Transponder & Chip Key Programming
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If you drive a vehicle that was built within the last 25 years or so and it is not equipped with a push-button ignition, chances are good it uses a transponder key. A transponder key has a computer chip located inside the thick plastic key head which is programmed to connect to a computer located inside your vehicle.
Also known as a chipped key or a high-security car key, transponder keys were introduced by automotive manufacturers to make vehicles more secure when compared to traditional metal keys, also known as ‘dumb’ keys.
Cars, light-duty trucks, and vans that are equipped with a transponder key will not operate unless a key is inserted into the ignition which has been programmed to the vehicle, even if the key is cut correctly.
How Transponder Keys Work
When you insert a chipped key into the ignition of your vehicle, the Engine Control Unit (ECU) is triggered to send a coded message to the chip inside the transponder key. Once the key responds back to the ECU with a preset authentication message the built-in immobilizer system will be disarmed and the vehicle can be started.
High-security car keys that contain a chip do not contain batteries; the little bit of power that is needed to send the low-strength radio signals to and from the chip come from the vehicle. This means that unlike a remote head key (which may also be equipped with a chip), standard transponder keys never need servicing.
Modern transponder key technology is based on military technology that was used during World War II in order to help the allies correctly identify ‘friendly’ aircraft.
What’s Involved With Chip Key Programming?
The actual process of programming a high-security car key varies between different makes and models of cars. With some types of vehicles, a technique known as “onboard programming” can be successfully used to for chip key programming.
This process eliminates the need for expensive computer equipment and codes when linking a new transponder key to the vehicle, however, this method only works on specific vehicles and requires specialized knowledge regarding the exact steps that need to be taken to successfully link a new chipped key with the onboard ECU.
Vehicles without an onboard programming option need to have new transponder keys programmed using a high-tech coding machine that is available only to licensed, verified locksmith and car dealerships who specialize in laser key cutting. This equipment costs thousands of dollars to purchase, which is why having a new high-security car key made costs significantly more than it does to simply cut an old-style metal key.
Regardless of the technique that’s used to program new chip keys for your vehicle, your automotive locksmith will need access to your car to complete the job—you can’t just walk into a locksmith shop and get a new chipped key created without having your vehicle with you. This is because the key needs to be synced with the computer inside your car.
Fast, Mobile Transponder Key Programming
Here at Keyway Lock & Security, our mobile locksmith has the skills, experience, and equipment needed to program any type of transponder key on the spot. When you need an extra chipped key for your car, give us a call – we offer fast mobile service that makes it easy for you to have a spare high-security car key made at your home or office.
Auto Models We Service:
- Land Rover
We Are Licensed & Insured
Our Illinois license is #192-000275
We are proud members of the Associated Locksmiths of America