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The Cost of Chip Key Programming

Chip Key Programming in SF

 Although transponder chip car keys are a wonderful security innovation, sometimes programming chip keys can be an expensive hassle. It doesn’t have to be, though, as long as you know the ins and outs of chip key programming.

Many cars made since the mid-1990’s have a transponder chip embedded in the vehicle’s key. When the key is inserted into the ignition, it sends out a radio frequency ID; if the car’s computer does not detect that particular RFID, the car will not start even when the proper cut of key is inserted. Thus, unauthorized key duplicates cannot be used to drive the vehicle because they lack the proper transponder. Although this security feature is helpful for theft prevention, it can make key replacement much more difficult.

Programming chip keys isn’t as simple as duplicating older key types, but you don’t always need to go to the dealership for chip key programming and replacement. Some types of vehicles allow you to program new chip keys yourself – but ONLY if you already have two properly programmed keys. First, you will have to buy a blank transponder chip key appropriate for your particular vehicle. You may be able to purchase these blanks online or at your dealership. Then, go to a locksmith and have the key cut. Next, the process generally requires that you insert one already programmed key and turn it to “Run” without actually starting the engine. Then repeat the process with the second programmed key. Finally, when you repeat the process with the unprogrammed key, the car should automatically program it for you. Be aware, though, that this does not work on every make and model of car, and so you should consult your owner’s manual or call your local car dealership before attempting to program a chip key yourself.

With some vehicles, programming chip keys yourself is not an option. Also, it is never an option if you only have one copy of your transponder key. In these situations, you can either go to the car dealership or to a certified automotive locksmith. Car dealerships will often charge between 150 and 200 dollars for replacement transponder chip keys. While locksmiths will charge less than this, not all locksmiths are capable of programming chip keys, so it may take a bit of searching to find a Locksmith in Concord with the proper machinery. If you can find a capable locksmith, you will still need to order a blank transponder key from the dealership or online and then take it to your locksmith for programming. However, if you don’t have any copies of the transponder key, even a locksmith may not be able to help you – you may just have to go to the dealership.

Online, you can read about ways to bypass your car’s transponder chip. Usually these methods entail removing the transponder from your key and affixing it to the car somewhere near the ignition switch. However, if you do this you will lose all the security benefits of having a transponder chip key and it may even affect your insurance company’s willingness to compensate you in the event of a car theft. Bypassing your car’s transponder is NOT a good idea. Instead, just make sure that you have duplicate transponder chip keys made before you lose the last copy of your key.

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