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If you own a 4th generation Toyota 4Runner, you should have received a number of key fobs and keyless entry remotes with the car. If you’re not the original owner, then these should have been passed onto you. These key fobs and keyless entry remotes are programmed to a specific vehicle using a specific programming sequence. Dealerships will charge a hefty fee for doing so, but the fact is that any owner can do it by themselves easily and for free. The only cost would be for the purchase of the remote and key fob.
The price of the keyless remote and key fob can be quite pricey if you purchase from the Toyota dealership, however there are many aftermarket options available—and at very low cost. Depending on where you source your key fob or remote from, there is a large variability in quality. I’m providing my experience with different aftermarket keyless entry remotes and key fobs, which hopefully can help you if you’re trying to make a better decision with your choice of purchasing one.
Toyota OEM Keyless Remotes and Key Fobs
OEM, stock, genuine, whatever you want to call it, these are the original keys and remotes you’d get with your vehicle, originally coming from the dealership.
OEM Keyless Remote
The OEM remote will be the best quality key fob you will be able to buy. The internals are very high quality, the remote itself has a nice build and feels very sturdy, and it just lasts a long time. The problem? It costs a lot new. Even if you purchased it used, you might still be paying twice the price of an aftermarket one. Still, you’ll be getting a better quality remote than most any aftermarket remotes out there.
The Achille’s heel of this remote of the key ring loop that is plastic and will eventually break off from typical use. There are some key fob protectors that help with this issue such as the pricey AJT Design ones.
OEM Keyless remote: 89742-35050
OEM Key Fob
The OEM key fob is also a tried-and-true key fob that uses a transponder to allow the car to start, if it is programmed to the vehicle. If you get a new OEM key fob, it comes in blank key form. It will still need to be cut for your vehicle.
Aftermarket Keyless Entry Remotes
The first time I purchased a replacement, I bought an aftermarket remote on Amazon. This remote was decent quality, but it definitely felt non-OEM. I’ve used this remote for several years with it working usually without any issues. After those several years though, the remote started to work less and less often, until the point it suddenly completely stopped working (even with a new battery.)
It turns out that the solder joint for the battery came loose, and it would require me to re-solder in order for this remote to work properly again. If you compare the battery holder setup on this aftermarket key versus the OEM key, you’ll notice that the aftermarket one is of mediocre quality. The OEM just has a much more substantial holder and connection. Also, the battery in the aftermarket remote uses a CR2025, rather than the OEM remote using the 2016 size. The 2025 is a slightly thicker battery.
Below is a comparison of the OEM Toyota remote entry key (left) and an aftermarket (right).
More recently, I purchased a couple more aftermarket remote entry keys on Ebay from member vap-autoparts. I expected these remotes to be identical to the aftermarket remote that I received in the past on Amazon. I was wrong, they were completely different looking. In fact, the two that I purchased together as a set, weren’t even identical to each other. In fact, they are quite different both inside and out.
Differences (left v. right):
- white lettering v. darkened lettering
- very slight appearance differences on back, panic button seats better in one, slightly crooked on other (missing rubber pad)
- battery CR2016 v CR2032
- circuit board appears to be completely different from one another
I was completely unhappy with these aftermarket remotes from Ebay. I couldn’t even get one to work at all, even with a battery replacement. I was able to program the other successfully however.
To sum up the aftermarket remotes you’ll find online, you’ll find a large variety of builds but they just won’t compare to the robustness of the OEM remote. However, for the most part, they do program successfully and they do work at least for a few years in experience. They feel a bit light and cheaper in the hand, but that’s you are getting with an aftermarket remote that is a fraction of the price of an OEM remote.
2-in-1 Combination Remote/Key Fob
Another option for the keyless entry remote and key fob is to purchase an aftermarket 2-in-1 key fob. This will still require you to have a locksmith cut the blank key and also program the remote for your vehicle. This is a nice option as it combines the separate remote and key into one easy-to-manage package.
There are several styles out there that I’ve seen for the 4th generation Toyota 4Runner, one which has a fold-out key and another that doesn’t. Either way, make sure you purchase the right one. It will need to have the 4D-67 chip for the transponder key, and the same code for your remote (in my case it had the code HYQ12BAN stamped on the back).