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How to Add Keyless Entry System for Classic Cars

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Owning an old or classic car is a delightful experience, but what if you could add a touch of modern convenience to enhance your driving pleasure?

Imagine being able to lock and unlock your car doors and trunk without fumbling for keys.

Keyless entry kits offer not only convenience but also protect your paint job from potential scratches around the keyhole.

Contrary to common belief, adding this feature to your classic car is surprisingly simple and cost-effective.

What do we mean by "Keyless Entry"?

Before talking about the step-by-step installation guide later in this article, let’s understand what keyless entry technology entails and how it can benefit older car owners.

 In today’s advanced automotive landscape, keyless entry allows you to lock and unlock your car doors without physically inserting a key.

A simple click on your key fob suffices to control your car’s access, bringing modern convenience to classic rides.

add keyless entry to car

Keyless Entry and Remote Keyless Entry. What's the difference?

Keyless entry car kits offer a simplified version of these two types of systems. With keyless entry, there’s no need to pull out a key to enter your car.

Various methods of security, such as keypads, cards, key fob readers, touchscreens, or fingerprint scanners, replace traditional keys.

On the other hand, remote keyless entry detects your key fob within a certain range, unlocking the door when you touch the handle.

Remote keyless entry modules often provide additional functionalities, such as remote starting, and operate through encrypted radio signals.

The advantages of the Keyless Entry system

Installing a keyless entry system provides numerous benefits. Apart from the obvious convenience of opening your vehicle without reaching for the door locks, keyless entry allows quick access during inclement weather and ensures that you never forget to lock your car doors.

It’s considered an advanced safety feature that can benefit drivers of all ages. Additionally, the system can prevent car theft when the vehicle is left opened, safeguarding your belongings stored inside the vehicle.

Apart from basic locking and unlocking, hindering thieves from easily ripping off your car, a remote keyless entry  offers additional capabilities, such as starting the car without being inside, opening the trunk and other compartments remotely, and even controlling windows while driving.

Tools Required to Install a Keyless Entry System

To successfully install your older car with a keyless entry, you’ll need specific tools and materials like:
  • Wire stripper
  • Wire crimper
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire connectors
  • Crimping pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Considering investing in a wrench set with metric and English sizes can also be beneficial for the installation process.

    How to install Keyless Entry to a car: A Step by step Guide

    Follow these simple DIY steps to install car keyless entry:

    Step #1: Find your car diagram. Locate the wiring diagram specific to your car model, which contains information about the wiring system.

    Step #2: Remove the panel underneath the dash and steering column. Gain access to the wiring system by removing the panel, ensuring careful identification of color-coded wires.

    Step #3: Prepare the wires needed for installation. Refer to the keyless entry module manual for information on required wires, ensuring proper identification and securing of unused wires.

    Step #4: Find your constant power wire. Identify and strip a small portion of the constant power wire (usually red), attaching it to the keyless entry module. Use a multimeter to verify the voltage.

    Step #5: Connect your car keyless entry kit to the proper wire. Ground the black wire of the keyless entry module to a metal piece underneath the dash. Connect the remaining wires to their designated counterparts, considering potential unused wires.

    Step #6: Test your car keyless entry before cleaning up. Ensure proper functionality by testing the system with the provided key fobs. If successful, reassemble the dash and steering column panels.

    What is a Passive Keyless Entry?

    Don’t get confused. Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) simply eliminates the need for pressing buttons to unlock the doors automatically.

    This system operates automatically based on your proximity to the vehicle. VAIS Technology Smart Entry-Exit Recognition (SEER) is a system that embodies sophisticated passive keyless entry technology, providing a convenient and hands-free experience.


    Car keyless entry systems serve as valuable additions to old cars, offering unparalleled convenience and ease of use.

    While the installation process is not overly complex, those unsure of their DIY abilities can always seek assistance from an auto shop.

    However, for the adventurous DIYers, following the outlined tools and steps in this article can bring modern functionality to your classic ride, enhancing both its charm and practicality.

    Curious about the original details, features, engine and transmission of any classic car? Find out by getting our accurate build sheet for classic cars now!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Certainly, it’s completely doable to integrate a remote keyless entry system into a classic or muscle car. This upgrade is highly rewarding, providing modern security and convenience. The installation is straightforward, bringing your vintage vehicle up to contemporary standards effortlessly

    The expense of adding a keyless power door lock varies based on the type and whether you do it yourself or hire help. According to LawnStarter, Professional installation costs around $330 (CAD 440), covering the lock and labor. DIYers spend less with just the lock, a screwdriver, and time needed.

    If your car features keyless entry, it probably includes a key fob with buttons for locking and unlocking doors. The presence of such buttons indicates keyless entry. Some systems also have a button to start the vehicle. Check the car’s window sticker online or consult the manufacturer or dealership for confirmation. 

    There are three methods to star a keyless car without a remote:

    1. Use a key code
    2. Use a remote starter or
    3. Use a screwdriver
    4. Use a smartphone app (available for some car manufacturers)

    Simply think of a system designed to lock and unlock doors while keeping the original door latches and handles intact.

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