Transponder Programming FAQ

Programming transponder keys is a process that, while simple to our licensed experts, confuses many members of the public. At SOS, we believe our ability to successfully and skillfully program transponder keys sets us apart from the majority of locksmiths out there, by providing our customers with the advantage of an easy way to remedy automotive key issues – without having to resort to traveling to their car dealership. Here’s some of the most common questions that we receive about programming transponder keys.


What are transponder keys?

They are car keys with transponder chips that allow proper user verification. The chip sends a signal that works with a transceiver inside your car – so if a different key is used, the car will not start. Some transponder keys that are not properly programmed can open the car’s doors or trunk, but not be able to start the car’s ignition.


Does a transponder key need to be programmed?

Yes, it does in order for the car to work. Some older cars that work with standard metal keys don’t need to be programmed – as they don’t utilize a transponder system. If you just want a key that will open the car’s exterior locks, you don’t need to program a transponder – but if you have a car that works with an internal transceiver, you absolutely need a working and properly programmed transponder key.


How do I know if my key is a transponder?

The metal part of the key is attached to a large flat plastic or rubber bow shell, which houses the transponder. You can remove the shell to look at the transponder chip, but be careful not to damage or scratch it as that can render the key unuseable. If you try to start the car with a copied key of just the metallic part and it won’t work, then you are working with the original transponder key.


Do I need to purchase a brand new key?

If you want a second key you will need to pay to have it reprogrammed – don’t buy secondhand keys, as these will cause you issues due to the likelihood that they have already been programmed for another car and cannot be reprogrammed to match your car. We recommend utilizing the services of an expert locksmith like our own in order to program you a fresh transponder key.


How long does it take to program a transponder key?

This takes a simple matter of minutes when being handled by an expert, and can be programmed with your car, or through codes provided by your Vehicle Identification Number.


Does transponder programming services include key cutting?

Not necessarily, but our experts can easily handle both and provide you a fully functional key with both the traditional metallic aspects as well as a working programmed transponder chip.


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