Chances are, if you’ve had to replace your car key recently, you’ve noticed that it’s no longer a quick, cheap, “cut to replace” process. Instead, many vehicle manufacturers have begun using transponder chip keys to help auto owners ensure their vehicles are secure. While this relatively new key technology is great for helping prevent theft, it also makes replacing lost or broken keys much more difficult unless you know a locksmith with the correct transponder chip key programming equipment.
What is a transponder chip key?
Technology for the transponder key was developed during World War II, although the use of the transponder technology in vehicles was not popularized until the 1990s. Cars that use transponder keys have an antenna coil located in the ignition. Once the key is inserted and turned, the ignition coil creates an electromagnetic field. In the plastic head of modern auto keys, there is a transponder ‘chip’ which communicates with this electromagnetic field, verifying that the key is in fact the correct key to be used to start the car. If the transponder chip is not programmed with the correct code, the vehicle’s immobilizer will not allow the car to be started.
Why are transponder chip keys so difficult to replace?
Each transponder key has a unique code programmed in it during manufacturing. When the key is lost or stolen, you no longer have a key with the code necessary to start the car. Even if you have a metal replacement cut, the missing chip will prevent the car from being used. Many auto dealers may try to remedy this by attempting to replace the entire computer system, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, if you find a quality locksmith in Chicago, you don’t have to pay for an entirely new car computer. Instead, auto locksmiths can offer key reflashing services.
What should I do if I lose my transponder chip key?
If you lose your transponder chip key, there are options that won’t involve a costly tow to the dealership or complete replacement of your entire auto computer. Some Chicago locksmiths offer key reflashing services. During the key reflashing process, the locksmith will locate and remove the computer system inside the car. After opening the computer system, a locksmith is then able to find the key programming chip. With the right equipment, the computer can be hooked up to a specialty locksmith program that puts the auto computer into ‘learning mode’. While in learning mode, locksmiths are able to program in a new transponder chip code and create a new key.
If you are lucky enough to be located in the Chicago area, there’s no need to stress if you’ve lost one or all of your transponder chip keys. Omega Locksmith is one of the best Chicago locksmiths offering key reflashing services. At Omega Locksmith, we understand how frustrating it can be to lose your keys, which is why we offer round the clock services to all of Chicago. We can arrive in 30 minutes or less wherever you are to help you feel safe and get you back on the road again as soon as possible.