What is a Transmitter Pocket? (Explained)

A transmitter pocket is a small area where a driver can place their fob key. By placing the key in the pocket, the driver will be able to use their vehicle, drive, and shift their vehicle to park. They can also leave it idling while they are in a store.

What is a transmitter pocket?

It used to be that when a driver wanted to start their vehicle, they would simply put their key in the ignition. Then they would turn the key and start the engine. But modern vehicles now have several ways to start a vehicle. 

With many vehicles, you no longer have to take your key out of your pocket. Just being close enough to the ignition is enough for the vehicle to start.

Also, many vehicles allow you to simply press the button now to start the engine.

Certain vehicles, like the Chevy Malibu or the Chevy Enclave, have a transmitter pocket. It is in this pocket where the driver can place the key and the FOB. Once the FOB is in the transmitting pocket, they can control the car. 

Another important reason why Vehicles need a transmitter pocket is that the battery in the keeper will eventually die.

When the battery dies, you will not be able to use the buttons on your key fob to activate your vehicle. 

But placing the transmitter on the key fob can allow you to start your vehicle. The battery inside the keep-up doesn’t even have to be inside the FOB. 

The transmitter will detect the key fob in the pockets and start the vehicle.

For ease and convenience, most key fobs are located in the driver’s side cup holder. But the actual location depends on the manufacturer.

Some vehicles place the transmitter pocket inside the center console. It is either located under the armrest or at the bottom of the compartment.

Pocket Transmitter Issues

The transmitter pocket is not without its own issues. If the transmitter inside the pocket does not detect the key fob when it is placed inside, there is a sensor or wiring issue.

One of the most common issues with pocket transmitters is not being able to detect the key fob when it is placed into the pocket. 

If your pocket transmitter is not detecting the key, you can still Place the key into the ignition and start the vehicle. 

Does the pocket transmitter charge the key fob battery?

No, the transmitter pocket does not recharge the battery inside the key fob.

When the battery finally dies, you will have to replace the battery. But until you replace the battery, you can place the key fob inside the pocket and your vehicle will start.

Not many key fobs have rechargeable batteries, so do not expect your pocket transmitter to have a charging station. Unless specifically stated, all key fobs have a small coin-sized battery that gives them power.

A 4-pack of these batteries costs less than $10, so they are not expensive to replace. 

I want to buy a new key fob. Will this affect the pocket transmitter?

Yes, buying a new key fob for your vehicle will mean that you have to program the key fob to the pocket transmitter.

Your vehicle’s pocket transmitter is programmed to the original key fob. No other vehicle’s key fob can start the vehicle. 

This is how manufacturers prevent an obvious theft from happening. Imagine if you could place any key fob from the same make and model into a different car and drive off with it? That vehicle manufacturer would go under in less than a year. 

So how can you program your vehicle’s pocket transmitter to your new key fob?

There is no universal way to program a key fob to a pocket transmitter.

Programming a pocket transmitter to a key fob depends on the make and model of the vehicle. 

Some vehicles allow up to 8 key fobs for a single vehicle, while other manufacturers only allow 2. 

How to program a new key fob by using the original key fob.

Depending on the manufacturer, you will have to either get the exact copy of the key fob or you’ll be able to use a different fob model. 

There are a few different ways to program a key fob. This is how to program a Cadillac FOB:

First, place the original key fob into the pocket transmitter. Remove the metal key inside the key fob before placing it into the transmitter.

Then go to the driver’s side door and place the key into the small opening at the bottom of the outside handle.

The handle cover will come right off, revealing a key slot. Place the key into the key slot and move it to the left 5 times. A message will appear on the console. 

Then, remove the original key fob from the transmitter pocket and place the new key fob into the pocket. 

Then press the ignition button. The screen will display a message saying the programming is successful.

You may have to press and hold down the ignition to exit programming mode.

What if I lost my key fob and I need to buy another one?

If you do not have the original key fob, then you will have to go to the brand’s certified mechanic.

For example, if you have a Chevrolet, then call a Chevrolet-certified mechanic and ask them to pick up your vehicle and drive it to their shop. 

You will need to show proof of purchase or they will not tow it to their shop. Once your Chevrolet is in their shop, they can sell you a new key fob and program it for you. 

Programming a new key fob to a vehicle is more expensive than you would think.

The cost to program a key fob ranges between $80 and $400. But $400 is usually for luxury vehicles.

You’ll probably spend no more than $150. So if you have your original key fob, try programming it yourself before forking over your money to an expensive mechanic. 


A transmitter pocket allows a driver to use and drive their vehicle. Programming a new FOB is tricky. Some vehicles allow up to 8 FOBS per vehicle. 

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!

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