HOW TO SOLVE PROBLEMS WITH TRANSPONDER KEYS
How does a transponder key work?
Transponder keys are standard nowadays. They make it much more difficult for a thief to steal your vehicle. Even though it’s more expensive, it’s worth the peace of mind it affords you.
Anyone who has transponder keys ~ also called transponder “chip” keys ~ knows how much easier they are to use than regular keys. These specialized keys are ignition keys for your vehicle that make getting in and out of your car a breeze, because you can unlock your car doors without actually placing the key in the lock; you can get your trunk open remotely; you can activate and deactivate your car alarm; and, with some, you can even start up your car remotely.
The way it works is that the chip inside the key emits a particular signal to your automobile’s computer, a singular frequency that’s aligned to your car only. When the signal’s received, the mechanical part of the key releases your steering lock so you can activate the ignition and drive.
However, there are problems that can arise. Here’s how to get out of a jam when it comes to typical challenges with transponder keys.
Have you lost your transponder key?
Losing your car key is more complicated than it used to be decades ago. With a standard key, you could have a spare key made for almost nothing, at any local locksmith or hardware store, or even at your dealership. But a transponder key is something else altogether. If you’ve truly given up on finding your transponder key, replacing it will cost you. Depending on the automaker and on the intricacy of the design of the key, the replacement of your electronic fob will be a bit expensive or spectacularly so. Some car dealerships will reprogram your key fob for nothing, but most will charge a lot.
For some automobiles, the transponder key is an all-in-one unit with the fob. Also called a laser-cut key, the shank is slightly thicker, with fewer carved-out grooves. Laser-cut keys are sometimes called “sidewinder” keys, due to the winding cut feature on the shank. The dealership will likely have to program a laser-cut key’s built-in chip.
A switchblade key is another kind of transponder key that has a shank, but it folds into the fob, which you pop out by pressing a button. A switchblade key has either a basic cut or a laser cut. One advantage is that its components can be bought separately. Nevertheless, if you've really lost your key entirely, you’ll need both parts programmed.
A smart key isn’t a key ~ not in the normal sense. It’s only a fob. You either insert it into the dashboard, or, you can keep in your purse or pocket. When you’re in the driver’s seat, simply by pressing a button, you can start up and stop the car. A smart key provides excellent security because of its rolling security codes. Continuously randomizing the correct code, it prevents a car thief from hacking it using a code grabber. Your dealership can replace a smart key.
Has your transponder key stopped working?
- One common reason your transponder key stops functioning is that there’s a manufacturer defect. If your vehicle is still under warranty, you’ll be able to correct the problem for free. If it’s not under warranty any more, then it’s time to hire an automotive locksmith specialist.
- Another possibility is that your transponder key isn’t communicating properly with your car’s computer because the chip has lost its programming. You can get it reprogrammed, or, you can get a transponder key with new programming. Whatever you choose, the dealership, or an automotive locksmith specialist can handle it.
- There might be a foreign object lodged in the ignition. Don’t try pulling it out yourself, because you could easily cause damage to the ignition. Instead, hire an experienced professional automotive locksmith, who can extract any foreign object from the ignition with exacting precision, so the whole switch won’t have to be replaced.
Was your transponder key stolen?
You should have gotten two transponder keys when you first purchased your vehicle. So probably a family member has the additional copy, which will get you going for now. But remember, since your transponder key is associated only to your automobile, a would-be car thief who finds your key can take your automobile without any effort. Therefore, you’ll need to get a replacement, and reprogram them both.
To get a transponder key made, replaced, or reprogrammed, you’ll need to track down an automotive locksmith specialist, or go to the dealership. In most cases, a locksmith will cost less than the dealership. If you are anywhere in Riverside, California, then it’s a good idea to bring all your questions and concerns to a reputable automotive locksmith mobile specialist, such as the experts on staff at Riverside Locksmith. A trustworthy professional will always be glad to assist you.
You can do it yourself.
If you have to reprogram your transponder key, with some cars, you can program it yourself. You may be in luck.
The following method will work on many American-made vehicles. But before you spend your money, check your owner's manual, ask your dealership, and/or consult a local automotive locksmith to determine if this procedure will work effectively on yours:
1. Insert one of your two working keys. Now, turn the ignition to the "on" position for a good 3 seconds (without starting up the car).
2 Next, do the same with the 2nd key.
3. Now, insert the new 3rd key, and again turn it to the "on" position, again for 3 seconds. This should successfully program your extra key.
Another thing you can do, if you often lock your car keys inside your vehicle, is that you can at least allow access to your car. Simply order just the basic key, but not the transmitter. Then you’ll have a key that does everything except start up the car.