Can A Locksmith Program Transponder Keys

In most cases, any locksmith can program a transponder key, which contains an electronic microchip built into the head. However, if you need to have a key of this kind programmed, you should look for a locksmith who specializes in dealing with automotive issues so you have confidence in the work performed.

Overview of Transponder Keys

The term “transponder” is short for transmitter and responder. The primary reason for the invention of these keys was to reduce and even eliminate vehicle theft. As such, these keys are a critical part of your automobile’s overall security.

The system includes the key with a microchip built in, as well as an antenna ring around the ignition, also called an induction coil; the immobilizer; and the vehicle’s Engine Control Module. After you insert a programmed transponder key into the ignition lock cylinder and turn it to the on position, a burst of energy comes from the antenna ring via radio frequency. At that point, the chip absorbs the energy, followed by sending an identification code back to the antenna ring.

Next, the antenna ring sends an identification code to the computer system in the car. As long as the code in the key matches the code in the computer’s memory, the immobilizer disables. At that time, your car will start. As soon as the system recognizes the transponder key, the security light in the car goes out. However, if that light blinks, it means the computer does not recognize the identification code. In that case, the car will not start.

When a problem arises, you need to hire a licensed automotive locksmith who can program the transponder key. Keep in mind that each automaker has a unique system. For this reason, the locksmith will need to contact the manufacturer to get the correct code. However, after acquiring the code, the programming is relatively easy and fast.

Evolving Technology

The first transponder-based engine immobilizer system was introduced in North America for vehicles starting in 1996. Initially, the Ford Taurus came equipped with a fixed code chip, which had a set code that never changed. Over time, additional vehicle manufacturers adopted this same technology. Soon after, a rolling code transponder-based engine immobilizer system launched in which the code changed each time the key cycled in the cylinder lock.

From there, encrypted transponders were developed. For these, a Challenge and Response function calculate the value, which went to the onboard computer. With this, mathematical algorithms determine the code. Today’s transponder keys are high-tech, with different manufacturers personalizing them. For this reason, it is essential to use the services of a qualified locksmith. Of all the different keys used for vehicles, transponder keys are the most popular and secure.