How To Unlock a GMC Sierra Without Keys

GMC keyless entry is a convenient feature available for every generation of Sierra. The fob keys used to remotely open and close doors tend to get broken or misplaced, so in this guide, we’ll focus on the easiest ways to program a new remote.

The process will likely work for Chevrolet Silverado as well since it shares its platform with the Sierra. In 1998, GMC changed their truck nomenclature from C/K to Sierra, which is why Sierra starts at the second generation and stays ahead of Silverado.

Fifth Generation Sierra / Fourth Generation Silverado (2019 – )

The latest Sierra is a feature-rich, luxury truck. The fob key has many functionalities, such as rolling the windows, folding mirrors, and remote start.

To program an additional fob key, or remote, follow these steps:

  1. Separate the operational remote from the key, and place it on the passenger seat.
  2. Step outside the truck, close the driver’s door and insert the conventional key into the lock.
  3. Rotate the key counter-clockwise 5 times in smooth, quick succession. Dashboard display should indicate that the vehicle is ready to accept a new remote.
  4. Place the new remote in the transmitter slot located inside the center storage area, between front seats.
  5. Press the Start/Stop button. Dashboard display will confirm that the new remote has been memorized.
  6. Take the new remote out of the transmitter slot and test it out. Connect the key with the remote of your choice.

If you don’t have a functioning remote, you’ll have to use an alternative method:

  1. If you have a non-functioning remote, separate it from the key.
  2. With the driver’s door closed, insert the conventional key into the lock.
  3. Rotate the key counter-clockwise 5 times in smooth, quick succession. Dashboard display should indicate that it’s in remote learn mode.
  4. Wait until the display tells you to press the Start/Stop button. It should take around 10 minutes.
  5. Press the Start/Stop button, and the display will go back into remote learn mode. Repeat the process two additional times, until you’ve pressed Start/Stop a total of 3 times.
  6. All previously known remotes are now disconnected from the vehicle. Place the new remote into the transmitter slot inside the center storage area, between front seats.
  7. Press Start/Stop button once again. This time the new remote will be programmed.
  8. Remove the transmitter, test it and reconnect it to the key. Steps 6 and 7 can be repeated to program additional remotes.
  9. Press and hold the Start/Stop for 12 seconds to exit remote learn mode.


Fourth Generation Sierra / Third Generation Silverado (2014 – 2019 )

Unfortunately, the fourth generation Sierra isn’t programmable without using diagnostic hardware. Going to the mechanic is going to be much cheaper than buying a diagnostic tool, but if you can find further use for it, Autel Maxisys is a professional option.


Once you have the right tools, follow these steps:

  1. Connect the diagnostic tool to the vehicle through a cable or wirelessly.
  2. If the software is unable to identify the vehicle, enter information about the make, model, year, and engine.
  3.  Once you’ve found the vehicle, press the diagnostic button.
  4.  On Maxisys, you can use the hot function to quickly find the key fob settings. On other tools, search through the control units.
  5. Select the next available slot, or add a new fob key button.
  6. Follow the step-by-step instructions provided by the diagnostic tool.


Third Generation Sierra / Second Generation Silverado (2007 – 2014 )

The third generation GMC Sierra models older than 2011 can be programmed at home in a few easy steps. From 2010-2011, you will need to use a diagnostic tool, and follow the steps used for the fourth generation.

Sierra with Driver information button cluster:

  1. Place key inside the ignition lock and turn it to On position.
  2. Cycle through menus using the vehicle information button until you find the relearn remote menu.
  3. Have all of the remote fob keys on you at this point, as keys are wiped and reprogrammed in bulk.
  4. Press the Set/Reset button to activate remote learning.
  5. On the remote fob key, simultaneously press and hold unlock and lock buttons for about 15 seconds. You’ll hear a beep telling you the remote has been configured.
  6. Repeat step 5 for additional remotes.
  7. Leave programming mode, turn the ignition off and test each remote.

Sierra with center dashboard buttons:

  1. Place key inside the ignition lock and turn it to On position.
  2. Press and hold the dashboard trip knob until it displays “Relearn remote key”.
  3. Hold both lock and unlock buttons of the new remote fob key for 15 seconds. You’ll hear a beep once the configuration completes.
  4. Repeat step 3 for additional remotes.
  5. Turn the ignition off and test all remotes.


Second Generation Sierra / First Generation Silverado (1998 – 2007 )

The oldest Sierras have a straightforward way of configuring new remote fob keys. Follow these steps:

  1. Gather all of the remote fob keys, both functioning and new.
  2. Take a seat at the driver’s position and put the key into the ignition lock.
  3. Press and hold the unlock button located on the driver’s door. In quick succession, turn the ignition on and off two times (without starting the engine).
  4. Release the unlock button. If the process was completed successfully, the driver’s door will lock, indicating it’s in programming mode.
  5. Press and hold the lock and unlock buttons on the new remote fob key for 10 to 20 seconds. The door lock will cycle once the remote has been programmed.
  6. Repeat step five for every remote you want to configure.
  7.  Turn the ignition on, wait a few seconds, then turn it off.
  8. Remove the key and test out each remote.