If you drive a modern car, you’ll be very familiar with the process of reaching for your car keys and, at the click of a button, unlocking your car. But have you ever wondered what happens in that all-important split second between hitting that button and opening your car door? Do you ever wonder what technology and mechanisms power these invaluable devices?
Well, you’re not alone!
While transponder keys provide us with so much more than the ability to unlock our car, many drivers have little knowledge of them beyond simply understanding how to use them. But if you’d like to learn more about them, the best place to start is by understanding that most modern car keys are known as transponder keys. These innovative products were developed more than 2 decades ago, and they were designed to offer users a range of benefits that centre around security and convenience.
While they may be simple to use, these keys house far more moving parts than what meets the eye. Using technology that has been applied across a number of fields, transponder keys have become the norm across the automotive industry. In fact, 100% of car manufacturers now use these types of keys! If you’d like to find out more about what happens once you click that button, then continue reading about these valuable pieces of equipment.
What is a Transponder Key?
Transponder Keys And How They Work
While there’s no doubt that you’d recognise a transponder key in an instant, you may not quite know exactly what transponder car keys are and the functions they perform. Well, a transponder key is a remote device that allows us keyless entry to our cars by using microchips that transmit low-level signals, and these signals are read by a remote receiver. These microchips are programmed with unique serial numbers, and they are read by the remote receiver of the vehicle to either confirm or deny entry. As a result of their reliance on microchips, these devices are also known as chipped keys.
Differences Between Traditional Keys and Transponder Keys
For many of us, transponder keys may be the only type of car key that we’ve ever known, and that means we might not fully appreciate their many benefits. However, their introduction made for a big improvement on traditional car keys, and they benefit from a number of notable differences following a new and improved design.
Traditional types of car keys did not have any electrical components embedded in them, and instead relied on a simple lock and key system. These keys would engage the tumblers within a basic lock cylinder, and this turned the ignition switch and allowed the vehicle to start. As a result, they make for a far less secure type of car key, and their use is not as streamlined as that of their modern counterparts.
Advantages of Using Transponder Keys
Now that you know the difference between traditional car keys and transponder car keys, you may like to learn more about the benefits of these keys. While they do offer a wide range of advantages to their user, we’ve detailed some of the most important ones for you to understand. Once you’ve found out what they truly offer, you won’t take their fantastic benefits for granted any longer!
- Increased Security
Each transponder key that is produced has an individual serial number that is unique to that unit, and it must match the vehicle’s immobiliser system for the engine to start. This means that even if a car thief were able to break into your car, they wouldn’t be able to drive your vehicle without its unique set of chipped keys. This also makes duplication of the keys far more difficult to carry out, because they required specialised programming if they are to be used to start the ignition of the vehicle. Clearly, transponder keys offer clear security-related benefits to the user, giving you greater peace of mind than what traditional lock and key systems can offer.
- Convenient Use
While you may have only ever used a transponder key to unlock your car at the click of a button, things weren’t always this easy! Traditional keys required the user to physically unlock their car door, just as you would when you unlock the front door of your home. Some of the most modern transponder keys have developed even further, and they allow you to not only unlock your vehicle remotely but also enable you to start your vehicle at the push of a button. We’re lucky to live in an era where user-friendliness and convenience have taken centre stage, and transponder keys are just one example of the many modern conveniences that we enjoy each day.
- Cost Effective
Even though a transponder key is initially more expensive to purchase than a traditional key, they tend to be extremely cost-effective in the long run. The security-related benefits of these systems significantly reduce the potential for theft, which inevitably comes at some cost to the individual. In addition to losing your car, you may also lose your personal possessions, and the cost of losing a work computer or a prized possession with sentimental value simply cannot be quantified. Fortunately, transponder keys minimise the chances of these unfortunate circumstances from occurring, saving you valuable time and money.
Transponder Key Replacement
While transponder keys do offer a number of fantastic benefits far beyond those provided by traditional keys, they do require replacement over time. Unfortunately, transponder keys aren’t impenetrable and they do incur the same wear and tear that all commonly used personal items face. Fortunately, though, a transponder key replacement is a simple routine task for reputable automotive locksmiths.
When To Replace A Transponder Key
While it’s difficult to offer a specific time frame in which you can expect your transponder key to wear out, it’s important to recognise that this will happen over time. The specific time frame will of course depend on your personal use, but it’s best to be proactive and address any issues early on. However, chipped keys will inevitably require replacement when their battery eventually runs out of power, when the chip malfunctions and fails to start your ignition, or if your key has sustained physical damage, such as a bent or worn-down blade.
Selecting An Automotive Locksmith
When you do eventually require a transponder key replacement, it’s important to enlist the services of a reliable car locksmith. While you’ll have a number of providers to select from, keep in mind these key points when you make your final decision.
The most reliable providers tend to benefit from expertise across a range of different locksmith services beyond replacing transponder keys, and they’ll have a series of reviews that offer insight into the service that you can expect to receive. Typically, the best providers will also offer a 24-hour emergency service, ensuring you have access to the assistance you need no matter what time of day it is. The highest quality automotive locksmiths tend to be vastly experienced, and they’ll always be equipped with a comprehensive toolkit that makes sure they can resolve any problem you face.