fire- and water-proof safes for your home

« Back to Home

Transponder Keys: What Car Owners Need To Know

Posted on

If you have a newer model car, it may use a special key called a transponder in order for the car to start. The term transponder refers to the use of a transmitter and responder, which sends electronically transmitted signals to your vehicle's engine letting it know the key holder is the authorized user. These signals send information through an embedded chip inside the key that works in conjunction with your ignition, serving as an anti theft device.

Common Issues

The use of a transponder key can make starting your car much easier, since you don't technically have to physically insert the key into the ignition and turn it in order for the engine to start. As soon as the vehicle recognizes the signal it transmits, you can use your car's ignition start button and you're ready to go. If you have two of the same keys near each other, however, the signals may become crossed and your car might not start. Be sure you keep the spare in a separate place away from the key you carry with you. Since these types of keys use electronics inside to make them work, the batteries inside of them can eventually die. If your key is not working, make sure the battery is still good before you pay for a replacement key. 

Replacing Or Reprogramming Your Key

If you lose your transponder key, you will need to contact your dealership for a replacement. If the car is still under warranty, it may be covered free of charge. If your vehicle is not under warranty, it could be costly to get a new one made since it requires special programming for a new key to be issued. In some instances, your key may just need to be reprogrammed in order to get it working again. Try these steps to attempt to reprogram the transponder key yourself:

  • Place the key inside the ignition and turn it to the on position. Leave it in this same position for at least ten minutes or longer.
  • Once the key has been left in the on position, quickly turn it off and then back on within the next few seconds. Then, leave it there for another ten minutes or more.
  • Turn the key off and on, and repeat this step one more time. Doing this should "reset" the transponder key and reprogram it.

If you find that these steps are not successful in getting the transponder key to work, you may need to contact a locksmith who knows how to reprogram transponder keys. If all else fails, you may need to contact your vehicle's manufacturer for further, more detailed reprogramming instructions. While transponder keys can make using your car easier and are a good way to keep vehicle thieves at bay, it's important to know how to handle any issues you may experience with them if they stop working.