The locksmith industry has evolved significantly recently, with innovative products and technology being developed to improve security systems. The automotive field, in particular, has benefited considerably from these advancements, such that sophisticated alarms are now being installed in different vehicle models.
Car keys also play a crucial role in safeguarding automobiles. While the traditional models have been used for centuries, modern technology has led to the introduction of more sophisticated key systems, one of which is the sidewinder key.
What are sidewinder keys?
This is a type of car key that is uniquely designed and is unlike traditional or standard keys. It usually has ridges on the top and bottom of the blade and is known for its winding, snake-like pattern. This design makes sidewinders not only unique but more secure and difficult to duplicate.
Also referred to as a laser cut key, the sidewinder has become a popular choice for many car owners because it affords them greater security. When first introduced in the 80s, the goal was for the keys to reduce incidences of vehicle theft, and they proved to be quite effective in achieving this goal.
History of Sidewinder Keys
In 1986, General Motors (GM) introduced what served as the precursor of the modern key system, which they called the VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System). The system, however, was problematic and fragile, so in 1997, GM decided to have their car keys inserted with transponder chips. However, this was not made a common practice until around 2004. when the Pontiac GTO, a separate GM brand, made public its own advanced key system that has since become known as the sidewinder key.
Six years later, Buick and Chevrolet followed suit and produced their own version of the sidewinder. Their keys are easily identified by the way they were cut and by the squiggly lines milled into the center of the key blade.
How do sidewinder keys work?
The winding pattern of the key is cut to precise specifications so it can engage with the tumblers in the ignition switch at the correct depth and angle. This alignment is what allows the key to turn and start the car.
The complexity of the key design makes it difficult to duplicate. Unlike traditional keys, which can be copied with a simple key-cutting machine, sidewinders require specialized equipment and software to produce an accurate sidewinder key cut. This level of security is what makes the sidewinder quite popular among owners of high-end cars, as they are less likely to be stolen.
Advantages of Sidewinder Keys
Listed below are the advantages of having laser cut keys.
1. Sidewinder keys provide enhanced car security.
The winding pattern of the key makes it difficult to duplicate. The key design is also specific to the make and model of a particular car, which can prove challenging for people who want to steal the vehicle.
2. They are more durable than regular car keys.
These key types are more durable than traditional keys because they are made from high-quality materials and have a more intricate design. The keys are less likely to break or wear out, meaning they will last longer, so there is less chance of having to get them replaced.
3. They are convenient to use.
Since the key has a distinct winding pattern, it is easy to grip and turn, even if you have wet or slippery hands. The unique key design makes it easy to find if you misplace it. Inserting it into the ignition switch is also hassle-free because the key and the ignition two are a perfect match.
4. Sidewinder keys have stylish designs.
To make them appealing, the typical sidewinder key has been given a modern and chic design. The winding pattern on the key also adds an element of sophistication to this advanced car key type, which is why it has been given much attention.
Disadvantages of Sidewinder Keys
Despite their popularity, sidewinders also have their share of issues. These include the following:
1. Sidewinder keys are expensive.
The cost is often due to the complex design of the key and the use of specialized methods like laser carving when the key needs to be duplicated. The cost is a factor you’ll have to consider if you choose sidewinders as part of your car lock system.
2. They have limited compatibility.
Sidewinder keys are designed to work with specific types of keyways and are incompatible with all car locks. This can limit their usefulness. If you prefer to use these keys but have a different keyway, you may need to modify the latter, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
3. They can be manipulated by lock pickers.
While sidewinder locks are considered to be generally secure, they can still be vulnerable to picking and bumping, just like other types of locks. This means that an experienced thief can still see sidewinders as useless keys as long as he can bypass your car lock system and gain access to the vehicle.
4. Sidewinder keys have high repair costs.
Damaged sidewinders are difficult to fix. Their specialized design will require using specialized tools like a laser cut key machine if you need the keys repaired. In this case, it will also be necessary to take the key to a professional locksmith to determine if a key repair is still possible or if a replacement has to be considered.
These days, buying a car can be a complicated process as you must not only identify the right auto for you but also address the car security issue. When addressing car security, your choice of car keys becomes crucial, especially since most modern vehicles come with several key security systems.
If you opt for the sidewinder type of key, you may have to determine the laser cut key cost, especially if the key is yet to be designed. Trusted automotive locksmiths can do this, but you should carefully research your options when looking for a locksmith to make your sidewinder key.
Lock in with Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths to get the best sidewinder key cut services.
Upgrade your car security with advanced and modern systems that can include your own personalized sidewinder key. If you require this, you can count on Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths to deliver.
Our Denver locksmith is an expert in designing sophisticated car key systems and will not have difficulty meeting your unique car security needs. Call us now to find out how we can help you with your car security needs.