What do I do about wet car keys?

It’s easily done, but unfortunately, wet car keys are not good news!

Packed full of electronics, whether you’ve washed car keys in a pair of overalls, or dropped them in a puddle, the clock is ticking.

The worst thing is when someone drops them in your drink as a joke, making it the most expensive beer or wine, you’ll ever drink.

wet car keys

If you’re quick, you may be able to dry them out, so here’s our guide to saving wet car keys.

What do I do about wet car keys?

It’s the same as when you get your mobile phone wet.

  1. Remove the battery cover from your wet car key. This is usually simple to do, especially if you have a Kia, Hyundai, or Vauxhall. However, you may need to undo a screw, such as with the Peugeot 206, or Nissan Qashqai style of key. If you have a two-part key, such as the Ford Flip key, or older style VW group, you’ll need to strip the key down. Try and get the case open, if it’s not a rechargeable battery, and therefore a sealed unit.
  2. Take out the battery.
  3. Put some dry rice into a Tupperware container and place the key inside, then put the lid on. We all know how well rice absorbs water when cooking, the same thing happens here.
  4. Leave the key drying out as long as possible. Don’t heat the key up on a radiator, or get a hairdryer on it. The important thing is for the rice to absorb the moisture.

Why you must try to open wet car keys

The problems come when the water stays in contact with the delicate electronics. Very soon, the circuit board will start to go green and furry. When this happens, the key will stop working.

How do I open the wet car key?

The same as if you’re changing the car key battery. The manufacturers have made this easy on some cars, but not so much on others. We have a YouTube channel that has many different types of key and how to change the key battery. Click Here to see if yours is on our playlist.

There are several keys on the market that are sealed units and so should not open. The reason they’ve sealed them, is to make them waterproof. It’s also much simpler to make them! These keys need some special treatment.

The three common types are

Ford Transit keys

The Ford Transit keys, since 2006, are sealed units that have rechargeable batteries. The idea is nice, but in practice, we think they’re a step backwards on this model. The earlier blue remote key has a problem where the case around the buttons cracks, meaning it’s no longer a sealed unit.

When the keys are washed, or left out in the rain, water seeps into the key, through the cracks. Unfortunately, because you aren’t supposed to open it, you’re not able to remove the moisture unless you break open the key.

If you do this, you’ll need a replacement case, or to tape up the original case. The important thing here is that even though these may start working again, after a while they tend to fail. This includes the transponder chip, meaning the van will be stranded somewhere. We’d recommend a replacement key as soon as possible.

To read all about Ford Transit keys, click here

Land Rover keys

These roughie toughie keys are good quality. The seal on the unit is very good and we’ve never seen these suffer from water damage. However, if they’ve taken a trip in the washing machine, there’s a chance that the vibration may have damaged the electronics inside. You can open these, but we don’t see any point, we’ve never seen one let in the water, better off leaving alone.

Renault Key cards


wet car keys

Is there anything good to say about these keys? We’ve tried to be objective, but they are truly terrible. They have the worst combination in wet car keys, in that they are sealed units, however there’s a hole in them so that water can get in. To that end, you’ll never dry one of these out. If you’ve washed one and it’s still working, order a replacement immediately before you’re stranded somewhere.

The important bit

Sometimes, car keys are washed and stay working. However, after a while they break down and give up, so don’t be fooled. Hopefully, if you’re quick enough you’ll get them in rice and you’ll get away with it, so good luck!


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