Car key technology has advanced rapidly in the past 25 years, but what happens if the transponder in your car key stops working and how can it be replaced? And how do you avoid falling victim to criminals cloning your car key?
Vehicle manufacturers have been locked in a battle almost since cars were invented to stay one step ahead of car thieves, and key technology has been a crucial part of this battle.
Since 1996, vehicle manufacturers have been including tiny computer chips – commonly known as transponders – inside keys that can switch off a vehicle’s immobiliser remotely. These are sealed away in the key, which means they are difficult to break. Transponder keys were so successful that car crime figures dropped dramatically in the months after their introduction.
As a result, transponders are an integral part of all keys today. However, while transponder keys are hardwearing, they aren’t indestructible and do occasionally break or stop working. But what should you do if this happens?
Call an auto locksmith
If your transponder key has stopped working, then you won’t be able to start your vehicle, so you are going to need to get it fixed. It’s not a job that can be done at home, so your first call should be to an auto locksmith. An auto locksmith is trained to replace transponder keys for all makes and models of car, van or truck on the road today
If you live in the East Midlands, give Keyworx Auto Locksmiths a call. Our team of experienced auto locksmiths are ready any time of the day or night to come out to drivers wherever they may be in the county and can replace a transponder key.
The alternative is to call a local dealership for the make of vehicle you drive, but there are downsides to doing this. Dealerships can replace transponder keys but they will usually take a few days to get this done, while an auto locksmith can do this while you wait. In addition, dealerships often charge more than auto locksmiths do for replacing a transponder key. You may also have to get your car to the dealership yourself, which can be tricky if the transponder key isn’t working and you can’t start your car.
What is involved in transponder key cloning?
Cloning a transponder key is as you would expect it to be; in a nutshell, the data from the original broken key is extracted and put onto a new blank transponder key. This means the new key is identical to the original and your vehicle won’t know it is a different key and will therefore work as normal.
Auto locksmiths carry specialist equipment on their vans that enables them to extract the data from the broken key and then transfer it to a new one.
The auto locksmith will then cut a blank key to replicate the original – again, they carry specialist tools with them to do this, which aren’t available to the general public – before putting the new data on it. They have the expertise to be able to cut a new key for any vehicle on the UK roads today – auto locksmiths have regular training to keep up to date with the latest innovations in key technology and new cars on the road.
But it isn’t just auto locksmiths who can clone transponder keys – criminals can do it as well. Cars being stolen via a cloned key is a relatively common method of theft today.
How do they do it? First of all, the criminal will look to get hold of the original key. There are various ways this can be done, such as when the owner is away from the keys for a time, perhaps at places where there is valet parking (although please note that the overwhelming majority of valet parking organisations are completely above board – this is just for example purposes).
Once they have the key, they then duplicate it. There are key cloning technologies available online – although not the specialist tools auto locksmiths carry – that enable them to do this and are relatively inexpensive to buy. The original key is then given back to the owner, who will be none the wiser as to what has happened.
Then, all the thief has to do is choose their moment to steal the car – whether it is later that day, next week or next month. If they choose to wait, the owner might not even remember when they were away from their keys and it makes the theft seem like even more of a mystery. It also enhances the chance that the car is gone for good – unless you have things like tracking devices installed that can help to find it.
Generally, it is a good idea to know where your keys are at all times when you are out of the house. However, please remember that car theft isn’t as common as it was years ago, and your transponder key is more likely to break than be cloned by a criminal.
Call Keyworx Auto Locksmiths
If your transponder key has stopped working and you live in the East Midlands, then give Keyworx Auto Locksmiths a call. If it is an emergency, one of our team can be with you, wherever you are in the region – in less than an hour. Our experienced professionals carry state-of-the-art equipment with them on their vans that means they can provide you with a new transponder key while you wait. In addition, our prices are fully transparent – so there are no nasty surprises once the work has been done – and are competitive with any other auto locksmith in the East Midlands region. For more information on our services and to book a convenient time for one of our team to come out to you, call one of our friendly and knowledgeable team