The Basics of Transponder Keys For Cars
Most cars manufactured after the mid-1990s use some version of transponder technology for their keys and ignition systems. Before that, vehicles used the standard key technology to be able to start the engine. This meant that a key had to have an unique physical shape in order to be able to open car doors and turn over the engine. The problem with this is that it is incredibly easy to duplicate keys in this manner, thereby putting a car at risk of being stolen. Transponder keys totally changed the game for security safety.
The word “transponder” is a combination of the words “transmitter” and “responder.” In the past, thieves only had to be able to make a physically identical version of your car keys in order to be able to take possession of your vehicle. But transponder keys are a completely different story.
The way transponder keys works is like this. The key is placed in the steering column. There is a portion of the car’s computer, the engine control unit (ECU) that sends out a signal to the car key itself when the key is being used to try and start the engine. There is a computer chip at the head of the car key, that takes in the ECU signal, and then sends out one of its own. Unless this signal matches up the exact one that is expected, the engine won’t start.
While transponder keys make it much more difficult for crooks to steal your vehicle, it also makes it much more complicated if you lose or misplace your car keys and need to replace them. Simply getting another set of them cut is not enough. In order to be able to use the keys, the chip needs to be able to send back the appropriate signal in order to start the car.
Most Chicago Locksmith simply struggle to correct this issue. If you have lost your car keys, and your car is recently enough that it uses transponder keys, then you better make sure that the locksmith company that you use has the ability to modify a car’s ECU in order for it to produce the appropriate signal for newly made keys. Most locksmiths simply don’t have the capabilities to do this, so be sure to ask before they send out a technician to help you if you are locked out of your vehicle.
Transponder keys was a huge improvement for the safety of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Before they existed, criminals simply had to make a quick-and-easy copy of your set of car keys in order to take possession of your vehicle. Transponder keys changed the rules. Even breaking the steering column and touching wires together won’t start an engine anymore. Unless the car’s engine control unit receives the expected signal, the engine simply won’t start. This fact is typically a good thing, unless you lose your transponder keys. Currently, only the most modern locksmiths have the technology and skill to be able to quickly and affordable provide you with a new set of car keys made.
We also offer Automotive Locksmith Services for ignition related issues for Foreign and Domestic Cars.
- Auto Lockouts
- Car Ignition Repair
- Door Lock Repair
- Keys cut by VIN#