Modern Car Keys

Modern Car Keys

Just a but of background about car keys- in particular for vehicles manufactured after the year 2000.

After auto theft spiked in the late 1990’s car manufacturers had to introduce measures to combat vehicle theft.  Their solution was to fit vehicle immobilizers.

Vehicle immobilizers have been standard to many makes and models since the early 2000’s. They have been very successful in reducing auto theft – particularly in North America, and Australia.

When you try to start a car with an immobilizer, the cars ECU (or computer) sends out a request for a particular code associated with that vehicle.

Inside most keys is a transponder, (a Transmitter + Responder) the transponder receives the code request from the vehicles ECU and sends back a different code, telling the ECU that this is the correct key and it’s ok to start the engine.

Car keys can be duplicated but in almost all cases, the duplicated key will open the doors, and turn on the ignition, but will not start the engine – it will keep turning over without firing. The duplicated key must have a transponder coded to that specific vehicle.

This is a relatively easy task with the correct equipment – I use a Keyline 884 mini Transponder Cloner. The 884 can clone the majority of transponders available in a matter of minutes.

I would strongly encourage everyone with a vehicle manufactured after 2000 to make sure they have 2 working keys.

All too often I get calls from customers that have only 1 key (which they have lost or broken etc.) and now are unable to start their car.

Having a spare key cut and coded for most vehicles, is not a lengthy or overly expensive process.  In most cases, the cost is about a quarter of what it would cost if all keys were lost / broken.

I have some pictures below of the Keyline 884 mini in action. It is coding a key for a 2004 Nissan Patrol.

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