What is a Transponder Key?


Transponder keys are commonly used by a variety of automobile manufacturers in their newer model year vehicles because they provide an added security for your vehicle. The keys themselves may not appear much different than a standard all-in-one key fob, however the technology inside makes them far superior to standard automobile keys.


Transponder keys are specially designed to provide a higher level of security by placing a signal emitting “chip” inside the key. When the ignitions is turned on this chip is activated when it receives a signal from the computer in your vehicle, which is known as the ECU, or electronic control unit. Communication between the key and ECU is required to start the vehicle. If the coded message coming from the key chip is not present or incorrect your vehicle will not start or will shut down shortly after staring. This technology greatly increases the security of your vehicle’s ignition, as it cannot be started by any other means.


More details for the technophiles out there, skip this italicized section if you don’t want to geek out on the details.


Located around the mechanical key hole of your ignition there is an antenna coil. When the key is turned on the coil becomes energized and creates a small magnetic field. This magnetic field in turn energizes a small transponder chip imbedded in the plastic head of your key. The chip emits a signal to the antenna ring which the carries the information to the cars computer. If the signal contains the proper coding, it allows the car to start. The coding on earlier models was very basic, newer models can carry an 80 bit alpha numeric code. The mathematical odds of a random matching code are well into the millions. On some recent models this amount of information allows you to limit the speed your child may drive your car with a specific key or even control how loud the radio can go. Also if your keys are lost or stolen, the lost key can be erased from your cars system without expensive mechanical re-keying.


Transponder Key Programming

Replacing a transponder key for your vehicle is not as simple as getting a new key cut to match your ignition. While some transponders can be programed if you have one or two existing keys and follow a specific set of instructions if you lose all of your keys or have a car that does not offer on board programing a locksmith or dealer will have to use special equipment to tap into your cars computer and program new keys.


Why do Transponder keys cost so much?


The proper tools, training and key blanks are all required to make a key properly. When choosing a locksmith ask lots of questions and check them out thoroughly. Also, beware of on-line gimmicks selling discount keys. There are many on-line companies selling phony unusable keys and remotes much cheaper then maybe you were quoted. The old adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.’ should be adhered to. Push to start cars operate on the same principle and basically rely totally on the transponder portion of the key to prevent a theft. The next generations of keys are already making an appearance. The newest keys combine remote functions, transponder technology and a laser cut high security mechanical key.


How can I get extra transponder keys or get news transponder keys if I lost my other keys.


Simple. Call us at Bowling Locksmith Services 757-653-6317. We have the equipment to cut and program new transponder keys for you. Right now we only have standard security (side cut keys) but a high security key machine is on its way (stand by for announcement in near future). We anticipate we will be able to cut and program any transponder key for you within the next month and we won’t charge you the extravagant car dealership prices. Keys with incorporated remotes are available by special order so call us for a quote.


Note: The Eastern Shore Division does not have transponder key availability at this time. If a need exists we may be able to get our Western Tidewater Locksmiths to come to the Eastern Shore to originate and program transponder keys for you.


Check us out on the web at http://www.bowlinglocksmith.com



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