Recently, I misplaced one of the 4th gen 2015 RAM keys and wanted to have another backup. Normally replacing keys on newer vehicles has become a nightmare because of all the radio frequency sensors built into the keys and FOBs. RAM trucks have this same technology built into their FOBIK and proximity keys. Having a locksmith or dealer program a new key would easily cost $100-300. Luckily, we can program a new RAM key off Amazon at home for around $18.
Previously, I wrote about lowering the default TPMS threshold from 60/80 PSI using AlfaOBD and the BAFX OBD bluetooth scanner. This post assumes you already have a scanner, but if not, I’ve found BAFX the cheapest option at around $21 on Amazon. If you want a more capable scanner that can do advanced features like airbag SRS or anti-lock brakes ABS, you should look into getting the $139 OBDLink MX+. A scanner that reads ABS and SRS typically costs $350+ at the auto parts store. When using bluetooth car scanners, you only get the box that is capable of talking to the car. They are universal. You need an additional app from the Google Play store that supports these advanced features. In this case we are using the AlfaOBD app and it only requires an OBD reader with basic programming features to program keys or the TPMS thresholds.
Because these brands are listed in AlfaOBD, they presumably can be programmed similarly:
- 2 key FOB’s for $25 RAM 1500 2500 3500 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017
- 2 key FOB’s for $25 Chrysler 300, 2008-2020 Town and Country
- 2 key FOB’s for $25 Dodge Challenger, Charger, Grand Caravan, 2 Key FOB’s for $25 2008-2020 Grand Caravan power doors/trunk
- Jeep $33 2014-2020 Cherokee, 2 Key FOB’s for $25 2008-2010 Grand Cherokee and Commander
Step 1: Get OBD Scanner, AlfaOBD, New Key and your RAM’s PIN
In my TPMS post, I walk you through how to get all the necessary programming AlfaOBD software and OBD Scanner hardware. If you don’t have a OBD scanner that connects to an Android phone, you’ll need to add about $21 for the cheapest scanner that will work.
- Android phone with AlfaOBD – you’ll need the full verison. Cost is $49 on the Play Store, but you can also get it free by searching “AlfaOBD apk” or “AlfaOBD_126.96.36.199+Patched.apk” (as of 3/2022, latest version is 188.8.131.52). Use a website like virustotal.com to scan it first if you download it that way
- OBD Scanner – needs to be bluetooth or WiFI enabled. BAFX OBD Scanner is the cheapest at $21 or you can go upgraded to the $139 OBDLink MX+. This upgraded scanner is great if you want additional functionality reading trouble codes like airbag SRS or anti-lock brakes ABS.
- RAM Replacement Key – buy the correct version for your RAM truck. I purchased this exact $18 key FOB with lock/unlock and the panic button. It has worked amazing as my daily driver key on my 2015 RAM 2500 Tradesman. It will come with an uncut key for the doors. You can get the key blank cut at the hardware store (like Ace Hardware) by coping your original working key.
- RAM 4 digit PIN – you can get this for free at your local dealership. They only give it out at the Parts counter in person. You have to bring your ID and registration to prove ownership NOTE: as reported in the comments by Douglas, the latest version of AlfaOBD 184.108.40.206 may automatically recover your PIN
Step 2: Program FOB with AlfaOBD
If you have the following items from above, you can now go out to the truck with a working key and the new key. If done correctly, this should only take about 5 minutes tops.
- Plug in your OBD reader and turn the truck ignition to the run position (without starting) with the working key
- Turn on phone’s bluetooth and connect to OBD reader. Open AlfaOBD and press bluetooth icon, select your OBD reader. To function, I had to allow AlfaOBD permission to access files on my phone.
- Select Ram and your vehicle from the main AlfaOBD menu. Select RADIO FREQUENCY HUB(RFH) function. Select the Control Unit from the list that matches your year model. You may need to try multiple options from the Control Unit list if at first it doesn’t work.
- Press red Connect button. Once connected, press car icon in lower right corner with the open hood.
- From “Select procedure to start” menu, choose “Program Ignition FOBIKs Baseline System”
- Remove your working key and insert the new key. Leave the ignition in the OFF position.
- Enter your 4 digit PIN and press START. It will program the new key.
- Done! You can now unplug everything, remove the key. Test the lock/unlock button and try to start the truck.
If you have a proximity key with push button start, you would follow the directions in AlfaOBD for that key type. The proximity key would need to rest somewhere on the center dash by the radio to program.
You should now have programmed your new key without going to the expensive dealer or locksmith!