Automotive Transponder Key 101

Many of the newer cars come with what is known as a chipped key, or a key with a transponder chip that communicates with the car's ignition system to engage the system when the right transponder chip is recognized. That means that you have to have the particular key programmed to your car in order to start the engine. Here's a look at what you need to know about these keys.

You'll Pay More For Replacements

One of the biggest questions that many car owners have is why a replacement transponder key costs so much. Each key contains a high-tech chip, which naturally increases the price. In addition, each key needs to be specifically programmed to the car's computer, which requires technology, expertise, and manpower. The combination of all of these factors, paired with the fact that a programmed key cannot be reused for any other car, increases the cost associated with each key.

The Chips Are Tiny

You might wonder how a key so small can hold any kind of transponder chip. The chips are digital, roughly twice the size of a piece of rice. That's just a little bit bigger than the chips placed in pets for identification. That means you don't need a huge key to hold the chip.

You Have To Start With A New Key

Once a transponder key has been programmed to a car, it cannot be reprogrammed to another one. That is why it is important that you get your replacement key from a dealer or from a local automotive locksmith that specializes in automotive lockout services. They can ensure that you get a brand new key that is free to be programmed. If you try to order one online, you cannot be certain that the key you get is new, and therefore you could end up with a used key that is useless for your purposes.

Programming Doesn't Take Long

Every car has its own programming process for the keys, but the process itself is usually fairly quick. It can be done either directly from the key, or with the key in proximity to the car. Your locksmith can tell you what is necessary to program the key for your specific car.

The more you understand about transponder keys, the easier it is to understand why you can't go just anywhere to get a new one. Whether you want a second key for emergencies or your current one isn't working properly anymore, reach out to a locksmith near you for more information today.