The moral to this story: if you’re experiencing any of the following issues, push the metal key into the charging port to fix it.
- Cannot detect key message
- Replace battery in key message
- Ignition button not working (or dead)*
- Keyless car entry, doors won’t unlock
*Unrelated, on one occasion the car battery was dead and needed replacing.
Issues related to key battery
Getting into my Holden CRUZE and pressing the ignition (button), a message on the screen said it could not detect a key.
We have an Australian JH CRUZE Series 2 with keyless entry and keyless start button together with a flip-out key.
I’ll be honest and say I didn’t know what to do next.
- how to start the car when the electric button wasn’t working
- how to lock/unlock the doors with the key
I called the emergency service* number which came free with the car, and was told they would be there shortly.
A man walking past asked if I needed assistance? When I explained the problem, he said that he might be able to help.
Even though he didn’t have a Holden Cruze, he had struck a similar issue with his car.
He located a plug (hole) in the center console that had a black plastic cover protecting it. With his fingernail, out came the cover and then he inserted my metal key into the plug hole.
He explained it was a battery charging point built into new model vehicles, and that shortly the key would activate again. True to his word, 3 minutes later the car system recognised the newly charged key and the car started again. I left the key plugged in during the drive home and assume it’s now fully charged.
Interestingly, there is no mention of the charging point in the JH CRUZE Series 11 Handbook (Page 18 – Keys doors and windows).
Under Fault (Page 19), it suggests to replace the battery if the central locking cannot be operated, and then explains how to open the key unit and replace a CR2032 battery, but there is no mention of the charging point.
Months later the battery in the key died completely. It would not open the doors (electric) or enable the push-button ignition to work, in fact, nothing would happen when I pushed the ignition button, it was dead as a dodo.
Not realising how easy it was to replace the battery, I figured out how to do it manually. Open the doors with the flip-out key in the keyhole in the door handle. Start the car by sliding the metal key into the console charging point, wait 15 seconds, push the ignition button, slight pause and then it starts.
* I called the emergency service back and cancelled the call-out. They were thrilled that I had called back, saying that 99% of the time people do not call back.
- See below for pictures of the charging hole in the console
- How to replace a Holden Cruze Battery