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How to Troubleshoot Common Keyless Entry System Issues

Keyless entry systems are intuitive machines that can help you quickly and securely gain access to a property without having to use a physical key like you would in a traditional lock.

These systems have been gaining a lot of traction for residential and commercial use due to their convenience, security, ease of use, and even integration with other security hardware.

While extremely rare, some keyless entry systems may not work properly due to environmental or software factors. In this guide, we will look at some of the ways you can troubleshoot common keyless entry system issues and the things to look out for to keep the system running smoothly.


Access control systems, also called keyless entry systems are the result of the evolution in technology and security. These systems are the next step and are quickly replacing traditional locks due to their convenience.

A keyless entry system uses a locking mechanism that is operated using a hardware interface. The interface requires an authentication method, usually a PIN or a biometric verification method like a fingerprint to unlock the door.

The system is made up of components ranging from a door lock to a keypad interface, and even a server that keeps a log of all the entries or failed attempts recorded by the system.

A common keyless entry system uses the following components:

User-facing Components

The hardware that the users see and interact with is the main interface of the keyless entry system. This can include components such as an access card, a card reader, and a control panel.

Access cards may include a keypad, swipe, RFID, tap, or biometric technology. When authenticated, the system checks a stored database for a match and approves or denies entry based on the access permissions.

Admin-facing Components

These components usually cover the software side of things and are not visible to the user. The admin-facing component includes the admin dashboard or web-based portal that the administrator, manager, or security personnel can use to interact with the system.

The primary dashboard for a keyless entry system allows the system administrator to manage permissions by adding or deleting users and changing user credentials.

Electrical Components

Every keyless entry system operates on electricity and uses various components such as wiring, fuses, backup batteries/power, and other power management tools to keep the system running.

Depending on the type of lock, a keyless entry system can operate the locking mechanism using either stand-alone, electromechanical, or electromagnetic locks.


Here is a quick overview of how a keyless entry system normally operates:

  1. The user presents the credentials to a reader,
  2. The credentials are verified by the control panel.
  3. The control panel compares the credentials to a saved database on the system,
  4. If the credentials match, an electrical component engages the lock and unlocks the door.
  5. If the credentials do not match, the control panel keeps the door locked, provides an incorrect authentication error, and saves the entry/denial in a log.


As mentioned above, keyless entry systems work without any faults. Usually, when you install the system, you can completely forget about it if it is maintained by a professional security company.

However, in some cases, the system can show signs of problems, and here are some ways to troubleshoot them:

Check for Power Issues

If the system is not responding or is turning on and off repeatedly, then you will have to check the power source. Usually, power issues can cause the system to malfunction and a telltale sign of it is when the system just doesn’t turn on or has a flickering screen/interface.

We recommend that you confirm whether there is a blackout in your area. If not, then the problem is likely in the wiring or the power supply box.

If you have access to the power supply or the power cable running into the system, see if taking it out and securely re-plugging it works. If the system is operated using a battery, then check the battery for the same issues.

Verify the Keypad Hardware

If the system is unresponsive, check whether you can access the keypad. If the keypad is accessible and is entering any code that you test on it, then the problem may likely be on the software side.

If the keypad is not working, then you can try checking for power issues again. If the system uses a touchscreen, try cleaning the touchscreen with a clean microfiber cloth to make sure that nothing is interfering with the touch interface.

Check for Updates

Sometimes something as simple as a software update or lack thereof can cause problems in the system. Just like your smartphone, modern keyless entry systems also require constant updates to make them better, more secure, and faster.

If you notice that the system is not working as intended, then you can reach out to the manufacturer to learn if there is any new pending update. Once you update the system, it will automatically flash the internal memory and the system should reboot normally.

If you don’t know how to upgrade the system, we recommend reaching out to a professional locksmith and security company like Calder Security for all your keyless entry system needs.

Inspect the Machine for Damage

If the system is not turning on or is not registering any authentication method, then the sensors might be damaged. Carefully check the keyless entry system interface for obvious damages.

Sometimes chips or cracks in the sensors can cause the system to malfunction. In this case, you will need to use an alternative method to use the system. You will also need to call in a professional to check the system for repairs.

Network Issues

Network issues can be common with wireless or smart keyless entry systems that rely on web technologies and a connection to the internet to operate. In this case, you should look for clues outside of just the keyless entry system.

We recommend checking the network settings. Sometimes firewalls can block the connection for the system. In this case, you can simply add an exception for the IP address for the keyless entry system.

You might also need to adjust the network settings on the system. For example, if you have recently changed the Wi-Fi password on your router, then you will need to update the keyless entry system as well.

Test with Backup Keys

Some people can forget PIN codes. If the system is not responding to your saved authentication method, then you can try using backup keys or codes to make sure that the system is working properly.

If the system doesn’t recognise your PIN/key as well as the backup codes, then there must be something wrong with the internal hardware or the software. In this case, you will need to call in a professional to check out the machine.

Environmental Damage

If you live in an area that sees a lot of dust or rain, you will have to make sure that you clean the sensors on the keyless entry system. Dust or debris on the scanners can make it harder for the system to authenticate.

The good news is that it is easy to troubleshoot this type of error since all you need to do is clean the keyless entry system interface with a clean microfiber cloth. Do not use a wet cloth unless specified by the manufacturer.

Check the Manual

If you are stuck on an issue, you can simply check out the user manual for the keyless entry system. Manufacturers often provide various possible issues and ways to troubleshoot them on your own. This can be useful for people who don’t know how to diagnose the problem!

You can also directly reach out to the manufacturer for on-call support. This way you can clearly express the problem and figure out a solution for it.

Call in a Professional

When all else fails, go for professional help. Expert locksmiths provided by reputable security companies like Calder Security can quickly help you gain access to your property and diagnose the problem with the keyless entry system.

This is a quick and convenient way to fix the system without any downtime. Furthermore, we recommend that you get a maintenance contract from the company so that a professional can periodically check the system to make sure that it runs smoothly.

Reprogram or Reset

Sometimes a software or firmware bug in the system can cause the keyless entry system to malfunction. In this case, your best bet would be to simply reset the system to its factory settings to gain back access.

Reprogramming should only be done by a professional and has the risk of completely wiping the memory of the system, so you should reserve this fix for last!


In most cases, going with cheaper or very simple keyless entry systems can cause a lot of problems. The complexity and quality of the system depend on the type of keyless entry system you install.

Here are some great high-quality keyless entry systems that you choose for peace of mind:

Keypad entry access control systems with backup codes.

Keyless entry systems with keypads and backup code support are the go-to for many residential properties due to their ease of use and reliability. These systems have limited components so there is less that can go wrong with them!

Since there are no scanners on the system, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the scanners or making sure that the scanners are registering biometrics properly. Keypads also have simpler interfaces that can be troubleshooted easily.

Key fob entry access control systems with spare remote.

Key fob entry access systems use a radio signal to send a relay to the keyless entry system. This signal can be used to either lock or unlock the system just like you would use a key fob for your car.

These systems are reliable, but you may want to make sure that you have spare key fobs and that the battery on the fob is operational.

Card entry access control systems with optional keypad access.

Card systems are very reliable for commercial and residential use. These systems work by using RFID or Magnetic strip technology. Just like you would use an ATM card by swiping it to the interface, these systems work in the same way.

Some systems also use passive scanning which means that you don’t even need to interact with the system! Just walk up to the system and it should detect the signal automatically and unlock. These systems can be expensive but are a highly convenient way to secure your property for the long term.

Biometric entry access control systems.

Biometric keyless entry systems are perhaps the most expensive type of access control. These systems use highly complex hardware and software to authenticate and allow access to authorised individuals.

The system works by turning you into a key! You can use either your thumbprint, your face, or even your iris to scan and gain access to the property.

Please note that while these systems are highly reliable and are commonly high quality, you should always get professional help to install, inspect, and repair these systems.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) entry systems

RFID systems use near-field technology to detect a signal and unlock the system. This way, you don’t have to take out a card or enter a PIN. Simply walk up to the system and the door should unlock automatically.

The difference in these systems is that they are usually very smart, and you can often pair them with your phone as well.

The truth is people can forget their wallets and keys, but they will seldom forget their phones. With smartphones taking over so many features, you can also use your phone to interact with the keyless entry system.

In this case, your phone will emit a low-energy radio frequency that can be received by the signal receiver on the keyless entry system. You can also use a mobile application to directly interact with the system as well!


Calder Security provides a complete solution for access control systems which includes professional installation, maintenance, and repair services.

We’ve been working in the security industry since 1976 and partner with only the best brands. Our MLA-approved locksmiths can advise on the best type of access control system for your property based on your individual needs and requirements.

We are experienced in creating sophisticated access control systems for residential properties, large-scale commercial enterprises, as well as smaller businesses.

Because an access control system operates the locking and unlocking mechanism of your door, installation must be completed properly by someone with detailed knowledge of how these systems work.

We are SSAIB-approved installers and offer all types of access control systems including intercoms, proximity fobs, access cards, and keypads. We also offer biometric systems that work with fingerprints or retina scans.

Access control systems are very reliable and will last a long time. But like any technology, they require periodic maintenance to continue working as they should.

We conduct annual servicing to keep your system working well and give it a full check including checking the battery strength, power supply, and connections. That way you won’t get any nasty surprises further down the line.

Sometimes problems may occur with access control systems that can affect the locking mechanism, potentially compromising the security of your property.

Common issues include simple wear and tear or faults with the power supply or batteries, and to preserve the security of your property, you need to get the problems fixed ASAP.

We operate a 24-hour emergency service run by qualified security specialist engineers who understand access systems and can resolve issues efficiently and effectively.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 for a quick consultation and quote for our state-of-the-art access control and keyless entry systems.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash


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