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What makes your transponder key work?

Nowadays, transponder keys are standard on almost every car made. They make it harder for anyone to steal your vehicle. Although it’s more expensive than a conventional key, a transponder key is worth the peace of mind it gives you.

If you’ve already used a transponder key - also known as a transponder chip - then you know how easy it is for you to use than a traditional key. These specialized keys are ignition keys that make it effortless to enter and leave your car, since you can unlock the car doors without inserting the car key in the lock mechanism; you can deactivate and activate your car alarm; you can remotely open your trunk; and, with some, you can actually fire up the car remotely.

A transponder key has a chip inside it, which emits a unique signal to your automobile’s computer, a singular frequency that’s aligned to your car only. When the signal is received, the mechanical portion of the key releases the steering lock so you can activate the ignition.

Nevertheless, it happens to the best of us. Challenges with your transponder key can sometimes arise. Here are some things you can do to get out of trouble:

Was your transponder key stolen?

When you purchased your car, you were given two transponder keys. You can retrieve your other transponder key from a friend or family member who has your spare key, which of course will for now get you back on the road. But keep in mind that since your transponder key is aligned with your vehicle, a car thief who finds your key could steal your car. Accordingly, you should get a replacement key now, and reprogram both.

To get your transponder key copied, replaced, and reprogrammed, locate an automotive locksmith technician, or go to your dealership. A locksmith is likely to cost you less than your dealership will charge you. If you are anywhere in Irving, Texas, bring all of your questions and concerns to a trustworthy locksmith company. For instance, the staff automotive locksmith specialists of Locksmith Irving TX offer free consultations, and they’re available to assist you 24/7.

For some vehicles, the transponder key is an all-in-one unit, which includes a fob. It’s also known as a laser-cut key. The shank is a bit thicker, with fewer carved-out grooves. It’s also referred to as a “sidewinder” key, because of the shank’s winding-cut feature. The dealership will probably have to program the laser-cut key’s built-in chip for you.

A switchblade key is a transponder key with a shank that folds into a fob, which pops out when you press a button. A switchblade key has either a basic cut or a laser cut. One benefit to a switchblade key is that you can purchase its parts separately; but if you’ve really permanently lost your key, you’ll have to program both components.

A smart key isn’t a key at all - not in the usual sense. It’s just a fob, which you either insert in the dash, or keep in your purse or pocket. You sit behind the wheel, and simply by pressing a button, you can fire up or kill the engine. A smart key provides outstanding protection because of its rolling security codes. Continually randomizing the right code, it stops a car thief from hacking it with a code grabber. If you have a smart key, your car dealership will replace it.

Did you lose your transponder key?

Losing your car key is a much bigger problem than it was back in the day. With a regular key, you could get a key duplicated inexpensively, at any local hardware store or locksmith company, or even at your dealership. But a transponder key is something else altogether. If you’ve misplaced your transponder key for sure, then it’s expensive to replace. Depending upon your vehicle’s model and make, and on the intricacy of the key’s specific design, the price for replacing your electronic fob will range from somewhat costly to especially expensive. Some dealerships will reprogram the fob at no cost, but most will charge an arm and a leg.

Did your transponder key stop functioning?

  • There may be a tiny foreign object lodged in the ignition. Don’t try to pull it out, because you could easily cause irreparable damage to the ignition. So, find an experienced automotive locksmith expert instead, who will be capable of removing any foreign object from the ignition with the precision necessary, so you won’t have to replace the whole switch.
  • Another common reason is that your transponder key can’t communicate with your car’s computer, because the chip has lost its programming. You can get it reprogrammed, or, you can get an entirely new transponder key with new programming. Either way, your dealership or an automotive locksmith will be able to do it for you.
  • Another typical possibility that your transponder key isn’t working because there’s a manufacturer’s defect, which has existed from the beginning. If your vehicle is still under warranty, you can get the issue rectified for free. If it’s not under warranty any longer, you’ll have to call an automotive locksmith.

If you have to get your transponder key reprogrammed, depending on your automobile, you may be able to fix it yourself.

The following measures will work well on a good number of American-made cars. But before you spend your money, read the owner's manual, ask your dealership, and/or consult with a reliable local automotive locksmith company to find out if this procedure will be successful on your car:

1.     First, put in one of the two functioning keys. Turn the ignition to the “on” position for around 3 seconds (don’t start your car).
2.     Now, do the same with your second key.
3.     Finally, insert the new third key. Turn it to the “on” position for 3 seconds, and this will program the extra key.

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Dispatch Address: 200 W Union Bower Rd, Irving, TX 75061
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