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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

As a bit of an introduction, I’m in the UK and bought a new Vitara 1.4 S Allgrip automatic in mid 2018. Since then I have been absolutely thrilled with the Vitara. Before purchasing the Vitara, I spent so long searching for a new car that had a raised seating position and these features:
  • petrol engine
  • automatic transmission using a torque convertor
  • reliable reputation and without serious known mechanical issues
  • quiet ride
  • affordable to purchase and run
My search was unsuccessful and all the short-listed vehicles required a compromise. However, in my mind, the Vitara only lacked ‘quiet ride’ and that was something I could improve if needed, plus the Vitara has the advantages of including a mechanical centre diff-lock and LED headlights. Since I’ve done a few mods to aid refinement and am generally very happy with it.

My question today is how long does the battery in the key fob typically last? Yesterday I noticed the red LED on the key fob was randomly flashing all by itself, so I replaced the CR2032 battery and all was normal again. The key fob had been used daily for about 18 months, does this battery life sound about right / good / bad?
 

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That would depend on the usage and age of the battery, quality also is a factor, I have measure low voltage on batteries still in their blister pack.... and some with voltage but unable to supply much amperage...
 

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I get about 12 to 18 months out of a fob battery, depends on how good the battery is, I have bought a double pack and had both with good volts but unable to supply enough to run the fob.

As always "your mileage may vary "
 

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I’ve got the same spec and it’s coming up to 18 months old so I’ll have a look. As GV says, it depends on the quality of the battery. I once had a dealer charge me £6 for a 2032 replacement on a LandRover (it was a service item) which lasted about 6 weeks. It looked like a Poundland or market special so I swapped it for a Duracell and got my £6 back off the stealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys, so a 18mth battery life seems fair when used daily. I might try to change that battery annually to pre-empt getting caught out again.

I hadn’t realised just how badly performing some batteries can be, even when new and straight out the blister pack. Will try sticking to the big brand and using a national retailer to avoid fakes!
 

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Even then that's no guarantee. I have had Duracell and everready brand flat in the packs.
Where you keep the fob in the car can affect battery life too. Theres a specific mention in my manual to avoid the centre console in my model.
 

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...I have never (yet), replaced a key fob battery, including an old Rav at 17 years and an MX 5 at 19 years old?....Perhaps more modern cars are more demanding? (Current Skoda is 4 years old and still on the same battery?)

NB I am glad you like your Vitara allgrip auto, it is exactly the car/spec I have been looking at to replace my current Yeti. (For the same reasons as you, wanted another petrol and fancied an auto that was not DGS). I would probably have got one by now but just as I was starting to get serious the world stop turning! ...just out of interest what mpg do you get?
 

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The newer cars with keyless start are communicating with the fob making sure it's in the car. 3 years would be max I would expect out of a keyless start remote. Key start door unlocks however, they will last almost the shelf life of that battery depending on how far away you are from the car when you press the button. Got 7 years out of the swift one, spare key for the swift got a battery god knows when just after car was new and has lived in the cupboard since, still works.
 

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...I have never (yet), replaced a key fob battery, including an old Rav at 17 years and an MX 5 at 19 years old?....Perhaps more modern cars are more demanding? (Current Skoda is 4 years old and still on the same battery?)

NB I am glad you like your Vitara allgrip auto, it is exactly the car/spec I have been looking at to replace my current Yeti. (For the same reasons as you, wanted another petrol and fancied an auto that was not DGS). I would probably have got one by now but just as I was starting to get serious the world stop turning! ...just out of interest what mpg do you get?
I‘m not sure who your question was aimed at Stubod but on my Vitara I’m getting 37 mpg around the houses under lockdown and was getting around 45 mpg on a regular 220 mile round trip which was mostly motorway - and I don’t hang about.

By comparison, my 2010 MX-5 returns around 29 mpg, although I did see 35 mpg on a holiday to Wales last year.
 

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Hi Rob and thanks for the reply, original mpg request was for the OP, but equally happy to take an mpg off anybody who has the same model...so thanks for that. I am getting around 42mpg (actual) out of my Yeti, which is apparently quite good according to similar threads on the Yeti forum. However we are "rural" and I drive like a nun. Interestingly like you our second car is an MX5. We just swapped our 1.8 mk2.5 (which we had for 17+ years and averaged about 35-42mpg on a run), for a Mk4 1.4 which is currently averaging 50+mpg...(when we can get out and drive it that is!)...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
...Perhaps more modern cars are more demanding? (Current Skoda is 4 years old and still on the same battery?)
Just had a quick trawl on the internet, indeed that is probably the case, I read that ‘smart’ key fobs have a reduced battery life because they also contain a receiver that enables them to communicate with the car when nearby or inside

...NB I am glad you like your Vitara allgrip auto, it is exactly the car/spec I have been looking at to replace my current Yeti. (For the same reasons as you, wanted another petrol and fancied an auto that was not DGS).
I also looked closely at the Yeti, but was put off by that DSG.

......just out of interest what mpg do you get?
Sorry, I don’t measure MPG so can’t really comment meaningfully. Whatever it is, it's not shocking enough for me to worry about :)
 

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Just had a quick trawl on the internet, indeed that is probably the case, I read that ‘smart’ key fobs have a reduced battery life because they also contain a receiver that enables them to communicate with the car when nearby or inside
I believe I said this in post #8
 

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Discussion Starter #13
2013GV: indeed you did and I failed to recognise this. That’s my bad for rushing out a message before going to sleep, please accept my apologies.
 

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No worries, it happens. Interesting that my owners handbook for the GV tells me not to store it in the centre console as this will shorten battery life.
 

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Interesting that my owners handbook for the GV tells me not to store it in the centre console as this will shorten battery life.
That does seem unusual, specifically mentioning “...shorten battery life...”. A quick look at the 4G / LY ‘owners manual’ didn’t mention any similar advice.

As speculation on my part, perhaps there’s an electronic module or wiring behind the GV centre console that somehow interferes with the key fob signals causing the fob battery to work harder or more often...

TL;DR While searching earlier I found some advice suggesting that some ‘smart’ key fobs can have a shortened battery life when the fob is kept within close range of certain mobile phones or the vehicle itself for prolonged periods. In these scenarios the key fob is aware of the presence of another device, so it does not enter a power-saving ‘sleep’ mode. Here, I think meaning of ‘within close range’ here is the short proximity / presence detection range of the key fob, and not the extended transmit range when a fob button is pressed. As an example, storing a spare ‘smart’ key fob inside a vehicle in the glove box can lead to an unexpected flattening of the fob battery. Phew, sorry I get side tracked too easily...
 

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I just checked both my fobs and no sign of anything flashing. In fact I can’t even see evidence of an LED. Whereabouts is it ?
 

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I just checked both my fobs and no sign of anything flashing. In fact I can’t even see evidence of an LED. Whereabouts is it ?
The led is usually only visible when pressing one of the lock buttons, on the GV remote its front left and very easily missed unless looking directly at it. There should be a mention of it in the owners handbook when its describing the fob. I am assuming your fob actually has an led.
 

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Got it. That’s probably the second time I’ve used the buttons in 18 months. The key is either in my pocket or in the faraday pouch so I never really see it.

I must get around to trying the Pano roof at some point. I retracted the blind once but that’s as far as I got.
 

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Got it. That’s probably the second time I’ve used the buttons in 18 months. The key is either in my pocket or in the faraday pouch so I never really see it.

I must get around to trying the Pano roof at some point. I retracted the blind once but that’s as far as I got.
Unless you look for it, it's hard to see isnt it?
 

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Yes. I just thought it was a cosmetic strip on the fob until I actually looked for it.
 
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