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Your local auto locksmith explains how transponder keys work

Sales Galmier - Tuesday, March 06, 2018

In 1995, the world changed.

No, we’re not talking about the release of the first Toy Story movie or Michael Jordan coming out of his retirement; rather, we’re talking about the invention of the transponder car key!

While it would take a couple of years to catch on, transponder keys have made our cars significantly safer since their invention. If you’ve bought a car in the last 20 or so years, chances are your car keys contain transponders.

And like many other objects we use in our day-to-day lives, most of us don’t really understand how they work - but today, we’re here to explain.

 


 

What are transponder keys?

Have you ever wondered why getting car keys cut is generally costlier than stock-standard home or office keys?

The answer? Transponder car keys.

Believe it or not, transponders are not the automotive remote you use to unlock your car.

While they use the same underlying technology, transponder keys are not the same as remote unlocking. In fact, they’re two completely different features.

Despite how common transponders are nowadays, the belief that transponders are the same as remote unlocking is a common myth that just refuses to go away.

 

How transponder keys work

Look at your car keys. Do they have a black plastic knob covering the end? Or is it exposed metal?

If it has a plastic knob, chances are it’s a transponder key.

Essentially, transponder keys are keys that contain a small microchip.

This chip sends out wireless signals to an inbuilt receptor in your car’s ignition. Only when your car receives the right signal will it unlock or start the ignition.

There are many different identifying systems that transponders use to keep your car safe, including:

  • Simple PIN systems
  • Electrical resistance
  • Mathematical algorithms

What’s the difference between transponders and flat keys?

Just like your house keys, traditional keys unlock your car using the grooves cut into the key itself. For a recap of how traditional keys work, click here to read our post about house keys.

Unlike traditional keys, transponder keys offer an additional layer of security for car owners. On top of having to make sure the grooves on the keys match up to the ignition, the transponder codes also need to match what’s been programmed into the car.

So even if a would-be car thief gets their hands on a perfect copy of your car keys, they won’t be able to start your car unless they have the proper transponder key too.

Many manufacturers lock out keys that don’t have the right transponder code, while others will trigger the alarm!

This also makes your car much less susceptible to hotwiring.

 

What should you do if you lose your transponder keys?

With such complicated technology, it might seem hopeless when you lose or damage your car’s only set of transponder keys.

Fortunately, your local auto locksmith is more than qualified to cut and program your transponder keys.

Our team of experienced auto locksmiths are fully-equipped to cut and program transponder keys on-the-spot, getting you back on the road faster!

For some models and makes, all we need to do is insert your original key as well as a blank key into a transponder cloning tool, which automatically detects and copies your unique transponder codes into the blank key.

If you don’t have an original key on hand, that’s not a problem either! Most transponders can be programmed without the original - all we need to do is reach out to the manufacturer with your vehicle’s ID number.

 

Call Melbourne’s best auto locksmith!

Different transponder keys have their own unique quirks - some require batteries, while others can take hours without the proper equipment. And we haven’t even gotten started on the process of cutting the key itself!

If you ever run into trouble with your car keys, we strongly recommend calling a professional to look after it for you.

Galmier Locksmiths is one of Melbourne’s best auto locksmiths.

We offer a speedy mobile locksmith service for all your auto locksmith needs, no matter where you are across Melbourne’s Bayside.

Need a new transponder key cut and programmed? Give Alex and the team a call on 0407 022 234 or contact us here.