Cadillac Dead Key Fob Help: Part I, Getting In

Getting into Your Cadillac

Retrieving the mechanical key

Cadillac vehicles use three key GM Key Style 1fob (remote control or ‘clicker’) styles, and two (GM Styles 1 and 3) have mechanical keys embedded inside. That key will be used to unlock the driver’s door or the trunk (yes, the trunk) and in some cases to remove a piece of the car!

If your vehicle is the XLR Coupe, a mechanical key is provided separately. Be sure to keep it around!


For Style 1 (above right), press the thin button near the bottom of the transmitter (remote control or ‘clicker’) used to remove the mechanical key. Do not pull the mechanical key out without pressing the button.

GM Style 3The Style 3 key fob is similar to Style 1, in that the mechanical key is removed from the fob for use getting into the vehicle. To remove the mechanical key, press the button on the side of the transmitter near the key ring, as shown, and pull out the key.

If a key hole is visible at the back of the driver’s door handle, simply insert the key and turn and you’re in.

Getting Inside

GM Lock Cover RemoveMany GM models hide the key holes under a cap at the back of the driver’s door. They include the Cadillac CTS, XTS (see below as well) and ATS. To remove the cap, pull the door handle out to the open position. Insert the key into the slot on the bottom of the cap (3, right). Push it as far upwards as possible and hold upward pressure. Then pry outward. And yes, you WILL feel like you are prying off a piece of your car! Move the cap rearward revealing the key cylinder. Now the mechanical key can be used in the cylinder. Look for a video here to help.

To replace the cap, insert the two tabs at the back of the cap between the black seal and the metal base. Pull the door handle out to the door open position and move the cap forward and press to snap it into place. You can then release the door handle.

Cadillac, in the Escalade, adds a new wrinkle to the hidden Escalade Cylinder Capkey hole syndrome. The cylinder is hidden in the same place and manner, but the cap is a thin, 1/8 of an inch. To remove it, the door handle must be pulled fully open. Then, push the cap towards the handle to release it. It will take a bit of force to accomplish this. See two videos here.


IMPORTANT! The Cadillac XTS uses both types of caps to hide the key holes shown above. Look or feel for a slot as described with the first cap. If its there, follow the first instructions. If there is no slot, follow the instructions for the Escalade.

Replacing it is a simple matter of reversing the removal process and simpler than the process needed for the old style.

GM Lock Cover RemoveIn the middle of the 2017 model year, the Escalade, while retaining the hidden key hole, was shifted to the method shown previously. So, starting in 2017, look for a slot beneath the cap. If its there, use the key as described above. Push it into the slot as far upwards as possible, then pry outward. Move the cap rearward revealing the key cylinder.

Now the mechanical key can be used in the cylinder. We have a video here as well to help.

Remember, getting IN the car is most important. If you have difficulty replacing the cap, don’t. Let your dealer do it when you get a new battery for your Key FOB!

Coupe_flush_handleFinally the CTS, XLR and ELR Coupes have flush door handles (left image) with no key holesCTS ELR open handle at all. They have a very different trick up their sleeves.

You must use the mechanical key to open the trunk. The key hole is under the lip of the trunk lid facing the ground.

Once open, you will find a release handle. It is below the forward lip of the trunk (right). Pulling the door release lever will unlock as well as unlatch the driver’s door.

We have two videos for coupes here.

Related: Getting Out!

Continue to Starting Instructions …


* Keep these instructions with you in our Dead Key FOB App. Search “Dead Key FOB” at your device’s store or click here.


Permanent link to this article: