Vizio Remote Not Working? EVERY Fix

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Is your Vizio TV remote not working? You think it should be fixable but you can’t figure out how. I get it.

But you’ll be pleased to know that it’s actually very easy to fix a non-working Vizio remote, with only a few minutes of your time and the proven steps that I’ve compiled in this guide.

We’ll start with the simpler steps then move onto the more complex fixes, but I’m confident that most of you will be able to fix your remote with just the first few steps, and you won’t need to do anything complicated.

Vizio Remote Not Working?

If your Vizio TV remote is not working, remove the batteries, clean the battery contacts with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol, hit the remote against your palm a few times then try new a new set of batteries in the remote.

This should solve most people’s problems, but if this doesn’t work, then follow the complete set of troubleshooting steps below to fix an unresponsive TV remote. You should take a look at the linked guide if your Vizio TV won’t turn on.

You can also watch a quick overview of the fixes in the video below.

1. Replace Any Dead Batteries

The most common reason why your Vizio remote doesn’t work is that the batteries are dead or dying.

This might seem like an obvious point, but it always pays to try changing your batteries, preferably first trying them in an appliance that you know works, so that you can confirm that they hold charge.

remove tv remote batteries

You can also try cleaning the battery contacts in the remote. As batteries age, they can leak and cause corrosion within your remote’s contacts.

A quick dab of 99.9% isopropyl alocohol is usually enough to remove any gunk that would otherwise prevent the batteries making a proper contact within your remote.

If you’re using a newer Vizio TV remote, then you might struggle to open your remote’s case to get at the batteries, in which case a butter knife comes in handy, which you can see in the below video.

2. Look for Stuck Buttons

If your Vizio TV remote buttons are not working, but you are sure the batteries are ok, then try removing the batteries, holding down the power button for 10 seconds to drain any residual power, then forcefully mash every button on the remote, slapping it against your palm a few times.

You might have to repeat this several times.

You will also need to put quite a bit of force into pushing the buttons. Don’t be afraid of damaging your remote – as long as you are only hitting it against your hand and only using your fingers to push the buttons it will be fine.

tv remote not working

Over time, your remote’s buttons can begin to stick, and just like with a computer keyboard there is a limit to how many simultaneous button pushes the remote will recognize.

So, one or more buttons stuck in the “on” position can prevent other buttons on the remote from working. You’ll know if this is your problem if some buttons on your remote work, but others don’t.

Typically, the volume button will stop working as this is one of the most used buttons and is therefore most susceptible to getting dirt stuck inside it.

This is more likely to be a problem with the older Vizio TV remotes that contain a larger number of buttons, but can occur with the newer Vizio Smart TV remotes too.

3. Update Your Vizio TV

It’s important to keep any electronic devices up to date with the latest firmware, none more so than smart TVs.

You should follow the system update procedure on your TV as this has been known to fix issues with the remote, particularly if you are using a new wireless remote.

If your remote is totally broken and you can’t access your TV’s menus to perform the update, then use the Vizio TV App, which I cover further down this article.

It’s important to note that automatic firmware updates will only run when your TV is turned off but still plugged in.

For older Vizio TVs, to update firmware:

  1. Press Menu on your remote.
  2. Go to Admin & Privacy or System, depending on your model.
  3. Click Check for Updates.
  4. If updates have been successfully applied, your TV will restart 2 times.
vizio tv firmware update
Vizio TV firmware update screen

If you are using a Smart Vizio TV, then there is no option to manually update firmware – this is done automatically as long as your TV has an Internet connection.

For Smart Vizio TVs, check if your TV is on the latest firmware version by entering it’s serial number into Vizio’s firmware checker.

If it is not up to date and you cannot manually update the firmware as above, then contact Vizio for further support.

4. Check Your Infrared Emitter Works (if using an IR remote)

Vizio TV remotes come in two flavors: Infrared (IR) and RF (Bluetooth / Wi-Fi) models.

IR Vizio remotes are the older type and much more common type, and can be identified by a clear section of dark plastic at their end.

This clear section of plastic contains an emitter that sends an infrared signal directly to the TV.

Check that this IR emitter doesn’t have any obvious damage, and isn’t blocked by gunk.

tv remote ir emitter

To check that your remote is actually sending an IR signal, you will need a phone or digital camera as infrared is not visible to the human eye.

Activate the camera on your phone, or a live view mode on your digital camera and point your remote at your camera. Press a button and you should see a light appear in the IR emitter of your remote.

checking if a tv remote is working

Note that not all models of iPhone will be able to see the infrared beam, as they filter out IR signals. If you have to use an iPhone, then first check that you can see infrared by using a remote that you know is working.

If you don’t see an IR signal and you have confirmed that your camera doesn’t filter IR by testing it with a known working remote, and you have tried replacing the batteries, then you will need a replacement remote as it is unlikely that you can fix this issue at home.

5. Check for Infrared Line of Sight

For the IR Vizio remotes, you should check that you have a clear line of site between your remote’s IR emitter and the IR receiver on your TV.

how to point your tv remote at your TV
Make sure you point your remote at your TV, not your cat.

Locate your TV’s IR receiver and confirm that it isn’t blocked by ornaments on your TV shelf, and isn’t damaged.

The IR receiver is usually located beneath the power light on your TV.

tv ir receiver

Because the IR receiver on your TV is most likely to be at the bottom, it is very easy to accidentally cover it up when cleaning around your TV shelf.

If you are using the RF TV remote, then check that any nearby applicances that could cause RF interference are switched off.

6. Power Cycle and Factory Reset Your Vizio TV

Resetting your TV and remote can help resolve any issues, particularly if you are using the newer smart TV remote.

Power cycling your TV will clear out any issues with non-permanent memory without losing your personal settings.

To reset your Vizio TV:

  1. Unplug your TV.
  2. Hold down the physical power button on your Vizio TV for at least 15 seconds to drain any residual power from the capacitors.
  3. Leave your TV unplugged for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Plug it back in and switch back on.

nb. Make sure that you hold down the physical power button on your TV, not the one on the remote and make sure you time 15 seconds when holding the power button down.

vizio tv power button

Make sure you do wait for the full 30 minutes before plugging your TV back in – you would be surpised how long the components within your TV can hold charge, and you want to make sure it has fully reset.

Although this seems a very basic step, don’t overlook it because in the vast majority of cases a simple soft reset fixes most issues.

Returning your TV back to its factory settings is a more extreme step, as it will delete any personalization features or connected devices, but it’s always worth a shot when other methods haven’t worked.

To factory reset a Vizio Smart TV:

  1. Turn the TV on.
  2. Hold down the Volume Down and Input buttons on the side of the TV simultaneously.
  3. After a few seconds, a message will pop up on screen telling you how to reset your TV. You can release the two buttons you are holding.
  4. You will usually then hold the Input button for 10 seconds for a factory reset.
  5. Another message will pop up on screen about the reset.
  6. Your TV will re-boot and return to the original setup screen.

For older Vizio TVs, you can perform a factory reset by using the remote to go to:

  • Menu -> On screen display go to Admin & Privacy or System -> Reset to Factory Settings

Some models also have a physical reset button recessed into the case, usually near the power button. If your TV has one, then get a pin or paperclip and hold down this reset button for a count of ten.

7. Check for Physical Damage To Your Remote

If none of the other fixes have worked for you, then it’s likely that there is some mechanical damage within the remote. This is particularly true if some buttons work but others do not.

To fix this, you can disassemble your remote, clean the components with isopropyl alcohol, and confirm that there is no damage to the circuit boards.

Although this seems a fairly extreme step, the only other option is to order a replacement remote, so why not give it a go?

To disassemble your Vizio TV remote:

  1. Remove the batteries.
  2. If there are no screws to open the remote’s case, use a flat head screwdriver with the tip pushed in between the two halves of the remote.
  3. Twist the screwdriver and the case should pop open.

Then carefully remove the circuit board and buttons, swab with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol and remove any dirt or gunk that might have got caught under the buttons.

Check that the battery leads are not corroded and once you have given all parts a good clean, put it back together again and test.

TV remotes are actually very simple devices and this is unlikely to take you more than a couple of minutes even if you’ve not done anything like this before.

Take a look at the video below for a comprehensive demonstration of how to open and clean a general TV remote.

What if Your Vizio TV Remote is Still Not Working?

If your Vizio TV remote is still not working, then you have two choices:

  • Use an app on your phone or tablet.
  • Buy a replacement Vizio TV remote.

There are plenty of TV remote apps around which are almost all very easy to use replacements for the remote, but remember that these will only work on Smart TVs as they connect to your TV using its WiFi connection.

Simply download a TV Remote App from the Android Play store or the Apple App store and install on your phone.

Make sure you have WiFi enabled on your TV, and your phone is connected to the same WiFi network as your TV. It doesn’t actually use the Internet to work, but both devices must be on the same home network to be able to “talk” to each other.

There are also plenty of generic Vizio TV remotes available to buy from any of the big box stores if you would prefer.

If you do buy a universal remote from a third-party manufacturer, then you may need to enter a code to get it to connect to your Vizio TV. See here for Vizio remote control codes.

Vizio TV Remote Not Working? How to Fix

If your Vizio TV is not responding to your remote, then to fix it:

  1. Remove the batteries, clean the contacts and replace with a fresh set of batteries.
  2. Slap the remote into your palm a few times and mash the buttons in case any are stuck.
  3. Check the IR works using a digital camera (or some models of smartphone).
  4. Restart your Vizio TV.
  5. Check for any obstructions or conflicts that could stop the remote’s signal reaching your TV.
  6. Run any updates on your TV.
  7. Check for liquid damage.

If your Vizio TV remote is still not working, then you can either use a TV remote app or buy a new generic remote from most big store retailers.

Or let me know if you still have a problem in the comments below and I’ll try my best to help.

Read More:

Vizio TV sound but no picture?

Fix a Vizio TV blue tint

Vizio HDMI not working fix

Vizio TV won’t turn off?

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Hi, I'm Tim Daniels, photographer and photo trainer, founder of Lapse of the Shutter and creator of the totally free Lightroom Develop System. I've travelled to (probably) 30 countries over the last few years, taking photos and licensing them around the world, and creating lots of free photography learning resources. Read More ...

2 Responses

  1. C Maness
    | Reply

    I have an older Vizio. Not smart tv. My remote will not power my tv on or off, but it will power on/off the smart tv in the other room. I’ve tried all the suggestions with no luck. Any other thoughts?

    • Tim Daniels
      | Reply

      I assume it’s an infrared remote then?
      Most likely there’s a fault with the IR sensor in the TV or it’s connection to the main board.

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