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BMW Remote Key Slot Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW Remote Key Slot Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Phillips & flathead

Applicable Models:

BMW E90 3-Series (2006-11)
BMW E91 3-Series (2006-12)
BMW E92 3-Series (2007-13)
BMW E93 3-Series (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Key Slot

Hot Tip:

Work carefully when handling the ribbon cable harness.

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty key slot

Complementary Modification:

Replace Start Stop switch

The remote key slot replaces the ignition lock cylinder on 3-Series models prior to E90. It is a slot, or docking station in the dashboard for the key. The key slot works as the ignition switch, notifying the car access module the key is inserted, then pressing the Start Stop switch turns the ignition ON. The key slot tends to wear out over time and can be easily replaced. When the key slot fails, you will remove your key from the slot and the instrument cluster will illuminate showing the key is still in the slot. The key slot should hold the key in place until you eject it, but as it wears the key can be removed with the slot still engaged. Therefore, creating the false key in ignition warning.

In this tech article I will go over how to replace the remote key slot on BMW E90 vehicles.

This photo shows the key light on in the instrument cluster with the key removed from the key slot.
Figure 1

This photo shows the key light on in the instrument cluster with the key removed from the key slot. (green arrows) This is what to look for if you suspect your key slot to be faulty.

Working at the key slot, lever out the trim cover using a plastic prying tool.
Figure 2

Working at the key slot, lever out the trim cover using a plastic prying tool. The cover is held in by three retaining tabs, you'll want to lever at each side of it to detach it.

The green arrows point to the retaining tabs you have to detach from the key slot.
Figure 3

The green arrows point to the retaining tabs you have to detach from the key slot.

Next you have to remove two T20 Torx fasteners.
Figure 4

Next you have to remove two T20 Torx fasteners. (green arrows)

Next up you have to remove the dashboard trim strip.
Figure 5

Next up you have to remove the dashboard trim strip. This will allow you to disconnect the ribbon cable at the Start Stop switch, making it easier to remove the key slot. Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the hazard switch, lever at top and bottom of switch.

Next, pull the hazard switch far enough out of dashboard to access electrical connector.
Figure 6

Next, pull the hazard switch far enough out of dashboard to access electrical connector.

Disconnect electrical connector by pulling straight out of switch.
Figure 7

Disconnect electrical connector by pulling straight out of switch. Remove switch from dashboard.

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out dashboard trim.
Figure 8

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out dashboard trim. Start at passenger side and slowly work your way down toward steering wheel.

Next, with trim removed, disconnect Start Stop Switch electrical connector by squeezing release tabs (green arrows) and pulling off.
Figure 9

Next, with trim removed, disconnect Start Stop Switch electrical connector by squeezing release tabs (green arrows) and pulling off. Leave ribbon cable in place for now.

Now that the dashboard trim panel is out of the way, you can remove the key slot from the dashboard.
Figure 10

Now that the dashboard trim panel is out of the way, you can remove the key slot from the dashboard. It should pull straight out of dashboard far enough to disconnect the electrical connector. I find most times it gets stuck on the metal retaining tabs on the right side. (green arrows) If this is the case, use a small flathead screwdriver to press the metal tabs toward the key slot, then pull the start stop switch out of dashboard far enough to access electrical connector.

Disconnect key slot electrical by pressing the release tabs and pulling connector off.
Figure 11

Disconnect key slot electrical by pressing the release tabs and pulling connector off.

To install, first connect electrical connector to new key slot.
Figure 12

To install, first connect electrical connector to new key slot. Then feed ribbon cable into dashboard and up into hole for Start Stop switch, as shown in photo. Remaining items are installed in reverse order of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Edvinas LTU Comments: hey. i put my key in to a key slot and it do not accept any key. i have tried and a key form different e90. i was looking for problems with autel diagnostic and again nothing... instrument cluster shows nothing :/ what can i do more?
October 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: May be a fault with the CAS or key slot. I would scan the vehicle using an advanced BMW scan tool. There is likely a fault code the Autel can't see. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
amy Comments: I have a 2006 BMW-530XI. It just happens today that the key does not stay in the key slot and there is an error message with yellow key crossed out sign. I tried both of my key FOBs and they kept falling out. How to find out whether the key slot itself was wore out, or whether someone broke it? I let my brother borrow my car yesterday.
February 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume it is the key slot if both keys pop out. You can check for fault codes using a bMW scan tool. If no codes are present, it is likely a mechanical issue with the key slot. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
seth Comments: need a spare key for my 325 s1 2009 model
January 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Marty Comments: Managed to change my key slot without removing hazard light or any other trim. Using just a couple of screwdrivers. 😀
Your site helped me both diagnose and fix problem 👍 keep up the good work
November 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Frank Comments: Do i need to take the keys to the dealer so i can get them programmed - Many thanks
November 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, or a shop with an advanced BMW scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Frank Comments: do u need to program the new key slot or reprogram the key so the key can work with the new key slot .... thank u
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: GOing by memory, only the keys have to be programmed, not the slot. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
frank Comments: do u need to program the new key slot or reprogram the key
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: GOing by memory, only the keys have to be programmed, not the slot. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jonofast4s Comments: will this part work on the right hand drive version of the car?

November 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The article may, but not sure on the part. You will need to check with your vehicle VIN and the part number. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
335I Comments: wow i just had my lockl assembly replace at nalley bmw on decatur st, in Atlanta they charged me 339.00 for a 30mins job just totally ripped me off, and to see this guide that is such a simple repair just makes me sick
November 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I wouldn't say they ripped you off. Working on your own vehicle saves a lot of money, mostly due to lack of overhead. No insurance, rent, benefits, taxes, employees, expertise, tools, etc etc. next time, check here first and see if maybe we have something that may save you time and money. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
2006 bimmer Comments: I have 2006 bmw 325 xi wagon key symbol comes on dash plus I replace alternator and starter still dash lights flicker car goes dead what could be problem
November 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A faulty battery cable. I would voltage drop the battery cables. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mcmho Comments: Hi, question, if I am only replacing the key slot with a new one and
not replacing the old ribbon cable, do I have to remove the dashboard trim strip?

I am guessing I don't have to, right?
October 8, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't know how else you would get to the connector, the strip has to come off. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Liscod Comments: Thanks for the info but facing problem nearest dealer that can read codes is 3 hours away and car isn't running currently.
September 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: maybe check with an independent shop. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Liscod Comments: I have an 08 335xi, I too have had the key with slash through it. Tried both keys happened suddenly. Had mechanic take it apart and he assumed it was the key holding part. Ordered it and hooked it up. Now it still won't work. You can wiggle it some and the car will start every now and then. Starting to think maybe the plug? Any suggestions?
September 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need to check the vehicle for fault codes to see what is set. If the key is at fault, a code will be stored noting that. It could be the slot as well. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
julie Comments: How to replace battery in key fob for 2006 325i?
May 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you have comfort access, the rear cover slides off once the emergency key is removed. If you do not have comfort access, the battery is not replaceable. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MarcusT Comments: Hi i just recieved a similar part for my e87 slightly different. should the key fob lock into the slot before it is installed ? The key is not locking into the part i have purchased and i don't want to replace the old one if this one is faulty too. Thanks
May 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't believe so. However, I have never tried. I think the locking is an electrical function. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tom Comments: There is nothing wrong with the keys. The only problem is that the In-dash key holder does not take in the key. If the key is pushed and held, the car starts. Once the car starts it works normally, but the key does not stay in the key holder.
April 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You tired a second key and the warning light is ON?

To be sure, you will need to read the fault codes using a BMW scan tool. Otherwise you are guessing. The light you have means the key is wrong. At this point some testing needs to be performed. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tom Comments: I have a 2006 330i. As of today, the keyless remote malfuntion is showing with a yellow key crossed out sign. I could enter the car the key works for entry & locks but the key did not go all the way into the slot. If the key is pushed in half way, the car can be started and now the car runs without the key in the slot. Is this also a "in-dash key holder" or remote key slot issue? Please help!
April 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That message means the vehicle has detected the wrong remote key. Do you have a second key to try? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Big G Comments: Actually no.it was baught at a bmw junkyard.it was cheaper.it came with the whole peace wich i installed perfectly but none responce.could it be the battery to remote is dead?
February 5, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If that key is not for your vehicle, it will not work. As far as the key slot, I don't have any experience with installing a used one. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Big G Comments: I just did everything step by step and it shows the key sign with a check over it and it won't start the car. Must it be programmed or what?
February 3, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The key isn't being read. Did you use a new part? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gene Comments: Can this be done by just "Working at the key slot, lever out the trim cover using a plastic prying tool. The cover is held in by three retaining tabs, you’ll want to lever at each side of it to detach it." AND not removing any other trim piece?
January 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, you need to have access to the connector. The other panel has to come off. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Eddie Comments: Hi. That was some great info. Thank you. But I have one question. Once the key slot is changed. Does the car have to be recoded? Once again thank you.
December 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not for the key slot. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Duain23 Comments: I have a 06 BMW 325i. My key slot just does not completely eject the key. I has happened a few times. How would I check the power and ground to the key slot. Thanks for your help!
November 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need a DVOm and a wiring diagram. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the wiring diagram.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Duain23 Comments: My key has got stuck a few times. Every now an then when I turn the car off the key will not eject and car acts like it lost power. so I have to just open the door then shut the door Then the car acts normal and I can eject the key. Do you think if I replaced mine this will fix this problem.
November 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle you have. Most times when the slot if faulty, it does not hold the key securely, it will come out will little effort. Your issue could also be the slot, it would be worth checking power and ground to the key slot. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dmacc Comments: Just replaced my key slot. Simple job made super easy by these instructions. Thanks
November 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Marina Comments: Hi where abouts are you guys located?
October 27, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Los Angeles County, California.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/pelican/2pelicans.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BFR mechanic Comments: Great instructions, just finished the job in 40 minutes and saved over $200
October 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
KtMc Comments: Is this the part number for this project? It wasn't specifically called "remote key slot"

Part #: 66-12-9-172-371-M9
Ignition Lock Assembly - In-Dash Key Holder
July 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: SOunds right. To be sure; Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Drog2220 Comments: Awesome write up! Replaced quickly and saved a bunch of $$$! Thanks!
June 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ketts Comments: Thanks for the guide guys, Sandal BMW in Huddersfield UK quoted over £220 to replace mine so got the part from them for £61 and followed your guide which was more than helpful and half an hour later was fully replaced with all trim back and car started, may I add the robbers there told me it also needed coding to the car which was obviously a lie in case anyone else has the same problem
April 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback, glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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