A lost car key or only one key  can be pricey to replace - upwards of $637 - from the dealer.


Many people put off getting a second set of keys for their vehicle due to the hassle and cost

of having to visit the dealership. The dealer will require proof of ownership of the vehicle as

well as the vehicle VIN number.

What exactly is a transponder key?
Transponder keys have an RF Transmitter encased inside the plastic head of the key.

These keys/remotes transmit an extremely low-level signal that only the vehicle can detect.

The key may be a stand-alone key that inserts in the actual ignition, or may be a part of a

key-less entry, push button ignition or proximity ignition start which means the driver simply

has to have the remote with them while driving the vehicle.

Why do vehicles come with transponder keys? 
Due to the high number of stolen Corvettes, GM was the first US auto manufacturer to

introduce a chip key on the 1985 Corvette. Corvette thefts dramatically decreased as a result

of the VATS key and system – Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS). As thefts decreased, more and more automobile manufacturers began implementing the VATS technology.

How does a transponder key work?
They are used to prevent the vehicle from being hot wired. The car will not start if the device at the switch does not detect the low-level signal from the key. If a copied key is used without the proper programming, the signal will not be able to communicate with the computer and allow the ignition to engage. No longer is hot wiring a car a threat. 


How do you know if your vehicle has a transponder key?

Examine the key. In most cases it will be considerably thicker than a standard key and the top will be encased in a plastic housing while other keys are encased in the car remote.

Still not sure? Take your car key and wrap several layers of tin foil around the plastic part of the key and then attempt to start the car. If it doesn’t start, chances are there is a transponder present. There are exceptions to this DIY method, but not many.

Another difference between a standard key and a transponder key is the cost. Simply call the dealership with your VIN number and ask how much a replacement key/and or fob will cost. Now comes the sticker shock. Chances are getting a second key/and or remote will set you back anywhere from $50 - $900 depending on the year and make and model of the vehicle.

Bypass the dealer and save.
Due to advances in technology, automobile dealers are not the only ones that can provide replacement transponder keys and remotes. Specialized locksmiths like we have here at A & E can generally replace and program keys for many of today’s newer vehicles saving you money and the hassle of visiting your dealership.