What Are Transponder Key?

Many times when you need an automotive locksmith, you’re in a tense situation or possibly even an emergency. Not every car security issue is a red alert, though! Sometimes you need a locksmith’s help with matters that aren’t time sensitive, and in these cases it pays to educate yourself beforehand. If you’re going to have automotive key work done and you know that your car has a transponder key, here’s a little background ┬áby ATLG Locksmith Brisbane that will help you understand the situation.

How Transponder Keys Work

A transponder key operates by providing an additional level of security above and beyond the physical pattern cut into the key that has to be passed before you can start your car. Transponder keys started appearing regularly around 1995 and they have now become virtually omnipresent in the auto industry.ATLG Locksmith Brisbane

When you insert your key into the ignition and turn it, the engine control unit or ECU in your car emits an extremely low power electromagnetic signal. This signal is absorbed by wire coils inside your key and used to transmit an even more subtle signal back to the ECU. This transmission is basically just a short string of alphanumeric characters – essentially a password. If the characters from your key don’t match the string the ECU expects, it will disable the starter and refuse to start your car.

How Transponder Keys DON’T Work

At first glance, you may think this system sounds a lot like keyless or remote entry – the technology that allows you to unlock or start your car from several feet away. While the intent (confirming that the right key is being used to start the vehicle) is the same, the electronics used for remote entry need much more power to transmit its identification signal.

This is why remote entry keys and keyfobs need batteries, and why their batteries can run down. In contrast, the transponder system used in the key itself is entirely passive. As long as the car has power from its battery, the transponder key will always work.

There’s some confusion between transponder keys and these more advanced systems, with many drivers (and even car salesmen and technicians, who should know better) referring to remote entry keys and fobs as transponder keys. The more powerful keys are more complex and more expensive; true transponder keys are fairly affordable.

Working On Transponder Keys

Any professional locksmith that handles automotive work should be fully equipped with the specialized equipment required to replace or duplicate transponder keys. With most makes and models this is a fairly straightforward process; the locksmith simply has to extract the correct alphanumeric string from the original key (or the car’s ECU) and encode it onto a new key.

Some manufacturers add extra layers of security into their keying systems that introduce additional steps into the process of duplicating or changing a transponder key. This is one of the reasons a locksmith’s pricing for auto keys varies from model to model.

Hopefully, this little article has expanded your knowledge on automotive locking technology is a small but helpful way. Remember that you can always learn more from a trustworthy locksmith who has plenty of experience working with cars!

What Are Transponder Keys?

Transponder keys are a special type of key that operates electronically, and that can be used to disarm an immobiliser on a vehicle when the car’s key is used to start the engine. This kind of key from Mobile Locksmith Gold Coast is very common on cars that were built after 1995, and it is a useful security feature.

How Do Transponder Keys Work?

Transponder keys work by ensuring that when the car key is turned, the engine’s control unit will send an electronic message to the key. The key then responds to that message. The key is programmed to respond in a specific way, and the car will only start if it gets that correct response from the key.

Transponder keys offer a double layer of security – they are a physical key that must be cut in the correct way to fit the lock that they go into, and they must also be programmed properly to ensure that the electronic control unit allows the car to start.

The transponder key can be programmed using a special device, which usually only authorised dealerships andMobile Locksmith Gold Coast garages have access to. This means that it is far harder for a would-be thief to start a car.

The term transponder is a shorthand for ‘transmitter + responder’ and it is not a new word, transponders have existed for more than 70 years, but they didn’t come into use in the consumer car market until just a couple of decades ago.

Transponders, in the car market, are relatively low powered devices. There is an induction coil mounted around the lock on the ignition, which produces an electromagnetic field. Inside the key, there is a transponder chip which includes some windings of wire that absorb the energy, and that energy is used to make the chip emit a signal. The signal is a unique (or at least specific and hard to guess) identification code that the car has been programmed to look out for. If the car recognizes the signal, then it will allow the vehicle to switch on.

Are Transponders Hard to Crack?

Transponders are a useful security measure, but they are far from perfect. Some older systems will remember the last key code for several minutes, so if you take the valid key out of the ignition and then try to use another key a couple of minutes later, it might still work. Also, some keys can be read or programmed by third party devices, although these are hard to come by if you are not a car dealer.

So, transponder keys are useful, but they are not perfect. If you want to keep your car secure, then you should look at ways to make it a less appealing target for thieves. Park it off-street, use a physical immobilizer. Don’t keep valuables in the car, and make sure you have and make use of a good car alarm. Transponder keys will help to improve security, but due diligence is always a good strategy.