Having Problems With Your Transponder Key?
Here's What To Do!
A transponder key, also known as a transponder “chip” key, is an ignition key for your vehicle that makes getting in and out of your vehicle easier than with a conventional key, because you can unlock your car doors without actually putting the key in the lock mechanism; you can open your trunk remotely; you can activate and deactivate your car alarm; and, with some, you can even start your car remotely. The way it works is that the transponder chip inside emits a particular signal to your automobile’s computer, a unique frequency that’s aligned to your car only. As it receives the signal, the mechanical part of the key releases the steering lock, so you can activate the ignition, and get to where you need to go.
Nowadays, a transponder key is standard, and thought by most people to be superior to a traditional key. It makes things much more difficult for car thieves, sending them packing. Even though a transponder key costs more, it’s worth the peace of mind it affords you. Nevertheless, inevitably, sometimes problems can arise with transponder keys.
Has your transponder key stopped functioning?
- One common reason your transponder key stops working right is that there’s a manufacturer defect, which has been there since the beginning. If the car’s still under warranty, you can correct the problem for free. If it’s not under warranty, then it may be time to hire an automotive locksmith specialist.
- Another possibility is that there could be a foreign object lodged in the ignition. Instead of trying to get it out yourself, which will in all likelihood cause additional damage to the ignition, it’s better to ask a professional automotive locksmith. An experienced locksmith can usually pull out a foreign object from the ignition without having to replace the entire switch.
- Another typical cause is that your transponder key isn’t communicating properly with the car’s computer. The computer chip has lost its programming somehow. You can get it reprogrammed, or you can get a whole new transponder key with new programming. An automotive locksmith technician, or your dealership, will be able to take care of it.
Have you lost your transponder key?
Not being able to find your car key these days is a lot more complicated than it used to be. With a regular key, you could simply have a spare key made cheaply at any local hardware store or locksmith, or back at the dealership. But a transponder key is a different story altogether. If you’ve really lost your transponder key, depending on the automaker, and the intricacy of the key’s design, it is going to be rather expensive to replace your electronic fob. A few car dealerships will program your fob at no cost, but most will charge you a lot.
A switchblade key is a transponder key with a shank, which folds into the fob; you pop it out by pressing a button. A switchblade key has either a laser cut or a basic cut. One advantage to this kind of key is that you can buy its components separately. But if you've truly lost your key, you’ll need to get both parts programmed.
For some cars, 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. A laser-cut key is also sometimes referred to as a “sidewinder” key, because of the winding cut feature on the shank. Most probably, a laser-cut key’s built-in chip is going to have to be programmed by your dealership.
Then there’s the smart key, which really isn’t a key at all, in the normal sense. It’s just a fob. You either insert it into the dashboard, or you just keep in your pocket or your purse. Whenever you get in the driver’s seat, you start and stop the car simply by pressing a button. A smart key is extraordinarily secure because it has rolling security codes. Perpetually randomizing the correct code, it stops a would-be professional car thief from hacking it with a code grabber. If your smart key is lost for good, the dealership can replace it.
What if your transponder key has been stolen?
When you first bought your car, you should have been given a spare copy of your transponder key. If you gave that extra key to a family member, then you can still have an additional copy made, but you’ll need to get it reprogrammed. Remember, because your transponder key is connected to your vehicle only, a potential car thief who has found your key can effortlessly take your automobile.
A mechanical key is no big deal; but when you need to get a transponder key made, replaced, or reprogrammed, you’ll have to either hire an automotive locksmith specialist, or go back to the car dealership. A legitimate locksmith will certainly cost less than the dealership, and will also be glad to advise you about any other automotive security issues.
Do it yourself.
If you must reprogram your transponder key, depending upon which make of car you have, you can program it yourself. So, you could be in luck. Look it up your owner's manual.
The following method will work on many American-made vehicles. However, before you spend your money, first check with your dealership or with a local automotive locksmith expert to see if this procedure applies to yours:
1 Insert 1 of your 2 working keys, and turn the ignition to the "on" position, without starting the car, for at least for 3 seconds.
2 Now, do the same with your 2nd key.
3 Finally, insert the new 3rd key, and again turn it to the "on" position for another few seconds. This will successfully program your extra key.
Another thing you could try, which will at least allow access to your car, is that you could order only the basic key ~ without the transmitter. Then you’ll have a key that will do everything else except start the car. This will come in handy if you should ever lock your car keys inside the car.
Hire a dependable professional.
If you’re going to need transponder key programming or reprogramming, if you happen to be in Maple Grove, Minnesota, then it’s a good idea to consider hiring a topnotch locksmith company, such as the mobile automotive locksmith specialists on staff at Maple Grove Master Locksmith. A reliable professional will be happy to assist you, and often at a lower cost than the dealership will charge you.