Before the transponder key was invented, thieves could easily hotwire or force their way into a vehicle. The new chip keys make this kind of theft very difficult.
This is a great security feature to have in your car. However, it does make getting a spare key a bit more complicated.
Get a spare key made
Most cars made in the last 2 decades come equipped with a transponder chip. This microchip resides on the top of your key and sends a signal to the car when inserted. If the unique serial number on the microchip matches with the car’s computer system, the engine will start. This is a great security feature to help deter thieves but unfortunately, criminals are smart and have developed ways around this technology.
To be safe, it is a good idea to get a spare transponder key made. This can be done by a locksmith or at the dealership. Dealerships are usually more expensive because of their overheads.
A spare transponder key can be kept in a separate spot away from your keys, so it will be there when you need it. This will reduce the chances of forgetting where you left it. This will also reduce the risk of locking it in your car which can be a very costly mistake.
Get a new key made
Most cars built in the last two decades have transponder chips that make it difficult for thieves to start your car. These chips are designed to prevent unauthorized key duplication, hot wiring, and other methods that car thieves have used in the past. They also help to ensure that you are the only one who can drive your vehicle.
If you have a newer car, you likely need a professional locksmith to make a spare key for it. The first step is to find out whether your car uses a transponder system. If it does, there is usually a security light that will indicate it. You can also confirm that your key is a transponder key by checking the head of the key.
When you are ready to get a new key made, it is best to shop around to find the most affordable option. Although a car dealership may seem like the most convenient choice, they often charge a premium because they have high overheads.
Get a key copied
A regular transponder key has a hidden electronic chip inside its plastic head. If your car has one of these keys, a thief can’t hotwire or start it without the proper key and immobilizer code.
Most hardware stores offer key duplication services. The Menards chain of hardware stores, for instance, has a kiosk called KeyMe, which can copy most types of standard house and car keys. You can also find a KeyMe machine at many Ace Hardware locations.
You can also get a key copied at some drug stores and grocery chains. Walmart, for example, has several MinuteKey self-serve kiosks in its automotive department. Some are operated by employees, and others are independent. Rite Aid, a national pharmacy chain with more than 4,000 locations, is another option. Most have a machine that can make copies of most standard keys, and some can even duplicate transponder keys. Some can also program new transponder keys, although this is usually a more expensive service that requires advanced programming skills.
Get a key programmed
Transponder keys add an extra layer of security to your car. The key’s chip relays a signal to the ignition lock, and if the digital serial number doesn’t match up, your engine won’t start. The transponder chip is usually found in the plastic head of your key if it was made after 1995.
The advantage of these chips is that they can’t be bypassed, which makes it harder for thieves to steal cars. However, these systems are not invincible, and savvy criminals can still work around them.
The best way to get a key programmed is to take it to an auto locksmith that has access to a car key code reader. This can help them identify the right programming for your specific vehicle. They can also provide you with a spare key and make sure it works properly. You can also take it to a store that offers transponder key duplication services, such as AutoZone and Walmart.