Every Day I am asked how much for a key for my Vehicle, and often the customer is shocked from my response. Why is this? The answer, the biggest cost these days in reproducing new car keys is the transponder, a small discreet Carbon chip located inside your key.
A Transponder is an electronic security device fitted to a vehicle that prevents the engine from running unless the correct transponder car key is present. Primarily this prevents the car from being “hotwired” after entry to reduce motor vehicle theft.
The technology became mandatory by law for all new domestic vehicles sold throughout in Australia in 2001, and has since progressed to commercial vehicles and is even found in some motorbikes.
The microcircuit inside the key is activated by a small electromagnetic field which induces current to flow inside the key body, which in turn broadcasts a unique binary code which is read by the vehicles ECU via an antenna coil on the vehicles Ignition lock. When the ECU determines that the coded key is both current and valid, the ECU activates the fuel-injection sequence allowing the vehicle to start.
In some vehicles, attempts to use an unauthorised or “non-sequenced” key cause the vehicle to activate a timed no-start condition and in some highly advanced systems lock out all users to that vehicle until a tech can unlock the ECU via a diagnostic machine.
Transponder tech is not new, Radar operators used this tech back in WW2 to identify aircraft on radar and in period radio transmitters. Transponders are still used today in the aviation understory and even used today in the Toll tags connected to your prepaid Toll account.
It is important to note that although a lot of keys come with remote integrated keys the Transponder works independently of this system, in turn you can have a transponder key even if your car has no remote.
Historically vehicle manufactures have made programing new keys for vehicles very difficult. However these days’ quality locksmiths are able to programme new keys to the majority of cars on Australian roads. The process to do this differs with each vehicle manufacture we are even able to reproduce new keys should all keys be lost or stolen.
Like many this in this day and age it is cheaper to be prepared, and have a spare key than be shocked when the worst happens and all the keys are lost. Top lock has the ability to Cut, Program and configure new integrated remote flip keys often of better quality than OEM keys.