How to Unlock a Volvo Vehicle Without a Remote Key Fob – Tips and Tricks

There’s no panic like realizing you’re locked out of your Volvo and your key fob is nowhere to be found. This blog post will guide you step-by-step on how to unlock your Volvo vehicle without a remote key fob, making sure you’re never left stranded again. So, buckle up, and let’s get started!

A Brief Overview

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, it’s essential to understand the significance of the Volvo remote key fob. This compact device, typically attached to a keychain, allows drivers to unlock their vehicle from a distance, enhancing both convenience and safety. Yet, even the most responsible among us can find ourselves without it.

Although losing your key fob can feel like a disaster, remember that Volvo’s ingenuity has accounted for such eventualities. So, rest assured, there are several techniques you can employ to unlock your Volvo without a remote key fob.

1. Physical Key

Physical Key

Firstly, and probably most simply, each Volvo comes with a physical key embedded inside the key fob. This is usually overlooked as modern cars have shifted to using keyless entry systems. Here’s how to access and use this lifesaver:

  1. Carefully pry open your key fob. There’s usually a small latch or groove you can use to open it.
  2. Retrieve the hidden physical key.
  3. Insert it into the keyhole (yes, your Volvo still has one!) located on the driver’s door handle.
  4. Turn the key until you hear the door unlock.

2. Volvo On Call App

Another technology at your disposal is the Volvo On Call app. This app offers a remote unlocking feature, granted your Volvo is a model released after 2012 and you have an active Volvo On Call subscription.

  1. Download the Volvo On Call app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Log in to the app using your Volvo On Call credentials.
  3. Once logged in, you’ll see a map displaying your car’s location. Tap on the car icon.
  4. A menu will appear with various options. Tap on “Unlock”.
  5. Within a minute, your car should be unlocked.

Please note that the success of this method relies heavily on the availability of a reliable internet connection and active subscription status.

3. Roadside Assistance

Call Volvo Roadside Assistance

If the first two methods aren’t options, Volvo Roadside Assistance is there for you. Available 24/7, this service is offered free of charge during the warranty period and can be extended beyond that for an annual fee.

  1. Call Volvo Roadside Assistance at 1-800-638-6586.
  2. Provide the representative with your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which can typically be found on your insurance card.
  3. The representative will confirm your details and dispatch a professional to your location to unlock your vehicle.

Remember, this method might take a bit of time as it depends on your location and the availability of assistance. 

4. Professional Locksmith

Professional Locksmith

When all else fails, it’s time to turn to a professional locksmith. Make sure to choose a locksmith who specializes in auto locks, as Volvo vehicles have complex security systems that not all locksmiths can tackle.

  1. Search for a local, reputable locksmith, either online or via a phone directory.
  2. Arrange for them to visit your location. Make sure you have your ownership documents handy as they may require proof before they start work.
  3. The locksmith will use specialized tools to safely unlock your Volvo without causing any damage.

Remember that this method may be the most costly, depending on the locksmith’s fees and the complexity of the task.

Advanced Solutions

1. Slim Jim and Big Easy Tool

Professional locksmiths and roadside assistance professionals often use tools like the Slim Jim and the Big Easy Tool to unlock cars. A Slim Jim is a thin strip of metal used to manipulate the lock from inside the door, while the Big Easy Tool acts like a long, rigid hand to open the lock from the inside.

While it’s possible to purchase these tools and use them yourself, they require practice and skill. Incorrect usage could potentially damage your vehicle’s door or trigger the side-impact airbags. Therefore, unless you’re trained in their use, it’s better to leave these tools to the professionals.

2. Key Code

Every Volvo vehicle has a key code associated with it, a series of numbers that can be used to create a new physical key. Your dealer should be able to provide you with this code if you supply them with proof of ownership and the vehicle’s identification number (VIN). However, this process can take time, and you might need to have the key shipped to you. 

3. Spare Key and Keyless Entry Pads

Spare Key and Keyless Entry Pads

It’s always a good idea to have a spare key stored safely. If you don’t already have one, consider getting a spare key made as soon as possible. A spare key can be stored in a secure location, given to a trusted family member or friend, or hidden securely on your vehicle using a magnetic box.

Some Volvo models, especially older ones, come with keyless entry keypads. These keypads allow the driver to unlock the car by inputting a security code. If your vehicle has this feature, ensure you memorize the code or store it safely.

4. Temporary Key Fob from Dealership

Your local Volvo dealership may provide a temporary key fob that can unlock and start your car. You’ll need to provide them with your VIN and proof of ownership. Keep in mind this service may come with a fee and is usually a last-resort option.

Volvo Keyless Entry Systems

Volvo Keyless Entry Systems

1. Biometric Authentication

As technology advances, so does the ease and security of accessing our vehicles. One method being explored is biometric authentication – using unique physical or behavioral characteristics to verify identity. This technology is already used in smartphones and smart homes, and it’s only a matter of time before it’s widespread in automobiles.

Imagine unlocking your Volvo with a quick scan of your fingerprint or perhaps with facial recognition or even voice commands. While these features may seem straight out of a sci-fi movie, Volvo is at the forefront of exploring these technologies, promising a future where being locked out of your car will be a thing of the past.

2. Smartphone as a Key

While the Volvo On Call app already allows you to unlock your car remotely, there is scope for more in-depth integration. Volvo is researching how a smartphone could completely replace a traditional key or key fob.

This means more than just remote unlocking – your smartphone could act as a digital key, even communicating with your vehicle as you approach, automatically unlocking the doors and setting up your preferred in-car settings like seat position, climate control, and personal music choices. You can even start your engine with the remote key app if you wish so.

3. Shared Access and Digital Keys

As we move towards a more connected and shared economy, the need for physical keys decreases. Imagine being able to share access to your Volvo with family members or friends through their smartphones or temporarily giving access to a valet or mechanic as needed.

Volvo is working on digital keys and shared access technology, allowing owners to grant access to their Volvo with time and feature limitations. This capability provides a flexible solution for families, businesses, or even car rental and car-sharing services.

4. Vehicle Communication Systems

As part of a connected vehicle ecosystem, your Volvo could communicate with various devices around it. You could have a smart home system that communicates with your vehicle, unlocking it as you step out of your front door, or a smartwatch that authenticates your identity and unlocks your car as you approach.

Closing Thoughts

Losing your Volvo key fob doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With the above steps, you’re now well-equipped to unlock your vehicle and carry on with your day. However, always ensure you have a spare key fob and remember where it’s stored to avoid future lockouts. 

In the words of the Swedish proverb, “Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.”  Safe driving, and remember to keep track of that key fob!