Car Key Types: Buying and Programming Keys

The types of car keys available right now range from the standard car key, transponder key, car remote, key-remote combo, laser-cut key and the smart fob. Let us look at each in detail and see what the best option for your car is.

Standard Car Key

The standard car key is a metal key with nothing fancy on it. It’s a good old fashioned mechanical key that we have all seen. You cut the key, then take it out to your vehicle and turn the ignition and presto! The car starts up without any hassle.

Transponder Key

Things have started to progress in the last few years. After the mechanical key, they came out with something called the transponder car key. It has a plastic head on it, and in most cases, there is an inductor inside the plastic head.

There is a little handshaking that goes on back and forth between your car and the key. Your car puts out a magnetic shield that goes to the key which returns a bit of current. Based on that current value, your vehicle will decide whether to run or not run. Now how does the car know what to expect?

Well, the key needs programming to the vehicle for your vehicle to run. You hook to the car’s computer unit and tell it what value this key is going to return. Then you put the key into the ignition, and the car will start and run for you. The transponder key is what brought about the need to program keys to vehicles.

Ford Car Remote

Next is the basic ford car remote. The remote is separate from the key itself. It is hard to program to the car as hooking up to the vehicle’s computer is necessary. But in many cases, you could go through a series of steps to program the remote to the car. This way, the vehicle would recognise the remote to lock and unlock your doors.

Key Remote Combo

The next thing that the car manufacturers did is create a key-remote combo. You might think that is great as everything is possible at once. But what they did is take the transponder circuitry from the key and the electronic circuitry from the remote and put it in one unit. However, they did not combine the two. So even today a lot of cars that you find have programmable remotes but to get the key to start up the car, you have to hook it up to the computer to get it to recognise the key.

As a result, customers buy one of these online with programming instructions. The customer programs it and finds out that the remote works but the car won’t start. That is when we have to use the key to the vehicle for the vehicle to run.

High-Security Laser Cut Keys

Security became a concern at one point, so they came up with high-security laser-cut keys. Instead of the cuts running along the edge, the key cuts ran up and down the middle of the car key, making it more secure. It made it much more difficult to duplicate this key. And coming out and originating the car key for the car was also complicated.

So the expensive part of this car key is not the key itself. It is the same price as a typical transponder key, but the laser cutting is costly. It is because you need an expensive machine to do the laser cutting.

Smart Fob

Nowadays, the last step of evolution that has occurred is the smart fob. So if you have a push-button car and a proximity fob, then approach the vehicle, and it auto unlocks the door. Then you sit in the car and press the button, and the car starts.

You do not even have to go to the dealer to get the car key programmed. Luckily locksmith tools and equipment can handle this for you as well.

You can take the laser cut key out from the smart fob so that you can use it on the doors if necessary.

Final thoughts

These are the car key types available, from the early mechanical car key to the fob key. If you need a backup car key, then contact Replacement Car Keys.

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