Buick Encore Owners & Service Manuals

Buick Encore: Remote functions - Description and operation

Buick Encore 2012-2019 Service Manual / Accessories & Equipment / Remote Functions / Remote functions - Description and operation


The keyless entry system is a vehicle entry device. The keyless entry system is used in conjunction with the door locks to unlock the vehicle. Keyless entry will lock/unlock the vehicle doors or open the rear compartment lid when a corresponding button on the keyless entry transmitter is pressed. This is accomplished by the transmitter sending a radio frequency to the remote control door lock receiver antenna that has a direct link to the body control module (BCM). The BCM interprets the signal and activates the requested function or request the appropriate control module to activate the function via a serial data message. A low transmitter battery or radio frequency interference from aftermarket devices, such as 2-way radios, power inverters, computers, etc., may cause a system malfunction. High radio frequency traffic areas, such as gas stations that use pay-at-thepump radio frequency transponders, may also cause interference that could lead to a malfunction. Keyless entry allows you to operate the following features:

  • Door lock/unlock
  • Liftgate lock/unlock, if equipped
  • Trunk release, if equipped
  • Power liftgate, if equipped
  • Panic alarm/vehicle locator
  • Remote vehicle starting, if equipped

The keyless entry system has the following components:

  • Keyless entry transmitters
  • Body control module
  • Remote control door lock receiver

Keyless Entry Transmitters

NOTE: When the vehicle key is in the ignition, keyless entry functions from all keyless entry transmitter are disabled.

The keyless entry transmitters are used to perform various entry functions while away from the immediate are of the vehicle. Keyless entry functions may work at up to 20 m (65 ft) away from the vehicle. Ambient conditions may affect the performance of the keyless entry transmitter and reduce the range at which keyless entry functions operate. Up to eight transmitters may be programmed to a single vehicle. The keyless entry transmitter is an integral part of the vehicle key.

OnStar Remote Link (if equipped)

A vehicle operator may have the ability to perform some of the keyless entry functions using applications on personal devices such as a smart phone. Unwanted or inadvertent door lock/unlock activation may be requested by the OnStar Remote Link application. It is possible that a customer may be unaware of account usage, resulting in an unwanted or phantom door lock/unlock. If normal system diagnosis results in an inability to verify the customer's concern, contact Technical Assistance Center (TAC).

Body Control Module (BCM)

The BCM is a multifunction module that operates the keyless entry system. When a radio frequency message is received from a keyless entry transmitter, the BCM interprets this signal and performs the specific function, i.e.

door lock, door unlock, or vehicle locate.

Remote Control Door Lock Receiver

The remote control door lock receiver acts as an antenna for the keyless entry system and communicates with the BCM through a dedicated serial data link. When a button is pressed on a keyless entry transmitter, the remote control door lock receiver receives this signal and sends the request to the BCM. The BCM interprets the signal and performs the specific function, i.e. door lock, door unlock, or vehicle locate.

Unlock Doors

Momentarily press the transmitter UNLOCK button in order to perform the following functions:

  • Unlock only the driver door or all doors and liftgate (if equipped); this is customized through the driver information center.
  • Illuminate the interior lamps for a determined length of time or until the ignition is turned ON.
  • Flash the exterior lights; this is customized through the driver information center.
  • Disarm the content theft deterrent system, if equipped.
  • Deactivate the content theft deterrent system when in the alarm mode.

Lock All Doors

Press the transmitter LOCK button to perform the following functions:

  • Lock all vehicle doors.
  • Immediately turn OFF the interior lamps.
  • Flash the exterior lights and/or sound the horn; this is customized through the driver information center.
  • Arm the content theft deterrent system.

Trunk Release, if equipped

Press the trunk release button on the transmitter to open the trunk.

Power Liftgate, if equipped

Press and hold the power liftgate button to perform the following functions:

  • Open or close the liftgate using the power liftgate function.
  • Flash the tail lamps.
  • Sound the interior power liftgate chime.

Vehicle Locator/Panic Alarm

A single press of the panic button performs the following functions. Some functions may be dependent on personalization settings:

  • Pulse the horn three times.
  • Flash the exterior lamps three times.

A press and hold of the panic button performs the following functions:

Illuminate the interior lamps.

Pulse the horn and flash the exterior lamps for 30 seconds or until the following conditions occur:

  • The panic button is pressed.
  • The ignition switch is turned to the RUN position with a valid key.

Remote Vehicle Start, if equipped

The remote vehicle start function allows engine starting while not in the vehicle. It also allows the vehicle HVAC system and other vehicle systems to enable, providing a comfortable vehicle upon entry. The remote vehicle start sequence begins by pressing and releasing the lock button and then pressing and holding the remote vehicle start buttons on the keyless entry transmitter. The turn signal lamps will illuminate to indicate the vehicle has received the remote start request. Each time a remote vehicle start is performed, the vehicle doors are locked, however they may then be unlocked/locked with the transmitter at any time. Only the first and second vehicle transmitters are able to control the remote vehicle start function. Any additional remote transmitters programmed to the vehicle will perform all other remote functions. Once activated, the engine is allowed to run for 10 minutes. The remote vehicle start time may be extended by an additional 10 minutes by again pressing and releasing the lock button and then pressing and holding the remote vehicle start buttons on the transmitter. This feature is called a remote vehicle start continue and allows a maximum of 20 minutes of engine running. If the remote vehicle start continue is performed at 7 minutes into the initial 10 minute timeout, a total of 17 minutes of engine running would occur. The remote vehicle start event may be suspended at any time by pressing only the remote vehicle start button on the transmitter or by entering the vehicle and turning ON the hazard lamps.

In between ignition cycles, only two remote vehicle start events may occur or be attempted. Once two events or attempts have been made, future remote vehicle start events will be suspended until the vehicle is started using the ignition.

Enable/Disable Remote Vehicle Start

Using the driver information center, remote vehicle start may be enabled or disabled as a part of vehicle personalization. Refer to the vehicle owners manual for more information.

Hood Ajar Switch

The hood switch provides status of the hood to the BCM for remote vehicle start purposes. The switch is integrated into the hood latch assembly.

Remote Vehicle Start Circuit Description

The BCM receives a signal from the keyless entry transmitter indicating a remote vehicle start request. A message is then sent to the BCM which determines if a crank request message will be sent to the ECM to allow engine starting. To determine if conditions are correct for a remote vehicle start event, the BCM will ensure the following conditions are met:

  • A valid hood ajar switch closed signal is present.
  • The doors are locked.
  • The low fuel warning light is off.
  • The hazard switch is OFF.
  • The vehicle power mode is correct.
  • No content theft deterrent alarm triggers are present.

When the BCM determines all conditions meet those required for a remote vehicle start event, a message is sent via serial data to the ECM. The ECM relies on the remote vehicle start message from the BCM to enable remote vehicle start when the crank request signal is received. If the ECM does not receive a valid remote vehicle start message, it will not attempt to start the engine. While the ECM is in remote vehicle start mode it will suspend engine operation if any of the following additional conditions occur:

  • Vehicle speed is greater than 0
  • Transmission is not in PARK
  • Excessive engine coolant temperature
  • Low oil pressure
  • The malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) is commanded ON
  • Engine crank time is greater than 30 seconds
  • Excessive engine speed
  • Accelerator pedal position too high
  • Remote start timer equals 0
  • Immobilizer system indicates tamper

Keyless Entry Personalization

Vehicle lock/unlock functions and remote vehicle start settings may be personalized. For functional descriptions and personalization instructions, refer to the vehicle owners manual.


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