Modern Auto Keys

auto locksmith Chicago

Modern keys have come a long way from the formerly ubiquitous basic keys that ruled the auto world for decades. Basic keys consist of a blade with uniquely-cut grooves designed to fit a specific lock, and for decades were the standard for vehicle start and entry systems. While basic keys are inexpensive to replace, their simple form leaves cars relatively vulnerable to theft. To increase vehicle security, automobile manufacturers have come up with innovative vehicle entry systems that make duplication and unauthorized entry much more difficult.

Transponder Chip Keys

Transponder chip keys gained popularity in the mid-1990s as a more secure alternative to basic cut keys. In addition to a uniquely cut key blade, transponder chip keys also have a chip implanted into the head of the key. This chip communicates with a receiver in the vehicle’s engine. If the signal sent by the key does not match the one programmed into the receiver, the key will not be able to start the vehicle.

This helps prevent car theft, but it also makes transponder chip keys more difficult and expensive to replace. In the event of a lost transponder chip key, you will want to make sure that the locksmith you call has the necessary equipment to replace the key, as not all locksmiths are able to reprogram and replace transponder keys and key fobs. Dealerships are able to replace these keys, although they will usually charge a steeper price than a local locksmith company.

Switchblade Keys

Switchblade keys are similar to transponder chip keys in that both consist of a key blade and a pre-programmed key fob that communicates with a receiver in the vehicle that allows the engine to be started. The blades of switchblade keys are usually folded into the key fob when not in use. The blade can then be popped out with the press of a button. The parts can be replaced separately if either the key fob or the key blade is broken or damaged, which can help reduce cost.

Smart Keys

Smart keys are the latest trend among automobile manufacturers. Smart keys are bladeless automobile entry and engine starting system that communicate electronically to unlock and start the vehicle. While some smart keys must be inserted into the vehicle’s dashboard, others can communicate with antennas in the vehicle’s frame and do not need to be removed from a pocket or purse to be utilized. Many smart keys use rolling security code systems to increase the security of the vehicle. Because of the unique and variable codes associated with each key, auto theft is nearly impossible. However, smart keys are the most expensive keys to replace, as only car dealerships are able to create new replacement keys.

What to do if you lose your keys

In the event of a lost auto key, calling a local locksmith is probably your best bet. A good auto locksmith should be able to diagnose your difficulties quickly and tell you if they have the equipment necessary to create a new car key for you. If you are located in Chicago, Omega Locksmith is able to provide replacements and repairs for a wide variety of automobile keys, including transponder chip and switchblade keys. For speedy assistance at any time of the day or night, just give Omega Locksmith a call.


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