Question about 1998 Ford Explorer

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I HAVE A 98 FORD EXPLORER THAT WILL ONLY START WIITH ONE OF TWO KEYS AND THEN ONLY SOMETIMES. COULD IT BE A PROBLEM WITH THE CHIP IN THE KEY COMMUNICATING WITH THE COMPUTERS ANTI-THEFT MODULE?

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  • Anonymous Dec 14, 2008

    I had the same problem with my explorer, and yes it probably is one of those keys. You will need to take your car and all the keys you have for it to a Ford authorized dealership so they can check your keys to make sure they are PATS keys, which is fords anti-theft key/ignition system. They may need to reset the computer in your car and then reprogram all of your keys (if they are PATS keys, if one is a valet key that may also be the problem). If it is a valet key, this key does not have a chip inside it, then your car may be thinking someone is trying to steal it. Call a Ford dealership and ask if they have the diagnostics computers to check your PATS system and keys. Good luck.

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    Since u have only one working key U will need to have the Ford dealer hook a Ford only peice of electronic test equip and program new keys, cost is about $170

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  • 66 Answers

That's a very good posibility. If the anti-theft light flashes rapidly when you try to start the car with the suspect key, you will need to have a dealer program the keys. Good Luck and please leave rating.

Posted on Jan 05, 2009

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LADY WITH THE 98 EXPLORER THAT ONLY STARTS SOMETIMES


Make sure that both or all your keys are Ford and not cut from a hardware store or someplace else. You may have one bad key with a bad chip in it or a key that is not programmed. I have seen this many times. Try your keys one at a time and see if you can find the bad one. Go to Ford or a locksmith that can program them and it should be fine.

Jan 21, 2009 | 1998 Ford Explorer

1 Answer

1996 ford explorer anti theft system


Yes I agree it's the 'smart key'. Normally when you buy an explorer new, you will get 3 keys. 1 of the keys is a valet key.
If you were to copy another key that has a smart chip (transponder) in it, the new key won't work until you 'program' the third (new) key. To program it you need the original 2 keys that work.
The only other thing could be that there was a remote start in the vehicle and there could be something wrong with the module that bypasses the transponder. If there is a remote start in the vehicle you might be lucky to some extent if it still works.
If you move the shifter hard and it worked before, like you said, there could also be damage to the wires that goto the key cylinder, the reciever for the transponder in the key. Try having someone hold the key in start and use the tilt wheel, that too will tell you theres damaged wires if it starts.
Unfortunately you probably will have to bring the vehicle to a ford dealer to get additional keys programmed or the damaged part replaced.
It shouldn't cost too, too much. Just be glad you don't have a Saab, replacement key's are $145 Ea!
If your inclined, you can dissassemble the plastic shroud around the steering column and look for damaged wires coming from the black ring around the key down the the connector under the dash.

Jul 10, 2008 | 1998 Ford Explorer

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