Did you know that not all car keys are created equal? Well, it's true. In fact, there are two different kinds of car keys that you need to know about if you own or plan to purchase a vehicle in your lifetime, a transponder key and a regular key. Not to confuse a transponder key with another common addition to modern vehicles, They automotive remote known as a key fob which unlocks the doors and sets off the alarm but cannot start the vehicle itself. Some remotes are located on the top of the keys themselves, but the key is necessary to start the car and drive it down the road.
A classic, regular key works simply via the shape that it's cut into. The different cuts on the key correspond to the different sized tumblers in the locks which allow it to open the door to your vehicle and start it up. A regular key is flat, metal, is single or double-sided and works only because it was cut to fit your lock specifically.
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Chip keys, however, work a lot differently than one cut by a machine to fit your lock. they created from the combination of a transmitter and a responder, is an integral part of your vehicle's anti-theft system. There is a very small microchip located within the plastic head of the key that connects wirelessly to a device located near the ignition switch that receives the signal. The transponder emits a low-level signal that the receiver picks up and if the proper signals are sent the car can be unlocked and started with no problem.
The way the transponder works isn't exactly a simple thing, in fact, it involves a complex encryption and a code that changes every single time it's started. Via an incredibly specific algorithm with a rolling code that gets deciphered by the vehicle and the key itself, when the key comes near the vehicle, the vehicle transmits a code, the key has been programmed to find the correct answer to that algorithm with that code and suddenly you’re in your car and on your way. Other chip keys work via pin numbers like an ATM machine where the key puts out a code that your only your car can recognize and operate. Other involve not only receiving the proper cut for the metal portion of the key but it also has to have the correctly level of electrical resistance in Ohms or the car will not start. No matter how advanced your key system is, if such a system exists in your vehicle than you'll need a programmed key to go.
Going even further, there are even two styles of keys fob, zero-bitted and encrypted. A zero-bitted transponder key are set up to be easily cloned with no pre-set encryption code. If your locksmith sets up your key by inserting it into a tool, then inserting a key blank into that same tool they are simply cloning your key and you have a zero-bitted transponder. An encrypted key is a bit different. Encrypted keys have a preset random encryption that has to be programmed to the car. If your locksmith takes a new key out to your vehicle with a tool that hooks up to your OBD port in order to program it then you have an encrypted key.
Is it easy to tell the difference between a regular and a chip-style key? In most cases yes, it is. A microchip key will tend to have a plastic top that is thicker than that of a classic key. If you want to check for sure, simply wrap the plastic part of your key up in aluminum foil and try to start the car; if it doesn’t work you have a smart key for your car for sure.
So why did automakers decide to start using programmable keys instead of the classic style of years past? Possibly due to rising car theft rates that were making it difficult for automotive insurance companies to keep rates low. high security keys are always part of some Anti-Theft System in your vehicle created simply to keep strangers from stealing what’s yours. Nowadays purchasing a new vehicle that doesn't include a key fob is absolutely unheard of so any knowledge you can gain about the keys of the future is a good thing to know.
Not only are all new vehicles made with chip keys rather than the old, classic style, some high-end and luxury vehicles are even equipped with what’s called a proximity key that involves no insertion of a key at all. Instead, as long as you get close enough to the vehicle it will unlock and even start upon the push of a button once you’re inside. This is just another example of a type of transponder key it just works a bit different than it ever has before.
So, if you find yourself requiring a copy of the key to your vehicle's locks and ignition all you have to do is determine what kind of key it is you need. The newer the car that you drive the more likely a proximity key is present, so it's imperative you call our qualified locksmiths in Tampa, Florida for any and all keys that need cut or programmed to get you back out on the road right away.