To be able to define what transponder keys are, you first need to understand that the word transponder comes from two words which are a transmitter and a responder. In a simple definition, a transponder key is a car key that that contains a chip that sends a low-level signal to the engine control unit for the engine to ignite. It is, however, worth noting that the system sends the message only when the key is inside the ignition system. A computer system controls the vehicle and transmits and receives signals before the engine ignites.
Is investing in a transponder key worth it?
The locksmith may charge you more than you expect if your vehicle uses a transponder key and this may raise questions whether it is worth incurring such high cost instead of just acquiring a regular key. The two primary reasons for using a transponder key are;
1. Prevents theft. The chip makes it hard for thieves to hot wire your car or break the ignition lock so as to start your car’s engine. This chip makes it hard for thieves to ignite vehicle because the system fails to send the signal needed. The modern cars come with a computer system that demands coordination for the engine to start running.
2. It makes it hard to ignite the vehicle using an unauthorized key. Malicious people or thieves may try to start your car with other keys, but the chip makes it impossible. The transponder system is built in such a way that it must send the intended signal for the engine to start. These keys also come with a unique digital signature that the computer system in the car will have to recognize before the motor vehicle ignites.
The major types of transponder keys.
There are two major types of keys that apply different approaches in their preparation and functioning.
Zero-bitted. These types of keys that are set in such a way that they can be cloned and do not come with preset inscription. For this key to be functional, the locksmith picks your original key and clones it using a key blank.
Encrypted keys. This system is pre-set with a random encryption, and your car should be programmed to accept the key. The locksmith uses special equipment to program the vehicle to respond to this system.
The process of programming your car to respond to the transponder chip may vary from one locksmith to the other depending on the equipment available and the model of the car.
How do you maintain the transponder chip?
The approach of maintenance will depend on some factors such as the handling, the model of car and the features of this tool. Some keys use disposable batteries which need changing once the power runs out. If your vehicle’s engine fails to start after you insert the key in the ignition, the noblest thing you can do is to check the batteries if they are available. If a battery does not power your system, then you can contact your local locksmith to establish the problem.
It is also advisable to have a pair of transponder keys so as to prevent inconveniences that may arise if you accidentally lose your only piece. You can easily get a copy from a professional locksmith so as to protect from future troubles.
Extra security tips for your car?
The transponder chip makes it hard for unauthorized persons to access your vehicle. This tool does not, however, guarantee you 100% security that warrants you to be careless with your car. In the light of the above; always ensure that the car doors are always locked and also park your vehicle in secure areas.
What are the other benefits of using a transponder key for your car?
On top of enhanced security, a car that uses this system is most likely to enjoy discounts from insurance companies when taking anti-theft policies. Such companies offer discounts as they acknowledge that the risks of such a car being stolen are lower than if the car uses just the common keys.
It is quite evident that a transponder key is essential to protect your vehicle from unauthorized access. Even though the systems may differ from one manufacturer to the other, it is quite evident that these keys play the primary role of keeping your auto safe.