Dodge Journey Key Not Detected: Causes & Fixes

The “Key Not Detected” on your Dodge Journey is a warning sign often associated with issues with the key fob. It will normally pop up when the driver attempts to switch on the vehicle, and the computer system cannot pick up a signal from the key fob. 

The warning message will come if any factor disrupts the communication between the key fob and the ECM. Once the push-start button is pressed and the key’s signal is not detected, the vehicle will not come, and the error will come up. Many factors could stop the vehicle from picking up signals from the key fob. These factors include dead key battery, damaged receiver module, dead car battery, and more. 

We will examine what a “Key Not Detected” means in a Dodge Journey. Also, explore the causes of this issue and how it could be fixed.

Meaning of Dodge Journey Key Not Detected

A Dodge Journey “Key Not Detected” is a warning message showing that the vehicle cannot communicate with the key fob, especially when you try to start the car.

What is a key fob? If you are unfamiliar with the term, it is a device that opens and unlocks the vehicle. Its most important function is its ability to start the car through the push-to-start function. 

The Push-to-start function in the Dodge Journey uses low-frequency communication. Once the start button is pressed, the engine computer picks up a signal from the key fob, which should be in the car at the time. 

Once the computer picks up the signal, the ECM sends power to the engine for ignition.

Sometimes, the computer system does not pick up any signal from the key fob. Check the key fob and ensure it is in the vehicle; if it is, there is an issue with the device. 

Without the ECM picking up signals from the key fob, the engine will not start. 

Causes of Dodge Journey Key Not Detected 

Many factors could cause a “Key Not Detected” warning message on your Dodge Journey dashboard. In most cases, it is an issue with the key fob. However, other issues could be responsible for the warning message, like damaged receiver modules. 

Below are some of the major causes of “key Not Detected.”

Dead key fob battery 

A major cause of the warning message “key Not Detected” is a dead battery. The Key fob uses a small button-like battery that powers it; unfortunately, it is not designed to last forever. 

The key fob battery will weaken and must be replaced at a certain point. You will notice the need to change the battery when the range of the key reduces. Now, you must draw closer to the car to open or close the door or press the button multiple times. 

You could also get a notification of the low battery on the dashboard of your Dodge Journey. 

Receiver module issues or interference 

Another cause of the “key Not Detected” warning message is when the receiver module is not working as it should. 

What is the receiver module? A device inside the vehicle receives signals from the key fob. It then sends signals to other components depending on whether to open or lock the door or trunk and start the engine. 

Sometimes, the signal from the key fob may be interfered with by other radio waves that do not allow the module to pick up the right signals. In other cases, the module might be damaged and unable to pick up any frequency. 

Water damage to the key fob 

If you expose your key fob to water, it could cause serious damage. You need to understand that the key is an electrical device, and it is not designed to be waterproof and will get damaged if exposed to a certain amount of water. 

Dead vehicle battery 

A dead Dodge Journey battery will stop the receiver module from picking up the key fob signal. The module receives power from the battery to function. Once there is no power flowing to the module, it will not work. 

Until the battery is charged, you cannot access and switch on the vehicle using the keyfob. 

Worn-out key fob 

The key fob will get worn out after long usage due to exposure to dirt, moisture, and other working conditions. 

You will notice that the key fob is worn when the buttons are harder to press, and it takes longer for the vehicle to respond to the key’s command. 

Also, the battery contact may become worn out, loose, or corroded due to oxidation, vibration, and other factors. This will have the same effect as having a dead battery. 

How to fix Dodge Journey Key Not Detected

Once you realize the Dodge Journey “Key Not Detected” warning message, you need first to figure out what the cause of the problem is. You can do this by inspecting all the vehicle components that could be the source of the issue. 

Below are ways to fix a Dodge Journey “Key Not Detected.”

Replace the key fob battery 

When the battery of your Dodge Journey key fob is dead, you need to replace it immediately. To do this, follow the steps below. 

  1. Find the small notch at the side of the key fob and insert a screwdriver or any other tool that can fit in. 
  2. Slowly pry open the case and separate it into two. 
  3. Find buttons like batteries and take note of how they were placed. 
  4. Insert the new batteries the same way the old ones were placed. 
  5. Snap the separated key fob back together and test the key. 

Replace key fob 

In case of water damage or extreme wear conditions, you may need a new key fob compatible with your vehicle. You can get this in an authorized Dodge dealership. 

Charge or replace car battery 

If you are faced with a dead battery car battery, the easy fix is to charge the battery. Sometimes, the issue might not be a dead battery; it could be that the terminals are corroded. In this case, you may need to have them clean. Make a baking soda and water mixture, using the mixture and a rag to clean the battery. 

Fix module issue 

To fix the receiver module, you need first to locate it. The module is under that dashboard, just behind the glove box. Once located, check the connections, wiring antenna, and other components. 

Go ahead and replace damaged parts of the module if you can. A professional should do issues like software malfunction. 

Final Thought!

If you are faced with a “Key Not Detected”, it is important that you have the issue solved fast before the key fob becomes completely nonfunctional. Fortunately, problems with the key fob can easily be fixed, and you may not require professional help. Also, it will not cost much to have the issue fixed, even if you have to replace the key. 

  • Edmond Davis

    I'm Edmond Davis, an automotive expert with years of experience in vehicle repair, performance, and safety. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Automotive Engineering and have worked with major companies like Ford, GM, and Chrysler. I'm a trusted source of information for anyone looking to learn more about cars or improve their driving experience.

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