SureTrack Community Fix: The Key is the Key

Real Fixes from the SureTrack® expert information resource are documented issues from actual shop repair orders and community discussions. Read on to see how SureTrack can help you correct issues that are not easily diagnosed using OEM information alone. SureTrack is currently available free with the purchase of a current Snap-on® diagnostic software version.

Having a new issue pop up right when your custom comes to pick up their car can be frustrating and embarrassing. But sometimes there is no way you would have known. SureTrack community member bmaples had a BMW X3 SUV that they had repaired the blower on and parked it outside for the customer to pick up. But when they did, the key didn’t work. They posed the question to the community, and with the help of fellow community member BMWTECH and others, they were able to resolve the issue quickly.

The following Community Fix summarizes the interaction between members of the community that led to the solution.

Vehicle
2004 BMW X3 30i 3.0L

Title
The key is the key.

Complaint
Key won’t turn in door or ignition lock.

Diagnostic Steps Performed/Parts Replaced
Vehicle came in for a HVAC blower motor replacement. We replaced it back in July. Key worked fine both times it’s been here. Drove it out front for the customer to come pick up. Tried locking the door with the fob but driver’s door didn’t lock. Didn’t matter much about since he was on his way. Customer went to leave and his key wouldn’t turn the ignition lock. We tried moving the steering wheel in case that was the problem but then we noticed it won’t turn the door lock either. Went to change battery in fob but case was super glued together. Got it apart and it appears the battery is soldered in place. Not sure where to go from here. Hoping someone has seen this before and can help. Any tips or guidance are greatly appreciated.

Best Answer from Community Member BMWTECH
The fob portion of the key has nothing to do with it not turning in the door lock or ignition. It only locks and unlocks the doors and sends rolling code to the EWS to allow it to start. Problem one, the key wont turn, that’s either a bad key or lock cylinder. Problem two is the fob not working, it could be the battery in the fob but usually not. Measure it with a DVOM before replacing it. Should be 3.0v when fully charged. If it is bad I believe it’s a vl2020 battery if the legs are 90 deg from each other. If my memory is right.

Cause
Turns out when customer came to pick up car they brought another key fob, and that key did not match the locks or ignition.

Correction
Use correct key when starting unlocking the doors or turning the ignition.


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About the Author

Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor is the SureTrack Community Administrator and a Senior Applications Specialist at Mitchell 1 with over 25 years of experience with electronic repair data systems. Nick previously worked in the automotive dismantling and engine rebuilding industries.