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2017 Volt. My wife had problems with her key fob and switched to my key fob.
I replaced the 2032 battery in her fob and tried it. It did not work. She suggested switching the batteries around to see if the new battery was defective. I did that and my key did not work. So I switched the batteries back only to find that now neither one worked. I could not open or start the car. Even after opening the door with the physical key, the car would not start.

Pulled out the owner's manual and on p 35 it describes how to reset the system to recognize a new key. This takes 30 minutes of wait time. After going through it and resetting for both keys, neither one worked.

Any suggestions? Also, every time I use the physical key to open the car, the horn alarm goes off for about 30 seconds. Any way to defeat that?
 

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When the battery in my fob got weak, I got my other fob, that had rarely been used, only to find that its battery was also dead. After replacing both batteries, they both worked as expected. I don't know why yours would not work after changing the batteries unless you mistakenly put the battery in up side down.
And I don't think there is any way to deactivate the alarm system so that you can use the physical key.
 

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You have a receiving unit (RCDLR module) in the car and that could be bad or disconnected, but I'd first try the old Gen1 trick of disconnecting the negative terminal of the 12V battery to reset all the computers. Leave disconnected for a couple minutes and try again. To stop the horn from honking while you investigate, disconnect the horn or its fuse. There might be a way to disable the alarm system in the settings (I know there are many alarm options in the Gen1).

Have you by any chance installed anything recently in the house or the vehicle that could be interfering with the signal? If the problem occurs away from the house, that would eliminate the house.
 

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The terminals in the fobs might be dirty. I've cleaned the metal contacts in my fobs when the fobs don't work using a Q-Tip and isopropyl alcohol. My fobs are 7 years old now and I've replaced the batteries once.
 

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I had a similar issue with erratic key fobs after changing batteries. I cured the problem by increasing the tension of the contacts by bending them up slightly.
 
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