Key Not Detected and Door Buttons Do Not Work

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Active member
Sep 12, 2022
Santa Barbara, San Jose
I just got my car back from being repainted (the Blizzard Pearl paint recall) and the Smart Keys (fobs) are not longer working. The car had been at the body shop for almost 4 weeks, so it may have been turned off for weeks at a time.

1. When I went to pick up the car, bothe the keyless lock/unlock and the the start button were not working. I complained, so Toyota replaced the battery in the fob I had at the time. Nothing changed.

- The lock/unlock buttons on the OUTside of the door didn't work any longer
- The lock/unlock buttons on the INside of the door work fine
- I had to hold the fob to the start button to start the car
- The buttons on the fob didn't work for anything - lock, unlock, alarm.
- The little red LED on the fob -does- flash when buttons are pressed.
- After starting the car by holding the fob to the start button, I can drive it anywhere I wish, but if I open ANY door the car immediately shows a "Key not Detected" message that won't go away until I turn the car off,
- Using an RF meter, I can detect RF by all three door handles with the black lock/unlock buttons. I believe the car is sending out the proper detection field (it's even pulsing 4 times a second like it should)
- I checked every fuse mentioned in the Owner's manual that mentioned the smart key (there are 5 of them!) and they were all ok.

2. I went home and tried the other fob. Same behavior. I don't think the fobs both became defective at the same time.

3. One of the videos I watched ( ) said if the key is within range of the detection fields, for example, when approaching the car from the outside, the red LED starts blinking on it even with no buttons pushed. Is that true? Is that happening with any of your cars?

And finally:

4. Has anyone else had this happen, and were you able to solve it without going back the the dealer who caused it?

Are you talking about a 2012-2014 Rav4 EV? That's what this board is about.

I'd be looking for either an unplugged module or antenna, or a broken wiring harness. Since they work when you hold them to the start button, it doesn't seem to be an unprogrammed or misconfigured remote.
Hi Dave,

Yes, 2012 RAV4 EV. I can barely find anything about the wireless remote systems on our cars ("Our" being 2012-2014 Toyota RAV4 EVs).

What I do find is a bit confusing. Here is a parts diagram for my VIN that shows no wireless antenna in the rear bumper:

But the 2012 parts diagram for the ICE version shows additional antennas for the "Wireless Door Lock" System, including one in the bumper.

I'm curious about that one because my bumper was replaced and if that antenna actually is supposed to be on the EV, but was not replaced with the new bumper, it could explain why my wireless remotes both stopped working at the same time.

I'm confused because I expected that the Wireless Door Lock systems were "native RAV4" components and not "EV" yet the diagrams are different.

Anyway, thanks for the ideas and the observation about the remotes working when held next to the start button.

The first diagram is correct: the receivers for the wireless entry system are located in the front door handles, inside the center console, in the rear trunk area, and in the rear door handle. There are no sensors in either bumper cover.

My first suggestion is to check the 12v battery; a low battery has been known to cause many unusual issues.

Next, If you have access to the Techstream software, I'd check to see if any error codes are reported, particularly from the certification ECU.

It's possible that the dealership may have disabled the smart key system. You can check/change this in Techstream, or you can manually follow this procedure to enable/disable the smart key system :

Start with power switch off, driver side door closed and unlocked
Press UNLOCK button on fob once
Open the driver door within 5 seconds
Press UNLOCK button on fob twice within 5 seconds
Driver door: [→ Close → Open → Close → Open] within 30 seconds
Press UNLOCK button on fob twice within 5 seconds
Driver door: [ → Close → Open] within 30 seconds
Close the driver door within 5 seconds

When 'smart key cancel' is activated, the wireless door lock buzzer sounds twice. To change the status of the system, perform the procedures again. When the smart key system is enabled, the wireless door lock buzzer sounds once.
Hello Hokiematt,

Thanks for the procedure, but it did not have any effect.

I tried perhaps a dozen times, with my brother reading the steps, and with slight variations in timing, but I never heard either a single or double beep at the end of the procedure. Also, the remote function and the black buttons on the door handles still don't work.

Could there perhaps be an alternate procedure?

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm going to see if aflash can remotely diagnose this. I still plan to take it back to the dealer but I no longer trust them. If I can resolve it without them (my appointment is March 2) I will.

I bought a wireless remote antenna and may try replacing that this weeked:

2006-2012 Toyota RAV4 door control receiver 89740-0r010

If I can find a 2012 (or so) RAV4 in a junkyard I may rip off all the trim and try to trace the antenna wire to the ECU. Maybe the body shop damaged it.

1. Check your e-mail ( 02.17.2023, "Re: Remote Troubleshoot: Keyless Entry")
2. Maybe will be useful
and the fragments from RM (let me know if need).
Hi everyone,

I was able to troubleshoot and fix the Smart Key problem myself.

The malfunction was caused by water in the Smart Key antenna. This is the part:

2006-2012 Toyota RAV4 door control receiver 89740-0R010

The water had entered the part from leaks around the roof rack bolts.

The bolts were leaking because I had taken the roof rack off for the paint job (I was trying to make life easier for the body shop) and the neoprene washers I used to seal the bolts when I put them back into the roof were apparently not effective. The extreme weather during the paint job was a contributing factor.

I ordered a replacement part on eBay for around $100, and as soon as I plugged it in all of the Smart Key functions immediately worked again.

Hi Dave,

I added all of these up in my head:
- The mechanical key still worked to lock and unlock all doors (so it wasn't a bad door lock mechanism)
- The fob still enabled the car to start when held next to the start button (proving the ECU was still working and recognizing the key)
- Both fobs had the identical malfunction at the same time (proving it was not a problem with one specific fob)
- The dealer tested one of the two fobs and said "the signal was strong" (proving the fobs were transmitting)
- An RF meter detected electric fields near all three door handles with black buttons on them (proving the antennas in those locations were working)
- Alflash posted that the problem was in the Toyota side of the car and not the Tesla side (Thanks, Alflash)
- At that point, everything suggested that the car was not "hearing" the fob signals, so I started looking at the parts involved in the Smart Key system such as - note the item numbered 6 in the diagram
- It rained torrentially during the time the car paint shop had the car ...
- A YouTube video discovered after three days of googling featured a person who had a similar problem after a roof leak (proving that problems with the smart key receiver could result in the same symptoms I was experiencing)
- I had taken my roof rack off just prior to delivering the car to make the job for the painters easier ...
- I put the roof rack bolts back in the holes on the roof, but only used rubber washers and some of them seemed to not fit very well - there are weird little raised plastic collars in the bolt holes and the washers have to fit over them. It's hard to describe, but I only put the washers and bolts back and NOT the original clippie things Toyota installs when you don't have a roof rack.
- The floor of the wheel well / trunk was wet (proving that water was entering the car somewhere back there)
- When I dug into the rear passenger side interior panels, the smart key receiver was wet
- When I plugged in new receiver from eBay (Around $100) it fixed everything
- When I shook the old smart key receiver, water came out!

It was very frustrating to try to find the solution via google. I kept searching in ways that triggered responses related to failing fobs. Gradually I evolved queries that generated results related to the car being unable to receive signals from the fobs. After that the searches became productive.

The receiver is quite complex. In addition to an actual antenna, there is a circuit board with two ICs and several dozen other passive components. I was surprised how smart the little bugger actually was.