Which of These 7 Types of Car Keys Do You Have

ADL-car keys on display

For the vast majority of the automobile’s history, you used a simple mechanical key to open the trunk and start the engine.

The way people get into their cars has changed significantly over the last three decades due to numerous advancements in vehicle security. You’ve probably noticed that different types of car keys have evolved considerably. Moreover, comfort and convenience for the driver have gradually become one of the most essential guidelines.

Although there may appear to be a wide range of options at first, most modern types of car keys fall into one of the types listed below. The good news is that an automotive locksmith can replace all of these types for you even if you have lost the original keys.

Brief History of Car Keys

When the key ignition system for cars was introduced in the 1940s, the idea of car keys was first introduced. The first automobile to use a key ignition system is thought to have been a 1949 Chrysler model.

Additionally, the vehicles were secured with cylinder locks that looked like door locks. Furthermore, the introduction of the idea of centralized locking in the 1990s revolutionized all types of car keys.

As automobile technology has progressed over the past years, so has the variety of car keys on the market. The different types of car keys used today will be explained in detail in this article. There are many types of car key cuts in use today, from mechanically cut keys to keyless options.

7 Types of Car Keys

There are a wide variety of automobiles, each with its own unique set of modifications, from the type of wheels to automotive key types. These keys have a variety of features. The following are the seven most common types of car keys:

1. Mechanical Keys

Before 1995, the most common type of car key was the basic mechanical car key. This key looked like a standard house key and had no built-in technology. Most cars had one key for the ignition, one for the doors, and another for the trunk. These keys were also affordable to replace.

The disadvantage of basic mechanical keys, and the reason we no longer use them, is that they are simple to duplicate.

2. Transponder Key

Automakers began supplying owners with a transponder key after 1995. These were the first keys to feature security-enhancing technology. These keys lack buttons, but the portion you hold is typically thicker and more frequently black than standard mechanical keys. An electronic chip inside each key communicates with the computer in your car. The car won’t start if the message is wrong, and an alarm will sound.

The drawback of these keys is that your neighborhood hardware store cannot duplicate them. It can be quite expensive to order a replacement key directly from the manufacturer if you lose or break one of your keys.

3. Laser-Cut Key

There is no anti-theft security on the laser-cut key. Instead, as the name implies, it employs lasers to produce a complex key that would be highly challenging to duplicate without the same equipment. It also makes it possible for lock cylinders to be more intricate and challenging to pick.

The drawback of these keys is their high cost of acquisition and replacement.

4. Flip-Key

Although the flip key has a reasonably contemporary design, it doesn’t add much to technology or security. Instead, because it can be folded, the key can have a more compact design because it takes up less room. The shaft is additionally shielded from harm by the foldaway design. For added security, flip keys are frequently combined with other contemporary designs by manufacturers.

The only real drawback of these keys is that they don’t increase security.

5. Smart Key

The smart key has become the new norm for the majority of vehicles. This key only requires that you keep it on hand. Pushing a button starts the ignition. The key’s buttons allow you to lock and unlock the door and turn on and off the alarm without ever having to put it into a lock. It communicates with the car’s computer using an encrypted infrared beam, and some cars will even lock themselves if you forget and walk too far away.

The drawback is that you might have to wait for them to arrive from the factory and that replacing these keys can be pretty expensive.

6. VATS Key

The VATS key uses a resistor that is incorporated into the key blade for added security. The resistor can be difficult to duplicate and comes in 15 different values. These keys’ drawbacks include their high cost and potential difficulty obtaining replacements should something happen to them.

7. Valet Key

The valet key is a unique key that comes with some cars. It allows entry to the doors and engine but bars access to the vehicle’s private spaces, such as the trunk and glove box. Some valet keys can even restrict the engine’s speed or range. Sadly, not many vehicles come with this key, but you might be able to order one from your manufacturer for an extra fee.

The only drawback of these types of car keys is that not all cars come with them; you might have to order them separately.


Numerous technological advancements have been made in car keys since the first one was used in 1910. Transponder chips were eventually incorporated into the types of car keys that people use now. Remote keys and smart keys have further revolutionized the security of vehicles. With that said, you can determine the car key you currently use using the list above.

Know what car keys you have with Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths.

As you can see, knowing the different types of car keys has many benefits. It would be best to have enough information regarding what car keys you have in case of emergency lock-outs or other mishaps. Remember that they are made to be robust and durable as long as possible, but unfortunately, they can all break, get damaged, get lost, or get stolen. When that happens, you need quick and effective services from our locksmith in Denver, who can aid you in any car key problem you’ll encounter. With their years of expertise, nothing is impossible to fix. Call us now.

Related Posts