How Car Key Programming Works - Modern Key

How Car Key Programming Works

December 28, 2021

Back in the day, starting a car was very easy. You have just to get in and turn the key, and the engine will do the rest. Unfortunately, this simple starting mechanism also made it easier for thieves to steal cars.

With cars being purchased as the best means of transportation, the threat of theft also increased. Car programming, in simple terms, is a security mechanism that was introduced as an innovative and advanced security measure to prevent car theft. Here is all you need to know about how car key programming works.

How does It work?

In late 1996, car manufacturers used a special programming technique to make their cars much safer for owners and reduce the risk of potential theft. This incorporates a specialised microchip made of carbon fibre into your car keys. The key works by transmitting a code to a receiver in your car which will unlock your car door only on receipt of the correct code. In other words, the key and the car must be synchronised for the car to unlock.

So for your cars to start, the unique chip must be detected. This also means that even if someone duplicates your car key, they will not be able to start your car as the unique microchip will not be detected. While this is a great way to prevent car theft, your key will not be able to open your car even if this key is damaged. Damaged car keys will not be able to give your car the right signal to synchronise. Sometimes you’ll be able to open your car with a damaged key, but you won’t be able to start your car because of the lack of a programmable car key chip.

In worse cases, you will be locked out if you lose your car key. The only way to get around this issue is to order a replacement key from the car manufacturer or dealers, which is both expensive and time-consuming. This is where car key programming comes in.  

Car key programming is where a specialised locksmith will reprogram the preset clank chip in a new car key so that it will suit the current settings of your vehicle. This will give you instant car key replacement at a reasonable price rather than having it done by dealers or car manufacturers.

How Locksmiths Do Car Programming? 

Car programming is similar to car key duplication. Though some processes may differ a little, for the most part, this is how a car key programming works under a specialised and experienced locksmith,

  • Step one – First, the locksmith will assess your car to identify its make, model and year of the vehicle. This will help them identify the right blank key fob and any other special tools they need for the specific vehicle.
  • Step two – Then the locksmith will program the fob or the transponder key, or even clone the key if it’s possible. To do this, they use special equipment. This is the actual car key programming step.
  • Step three – Once the key is programmed, the locksmith will test to make sure it’s working. The car key will work the first time around most of the time. If not, they will keep adding additional programming until the key works.