Replacing Automotive Chip Keys
Chip keys date back to around 1995, and, while they’re an effective way of preventing many types of car theft, they can also cause headaches for you when you need them replaced. The reason for this is the “chip” which gives a “chip key” its name.
An automotive chip key contains a microchip inside which transmits a unique number whenever it’s inserted in the ignition. When you turn the key, the chip key sends this serial number to a special receiver in the car body. If the receiver “sees” the right serial number come in when you turn the ignition, it tells the car computer that the key is legitimate. The car computer then deactivates the engine’s immobilizer, and the car can start and drive normally.
Getting computer chip keys made is therefore not as simple as getting ordinary car keys made. In order to handle most types of car keys, we at Charlotte Locksmith Local have a variety of machines and blank keys on hand. This is because each car make and model has differently programmed keys. When you go to us to get your auto chip keys made, we have to (and almost always do) have the right programmer and key for your specific vehicle.
One thing you will find is that the price of a chip key varies depending on your car. As you might guess, the chip key for a Honda is less expensive than the chip key for a BMW. High-end car makers’ keys tend to be more sophisticated and expensive, just like every other part in the car.
Generally the most expensive way to get your chip or transponder keys replaced is to go to the dealership. According to auto mechanics who refer customers there, over and over again they get complaints about the high prices dealerships charge to replace a key. What’s worse, many car owners have been led to believe going to the dealership is the only option they have. Fortunately, it isn’t. At Charlotte Locksmith Local, we can often make your chip keys for much cheaper than the dealership.
If You Don’t Have One, Here’s Why You Need A Second Car Key
The fact is, losing your transponder keys can be very expensive… far more expensive than having a duplicate made. If you lose your car’s keys and you no longer have your original key code on hand, the dealership may charge you more than $1000 to produce new keys and reprogram your car!
The advanced technology in modern car keys — smart keys, switchblade keys, or laser-cut keys, — means that it’s more complex than ever to replace a key. Unless you have a spare, when you lose your car keys the dealership will be forced to tow your car to their lot, and then you’ll be left waiting until they order and program the replacements. Compared with this, it’s far faster and cheaper to have a replacement key on hand, left in a safe spot at home. The hassle of getting automotive chip keys cut in an emergency simply isn’t worth