In the past, car keys were simply metal objects that could be duplicated by an automotive locksmith or at a hardware store. However, with advances in vehicle security, modern car keys are now equipped with various electronic components, such as transponders, which require programming.
The first step in automotive key programming is determining the type of key that you have. There are generally two types, namely: traditional and transponder. The former simply unlocks the car, and does not have any electronic elements. Transponder keys, on the other hand, contain a microchip that communicates with the car’s computer when starting the engine. Programming this type of key involves synching the key’s microchip with the car’s computer system. This usually requires specialized tools and software.
What are transponder keys?
Also known as chip keys, these are electronic devices that are used to start and operate modern vehicles. These keys are designed to provide an added layer of security for automobiles, making it more difficult for thieves to steal them.
The term “transponder” is a combination of the words “transmitter” and “responder.”
Before its invention, car thieves were known to hot wire vehicles or make duplicate copies of keys when stealing autos. With the emergence of the transponder key, it is now more difficult for thieves to bypass a car’s security system.
How do transponder keys work?
The transponder key is essentially made up of two parts: the physical key itself and a small electronic chip. The key blade is cut to fit the car’s ignition, doors, and trunk, just like a traditional car key. The electronic chip is the feature that sets transponders apart from the others.
When the key is inserted into the ignition, the car’s computer system sends a radio signal to the chip located inside the key. The chip then sends a unique code back to the car’s computer, which verifies that the key is authorized to start the engine.
This technology works by using what’s known as a rolling code system. Every time the key is used to start the car, the code that is sent between the key and the car’s computer system changes. This prevents anyone from copying the code and using it to start the car so it can be stolen.
Steps in Transponder Key Programming
Programming transponders is a complex process that requires specialized equipment and technical knowledge. In any case, below are the steps involved in programming this key.
1. Obtain the correct key blank.
This requires knowing the make, model, and year of the vehicle as this will be the basis when securing a key blank. It is important that an automotive locksmith ensures that the correct key blank is used. This is because different vehicles use different types of transponder keys.
2. Cut the key blank.
This will involve the use of a key cutting machine to create the grooves and ridges on the key blank that should match the pattern of the vehicle’s ignition lock. This is a crucial step because an incorrectly cut key will not work when inserted into the car’s ignition system.
3. Program the transponder chip.
This is the component of the key that communicates with the vehicle’s immobilizer system. To program the transponder chip, you will need a specialized automotive key programming tool that can communicate with the vehicle’s on-board computer. This will allow you to enter a code or sequence that will tell the immobilizer system to recognize the new key.
4. Test the key.
Once the key has been cut and programmed, it is important that this is tested to ensure that it will work as expected. This will mean inserting the key into the ignition and attempting to start the vehicle. If the programming was correctly done, the engine will start and the immobilizer system will recognize the key. If things don’t go right, reprogramming the car key may have to be done, but you can try checking for other issues that could be preventing the key from working.
With modern technology, many things have become complex and sophisticated. Car keys are no exception, and the typical automotive locksmith has to keep up with these advancements for his services to remain viable.
Fortunately, there are various training courses for locksmiths that can help them gain new knowledge about their craft. Many professional locksmith companies are also known to offer continuing education to their people so they can be updated on the latest technology in the locksmith industry.
Update your car keys with the help of Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths.
If you have no idea how to program a car key, there’s no need to worry. Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths is ready to do this for you.
Whether it’s a transponder or some other type of advanced car key, rest assured that our locksmith experts can handle it. We also have other Lakewood automotive locksmith services that you should find interesting. Call us today.