When you buy a new or newer vehicle, the dealer will usually give you what’s called transponder, chipped or automotive security keys. Most of the new cars available on the market today come equipped with this type of key.
How Does A Transponder Key Work?
A transponder key is equipped with an RF responder. Your vehicle has a device placed near its ignition switch which is a receiver. The key emits a unique low-level signal that your car is only able to detect once you put that specific key (or the second key) into the ignition.
Automotive manufacturers use transponder keys to prevent cars from being hot-wired. The car cannot be started unless the device at the switch detects the right signal from the key. If someone tries to use a copied key to start the car and it doesn’t have the right signal, the car will not start. Likewise, if someone tries to steal the car by hot-wiring it, the car won’t start because the signal from the key is missing.
Purchasing A Transponder Key At Retailers vs. The Automotive Manufacturer
Discover the pros and cons of purchasing your security, chipped car keys at a retail store compared to the auto dealer.
Transponder Keys From A Retailer
Some retailers have unlock codes for different models of transponder keys. You will need to buy a transponder key from the store and have an employee program it for your vehicle. This option is less expensive than buying a transponder key from the automotive manufacturer, but you still need to go to the store to make a purchase. There is also a chance that the key you buy will not work correctly in your specific make and model of car. It’s important to thoroughly test it several times (open your car doors, start, shift into different gears, shut off and start again) before leaving the store.
Transponder Keys From The Automotive Manufacturer (Dealer)
You do have the option of getting a replacement transponder key supplied by your car manufacturer. You would need to take your vehicle registration and your ID to a dealership to have a key cut from your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The advantage to using this method is that you would be assured that the chipped key would work in your vehicle. The disadvantage is the cost. This is the most expensive method of purchasing these types of keys.
Click here to find out if you have a transponder key and what to do if you lock your keys in your car!