I can see it now, a credit card that starts the car, thin, sleek, sexy..

The Boss. And you can make it work?

Young and up and coming designer. (Who knows very little about mass manufacture). Of course, sir, what could go wrong?

Ladies and gentlemen, we present the Laguna and Megane key cards

A House of Cards

The trouble with putting delicate electronics into a thin credit card sized key card is…well just about everything. The electronic circuits need protection against bending, twisting and any other forces that may affect them. However, Renault put them in a thin card that’s sat on, squashed, bent, and snapped.

We’ve replaced hundreds of cards in our 15 years, yet they’ve kept a similar design for the new key cards. The latest shape Scenic and Laguna have the same issues. We’re now seeing four button cards that cause the ‘card not detected’ message. It was all fine until, ‘he sat on it, my idiot husband…’

 

A bit harsh we think, but owners of Renault cards get so frustrated, and we tend to hear about it first.

My car won’t start, is it the key?

Rant over, let’s get to the point of this article. Renault use two sorts of car key, one is a card and the other is a traditional key. Both are causing owners to have a Renault car key problem.

Renault Key cards

To find out if the card is faulty, is very cut and dry. After putting the card in the slot, and pressing the button, it will either start, or display the message ‘Card not detected’.

Renault car key problem

If the steering lock comes off, when you put the key in the slot, then the key is recognised. However, if you hear the steering lock come off, but when you press the button nothing happens, it’s not the key.

Megane and Laguna models suffer from a host of Body Computer problems and if there’s a wiring issue anywhere, the car won’t start.

Key reader or Key card problem?

A lot of our customers believe that the reason for the car the ‘card not detected’ is the card reader. In fourteen years we’ve programmed five hundred cards plus, and in that time, we’ve seen two faulty card readers. The other times, it was a faulty key card causing a Renault car key problem.

So, before you spend money on a card reader, get the card checked. It’s easy to do. Look up your local car key man, explain the problem and ask them to check the card. They’ll put the card into a key reader that does the same thing as the car.

The key reader will be able to see if the chip can be detected. If it can’t be detected in the shop, there’s a problem with the key card.

Real keys, with blades.

The cars that use an old-fashioned key are the Renault Clio, Modus, and Wind. These all use a similar style of key, although the earlier Clio, from 2001 – 2006 has only one button. The later versions have a two or three button key.

The technology that’s inside the key, is the same as that inside the key card. Therefore, it’s still liable to damage and failure. However, because the key is stronger, the electronics are better protected. Therefore, generally, the keys last much longer than the key cards.

‘Key not detected’ is a flashing dot

On all cars with an old-fashioned key, they have used an old-fashioned immobiliser warning light. On Renault cars, it’s always a single red dot. There are three things that the red dot will do, and this will tell you if you have a problem with the key.

  1. Normal operation. Put the key in the ignition and turn it on (don’t try to start the car). The immobiliser light comes on for a second and then goes out for good. The car has recognised the key and will start.
  2. Key not detected. Put the key in the ignition and turn it on (don’t try to start the car). The immobiliser light immediately goes crazy and flashes about four times every second. This means the key is not recognised by the car. This could be either because the key is faulty, or because it’s not been programmed. The car will never forget the keys, so get the key checked out first at your local car key man. If the key’s faulty, then there’s no point paying money to try and programme the key, you are just burning good money. You probably need a new key.
  3. Immobiliser fault. You put the key in the ignition and turn it on (again, don’t try and start the car). This time the red light stays on solid. If the red light stays on, the car will never start. This red light is a warning to you that something is wrong. The key will get the blame, but this isn’t usually the case. Again, get the key checked out. Sometimes a new key does cure this solid light, however it normally means there is another problem on the way.

Intermittent fault.

If you have a Renault car key problem, then it normally follows a similar pattern. When the problem  starts, the car plays up just once in the week. You think it’s a bit odd, but put it down to nothing and then carry on as normal. Next week it does it again, a couple of times. You think there’s something happening now. The car spins over but won’t fire up. Week three it gets worse and so on. Once you get to the end, you have your fingers crossed every time you try and start the car. It will fail, and then, you’ll have a serious Renault car key problem. So, get it checked out sooner, rather than later.

The Renault car won’t crank.

This happens sometimes when the key has finally given up. The car will click, or try and crank, but nothing happens. When this happens, the red immobiliser light will stay on solid. A faulty key will cause this, but there are other problems with wiring and electronics on the car that will also cause it. Ask your local car key man to check the key, before spending any money on expensive diagnostics.

Second hand keys to save money

No, no, no, no, no. Please don’t waste your hard-earned money on buying a second-hand key from eBay, the scrapyard etc. There’s’ a really simple reason you cannot use a second-hand Renault key. Click here to find out more.

That’s it really. Lots of problems, so yes, maybe you do have a Renault car key problem. We hope this helps. How do Renault car keys rank on the best and worst car keys on the market? Click here to find out

Find out more about Renault car key problems at the Renault Forum click here

Just need help with changing the key battery? Click Here

72 replies
  1. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    My car won’t turn over completely just cranks and runs the battery down eventually I’ve paid 150 pound to have a key card done as old one wouldn’t recognise but it’s still not turning over and starting it’s so strange, thanks for any help in advance

    Reply
  2. jody
    jody says:

    I’m having a similar problem my car is say card not detected and wont lock my car either is this the key card or on board computer ? Thank you for any help you can give me

    Reply
        • Steve Bulleyment
          Steve Bulleyment says:

          Hi Jody, We do lots of these cars and it is normally the card. You have a couple of options, according to what you want to spend. A new keycard from Renault takes between 7 and ten days to arrive and at a guess will cost about £195. There is also the option of an aftermarket card. there is a cha on ebay called the Renault Man. He sells aftermarket cards for about £25 and they arrive the next day. Then you will need to find an Auto Locksmith or garage to programme it to the car.
          I hope this helps

          Reply
  3. Maurizio
    Maurizio says:

    I lost my Laguna 4 keyfob abroad on holiday so had to get a local auto locksmith to give me a replacement. He did this (4 button fob) for £180. Renault wanted £225. He forgot to cut a key blade however and I chased him up regarding this and he agreed to get me a new key before he went abroad on holiday. Sadly, while he is on holiday, my key fob started to appear strange. It took two or three button hits to lock and unlock doors now. Then today it stopped working and I can not open the door. I bought new batteries and put them in but still not working. So I went to another shop, bought Duracel ones and again, nothing. Any ideas?

    Reply
  4. Helen Roy
    Helen Roy says:

    Hi, our 2004 Laguna card keys are playing up, they will not unlock or lock the car! Both start the car . What so you suggest we do, we are afraid to lock the car , we know how to open with the “Key” taking off a part of the passenger door handle. help please

    Reply
  5. Karen crawford
    Karen crawford says:

    Hi my Clio used to detect the fob without putting it in slot to start but now I have to put it in the slot every time as it says card not detected is there anything I can try so it reads it without putting it in the slot every time

    Reply
  6. Mark
    Mark says:

    My magane scinic is saying no card detected
    But leave it a second then says put foot on brake
    Then sometimes starts
    any ideas pls

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Mark, the card is on its way out. Some companies will repair them, but in all honesty, we don’t think it lasts well. I would contact a local Auto Locksmith. The aftermarket cards ( not from Renault ) are reasonable now

      Reply
  7. Craig
    Craig says:

    My Renault Megane scenic key card has been playing up with the locking and unlocking. Then it was’nt being detected in card reader now and then. Now its completely stop working all together iv changed the battery still no hope. Ta

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Craig. The usual reason for this is simply that the card has gone faulty. It’s a small problem that gets worse and worse until it can’t be used at all. Is that the point that you’re at now?

      Reply
  8. Chelsea
    Chelsea says:

    Hi, I have a Renault Megane 2008 and yesterday the problem started where it states ‘Card not detected’ when I insert it into the slot. If I hold the key close to the slot though it will turn on. Would you say that this is a key problem? Thank you

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Chelsea. We’ve been looking at thee for ten years now, and it normally is the card. A good local Car Key Man will be able to tell you if the card is faulty

      Reply
  9. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    Hi, this is a very interesting read. we have a Renault Laguna 2007 and we have 2 key cards. I have changed the battery in both and when pressed a red light on the card comes on indicating to me that the battery works. When inserted in the car nothing at all happens, no red light, no “no card detected”, absolutely nothing. What do you think? Thanks

    Reply
  10. Helen
    Helen says:

    Hi, I’ve got a 2013 Renault Captur. The car has started to have the ‘card not recognised’ problem when I insert the keycard, but otherwise, the car opens up and starts ‘keyless’ as normal. Is that an easy to fix problem or costly?

    Reply
    • Jackie
      Jackie says:

      I also have the same problem. says Keys not recognised and engine will not restart after a couple of attempts the Steering lock will click and then it works

      Reply
  11. Kay
    Kay says:

    Hello, my keycard is ‘not found’ when I put it in the ignition. I can open and lock the car fine. Would this be the coil issue in the card? The card works ok if something us slid down besides it. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Kay
      Thanks for the question, which is so common.
      Your keycard has started is nearing the end of its journey on our planet I’m afraid. It probably has days to do.

      Eventually the knife trick won’t work anymore and you’ll need a new key card.

      We don’t fix them, just because we hear so many stories of cards that have been sent off for repair and when they come back they are even worse!
      The best thing you can do is get an aftermarket card from this guy.
      https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/the-renault-man/
      He’s a really good ebay seller, sends them out the same day and everyone we’ve sent there has been really happy.
      We don’t get anything for recommending him! But he just does a good job.
      Then you’ll need to get it coded locally
      Sorry I can’t help more.

      Reply
  12. scott liddiard
    scott liddiard says:

    Hi guys, I wonder if you’ve heard this one before…. So I had to take my cat to a vet, somewhere new to me, so I got to a point and pulled over to ask directions. When I returned to start my car, Renault Scenic 2005. it stated the no key card stuff. I didn’t sit on the card or anything, just took it out. I had been in a traffic jam prior, meaning lot of stop starting. I’ve come home to get the spare, but am worried that won’t work either. is there any way to bypass the key card as I’m pretty skint and can’t afford a new one?

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Scott. Firstly, how’s the cat?
      I think that your card has just started down the road of going faulty. It’s nothing to do with your stop and starting, it’s just how these cards are, shame really.
      We don’t fix them, just because we hear so many stories of cards that have been sent off for repair and when they come back they are even worse!
      The best thing you can do is get an aftermarket card from this guy.
      https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/the-renault-man/
      He’s a really good ebay seller, sends them out the same day and everyone we’ve sent there has been really happy.
      We don’t get anything for recommending him! But he just does a good job.
      Then you’ll need to get it coded locally
      Sorry I can’t help more.

      Reply
  13. Katie
    Katie says:

    Hi

    I am having trouble with my 59 plate Renault megane, the car is locking and unlocking with the key however it is then saying card not recognised, the power steering lock and all other electrics are not working can you advise please?

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Katie. If you get the message ‘car not detected’ then it’s usually the card that is faulty. A local Auto Locksmmith will be able to test it for you.

      Reply
  14. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    Hi my problem key fob works let’s me start and drive how ever when I stop it says remove card I do then in clicks as if I’ve put it back in and I can start the Megan with the key not in the slot and it won’t lock it does but then I try the door and it opens any info would be appreciated

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Andrew, did you get this sorted out? It sounds like you have the keyless version of the car. Do you have a button on the door?

      Reply
  15. Bernie Green
    Bernie Green says:

    Hi, wondering if you can help me, my Megane wouldn’t start today. I put the card in and get the usual press clutch or brake to start but when I do it just tries to start but won’t. I tried a few times and nothing. The car wouldn’t lock or unlock using the card. Left it for about an hour and came back and it started no problem. It’s not the first time it has happened. Do you think this a key issue? Tia

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Bernie, sorry I missed your question, it ended up in spam.
      Do you get a message saying ‘card not detected’ ?

      Reply
  16. Nuclear Ekerendu
    Nuclear Ekerendu says:

    My Laguna 2 card key refuses to open ignition and start the car for four months now. I got a new one on February this after the old malfunctioned.pls what do I do. From NIGERIA

    Reply
  17. Pretty
    Pretty says:

    Hi. I recently removed the battery terminals from my renault megane 3,2011.So I than removed the battery to insert the new battery after a few days of disconnecting the old battery. Now the vehicle wnt start and displays a ” keycard not recognised” error .
    Can someone kindly assist. What could be the cause of this?

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi, so sorry for the delay answering this. Well i can’t see why disconnecting the battery should cause this fault.
      The cards do go faulty and show this fault as a result, so maybe it is just a coincidence?

      Reply
  18. Louise Etherington
    Louise Etherington says:

    HI Steve, I have a 2018 laguna and the card does nothing when I put it on the slot, just comes up with ‘keycard not recognised’. My partner disconnected the battery, left a minute or two and reconnected and it worked again. Now, about 3 days later, it is not recognising again. Is this a fault with the keycard (I don’t have a spare) and what can I do? Or is it a fault with my battery? I have noticed the ‘battery charging’ warning a few times lately as I have been driving and after a few miles it has gone out. Thanking you in advance for any advice, Louise.

    Reply
  19. ALBERT NOONAN
    ALBERT NOONAN says:

    Hi we have a 64 plate captur. Changed batteries in both fobs one works fine on starting & sensing without a problem. The other is sensed for starting but not for opening & closing & not working on the buttons as well. Any ideas what’s wrong
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hello Albert, thanks for the question. OK, so a few simple things first. Has the card that is faulty, ever worked properly before?

      Reply
  20. Mary
    Mary says:

    I’ve got a 2013 Megane CC, recently serviced and MOT’d with no issues. Then got the low keycard battery warning so changed the keycard battery and since then have had intermittent issues opening the car door and very occasionally, starting the engine! Because the car is a convertible, the window drops slightly on opening the car – this is still happening when I use the keycard to open the car, but the door itself remains firmly shut. I have to click the keycard to close the doors and if I’m lucky it will open on second attempt (more often than not, third!)

    Is this an issue easily sorted??

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hello Mary. Oh dear! These new Renaults are starting to show key problems already. The only way to rule out a faulty key is to have a new key card cut and coded. I’m sure a local Auto Locksmith will be able to help you.
      I don’t think anyone will be able to solve the problem over the internet, sorry. It may be the card, as they do have problems. Please can you let us know?

      Reply
  21. Kate
    Kate says:

    I drove my renault clio “65 plate” home only to discover the keycard in the passenger sit. How did the car start keyless?
    Is that normal?

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Kate
      With your car, there are two type of key cards available. One needs to be inserted into the slot before the car will start. The other just needs to be inside the car, in a handbag, or on the seat!

      Reply
  22. Geo Wong
    Geo Wong says:

    We recently bought a second hand renault safrane 2012 model here in Oman, the 2nd card key is not functioning and once inserted in the card reader it says that the key card is not recognized, any advice on how to resolve this

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi, both the 3 and 4 button cards have a fault where the chip dies. Electronics crammed into these bendy keycards mean that that are bent, sat on, dropped. Eventually the electronic components fail and the key is not detected. You just need a new card, and have it coded to your car, sorry…

      Reply
  23. Saffron
    Saffron says:

    So my dad’s car won’t start the key fob unlocks the car but when inserted it doesn’t even give any power to the dash. No lights nothing. So new battery in fob and even tried to jump-start the car the car just makes a ticking noise. Was running fine for a few days since having the clutch cylinder replaced but dead today. Any advice?

    Reply
  24. Darren Sowden
    Darren Sowden says:

    Afternoon Steve, it seems you may be able to advise on this tricky one. We have a Laguna 3 that had a dodgy wireless card, worked fine other than in the slot, key not recognised, however it did unlock and start the car etc. We thought we’d go to our local main motor factors who sell new cards and program them for you. We did this, got a nice new key card, but initially it doesn’t work. Click it several times to unlock the car, after this and once you’ve unlocked the car, you can lock and unlock it to your hearts content. Lock the car and walk away for a few minutes and it no longer works without clicking many times and playing around with the door handle. We took the key back, which was replaced, only for the second key to be the same? Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Darren
      Thanks for the question.
      So first things first. The problem with your old car is common. They play up and eventually the car doesn’t recognise the key anymore. The only answer is a new key

      So as for your replacement key, that is a bit odd. With your old car, did you have to press the unlock button on the card? Or did the car sense you were there and automatically unlock?

      Reply
  25. Jenna
    Jenna says:

    Hi, wondering if you can help and this may have been asked before already? I’ve a Renault Scenic 05, twice today when starting the car, it’s read ‘card not detected’. All other electrics function and steering unlocks. After repeatedly putting the key in, it eventually started.

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Jenna. This is happening because the electronic parts inside the card are slowly going faulty. The problem gets worse over time until, in the end, the card will not start the car. The only answer is a new card unfortunately. It won’t be the card reader

      Reply
  26. Dylan
    Dylan says:

    I’ve recently changed the casing around my 2009 3dr megane mk2 key (3 button) to one i got off ebay, the car locks and unlocks fine but when i put it in the car it says card not detected. I’ve heard it’s a problem with the coil inside the key so i opened it and soldered a loose connection on the coil. Hasn’t fixed the problem though but I’ve noticed the copper wire in the actual coil isn’t connected to anything would this be my problem? Or would my best bet be to buy a new key and reprogram it?

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Dylan, I would say a new card is needed. WE tried fixing these in the past, but the repair is unreliable and the cards never ork the same once they’ve been opened.

      Reply
  27. stu
    stu says:

    just bought a 2014 megane. got 2 key cards. 1 was low battery so i changed its ok, other wasnt working at all, changed battery and still nothing could it need a re program or is it dead?

    thanks

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      HI Stu, do the cards start the car? If they do then they are programmed and the buttons automatically work. So if yours don’t, I would say you are one of the thousands of Megane owners that have a dodgy key card, or two!
      You just need a new card I expect

      Reply
  28. David Hazell
    David Hazell says:

    Hi Steve

    Megane MKII (2003 Plate) Last week my key could not be detected, it followed me dropping it on a concrete floor. I went home and got the spare and it started no problem. Both keys are the same age, as we replaced them together a few years ago. I have check both batteries and there are 3V. Tonight using the second key, it came up with the same message ‘Card Not Detected’. I returned to the car again after 10 minutes and it started fine the 1st time, but when I took it out and tried again I was back to square one, so now neither key will start the car.

    Could you offer any advise please?

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Morning David.
      So this is really common. Firstly, the message ‘card not detected’ is shown when the car cannot read the transponder chip. The battery inside the keycard doesn’t have any bearing on the chip, it only makes the buttons work, so changing the key battery will not help.
      It seems a coincidence, but both cards were probably on the way out.
      Dropping your main card has damaged it, and I expect the other card was already partly faulty but you just didn’t see the fault. It’s only my guess, but over the last 10 years of programming these terrible cards, that’s what normally happens.
      I expect you just need a new card. The cheapest way is a brand new aftermarket card, you can get them on eBay for about £25, and hen it will need coding with a computer.

      Reply
  29. Matt
    Matt says:

    Hi Steve,

    Doing some research into buying a Megane (2018 plate) – are the key card issues still as common on the new cars or have Renault finally fixed the issue?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Matt. We’ve seen half a dozen that have failed, so that the car won’t start. So yes they have problems. Plus, the added problem is that if you don’t have a keycard that works, they can be a bit of a bugger to code a new card in. So if you get down to one card, get a second one as soon as possible is my advice. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  30. Phil
    Phil says:

    Hi Steve…my niece has a ’14 plate Megane with 2 key cards. I changed a battery in one about 3 weeks ago weeks ago for a Duracell one but she had to change it again this weekend as it was coming up with the low battery message, however it only lasted a few hours before this happened again. She tried the spare key card but had exactly the same issue with that. She bought some more Duracell batteries yesterday and has tried them but to no avail. Are both keycards likely to be faulty or could it be the code reader ??

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Phil, sorry I missed this. Does your niece needs to insert the cards into the slot? Or is it a keyless car?

      Reply
  31. Ellie Lee
    Ellie Lee says:

    Hi I have a 64 plate Renault Clio and 2 key fobs that are both intermittent. One stopped working today and the spare fob is now playing up. I think I need a card reader do you know of anyone in Widnes Cheshire area who can help. Many thanks Ellie

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Ellie, have you had the cards checked? When we see these cars, most of time it’s the cards rather than the reader. How long have you had the car?

      Reply
  32. Nyiko
    Nyiko says:

    Hi my Clio used to detect the fob without putting it in slot to start but now I have to put it in the slot every time as it says card not detected is there anything I can try so it reads it without putting it in the slot every time

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Nyiko. It’s simply that the card is starting to become faulty, so no sorry, recoding will not help. Have you tried to change the key battery?

      Reply
  33. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Hi Steve, I was wondering if you could help please, my car (Grand Scenic 06) locked/unlocked with no problems, I’ve only had it a fortnight then earlier today I unlocked it to get somethings out of the boot the hydraulics don’t work which my sister didn’t know so she let go off the boot and it slammed shut I then tried to lock the car and it wouldn’t lock no clicking noises at all for either button pressed, do you have any advice on what’s wrong or how to fix it please? I’ve had to leave it unlocked as when I’ve tried to use the emergency key the dashboard button won’t lock the other doors and I can’t get the actual key to turn in the lock, any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks

    Reply
    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Jenny. This is unusual! It does sound like the slamming of the boot has upset something, maybe causing a break in a wire or a connector to become loose?

      Reply

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