What to do When Your Transponder Key Isn't Working

Be warned, not all keys are made the same! For most of us, we do not pay much attention to the set of keys in our pocket. The most important thing is that they work. However, depending on the make, model and, most frequently, the price of your vehicle, will greatly change the types of keys that you might be dealing with. There are essentially five different varieties of keys;

They are the following:

  • Standard-Looks like your house or any other key you might have
  • Common Transponder- Normal key typically with a longer, plastic end that contains a microchip.
  • Laser Cut- Complex pattern etched on both sides
  • Switchblade- Pops out of a plastic case that is usually also a keyless remote for your car locks
  • Smart Proximity- Usually for push-button starts, senses when you are near vehicles and locks and unlocks accordingly among other features.

Aside from standard keys, most of these types use transponder technology and if you are having trouble unlocking, locking or starting your car, it may be a problem with the transponder.

What is a Transponder Key?

how a transponder key works

The first step to diagnosing the problem is understanding what the technology is. Back in the old days, some cars could be started just by jamming a screwdriver inside the ignition. In order to combat thefts that occurred like this, carmakers started utilizing transponder technology in the 1990s.

Inside your key, there is a small microchip that sends a unique signal to your car’s ignition. Without this signal, the car will not start. Even if somebody exactly duplicates your key, if they did not program the transponder, then the car will not move.

The majority of cars produced after 1995 utilize this technology. But if you are still not sure, you can actually remove the case on the back of your key. Do be careful, however, because any damage to the chip will result in your vehicle not functioning properly.

What can go wrong?

There is a variety of things that can happen to make your system not function properly. Generally the most common is damage to the key itself. If this is the case, then you need a certified locksmith to program you a new key.

Here is a short list of things that may go wrong with your key:

  • Broken or Lost Key
  • Dead battery
  • Electronics Dysfunction
  • Keys need to be reprogrammed
  • Computer System Error

Also, do not expect to be able to just go down to the hardware store and get a new copy of your key. Even if they manage to duplicate the original perfectly, it won’t work. That’s the whole point of technology!

Sometimes, the key might be fine but there can be a problem with the receiver. If your key looks relatively undamaged and is turning the ignition, but the car will not start then that is a good sign that something is wrong. If the car does not start after a few tries, then you need to call a locksmith. Do not try to keep starting the car because that may only damage the key and cause further problems.

Likewise, if the key is stuck in the ignition, do not try to use brute force to wrench it out. If the key breaks, you will have additional problems.

When It’s Time To Call For Help

Remember, time is money. Some people will spend hours trying to find some strange strategy from the Internet to be able to fix the key. Although it may not seem like it, a key is a sophisticated piece of technology and most “home-fixes” are likely to cause more problems than actually solve anything. There are a few reasons why you might want our services for your transponder key including:

  • Repair
  • Reprogramming
  • Replacement
  • Duplication

So don't hesitate - when it's time to call for help, our nearest car locksmith can be at your side within 30min to fix transponder key problems in a heartbeat! 

Don’t Go to the Dealership

get back in the driver's seat

You might be asking yourself, “Do I need to buy a new key?” Dealerships are expensive. They make most of their money in the service departments and even if you manage to just go in there for new keys, you will be a significant upcharge. Not only this, they always find “something wrong” with your car. Finally, dealerships are only open 9-5 and not every day. Problems like these tend to happen at not the best time, or place. How do you even get to the dealership when you can’t move your car?

Our mobile locksmiths have the tools and experience to do jobs on the spot. In addition, we are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and three hundred sixty-five days a year. We can meet you anywhere whether you are at home or in the middle of nowhere so you save time. You do not have to worry about calling a tow truck or finding a taxi to go somewhere.

It is all about time and you might be wondering how long this takes. If your key only needs to be reprogrammed than we can do it in just a few minutes. If the key needs to be duplicated, but the transponder is still functioning, then this too takes only a few minutes.

The only jobs that take a bit longer are if a key needs to be cut from scratch. However, we generally can do this in thirty minutes or so and even that is quicker than just getting to the dealership!

Don’t waste any more time and contact a professional technician. Our fast and affordable service will have you going in no time! If you are stuck with a broken transponder key then give us a call now!

What Customers Say About Us

247 ASAP Locksmiths Testimonial
Mark G.
Crockett Blvd

The keys to my office went missing, just disappeared last night. I was so frustrated, besides for being embarrassed in front of my employees, I also didn’t want to lose money due to the delay. I called for a locksmith and Justin came over straight away, he suggested re-keying the lock, in case my keys were stolen, I thought this was a great idea, and that’s what we did, he then made new keys for me on the spot.

247 ASAP Locksmiths Testimonial
Tyler Goodman
Wilshire Blvd

My office is in Los Angeles and I often need to meet people. So the day my office door stopped to work, I was both sad and upset. My secretary called for me 247 ASAP Locksmiths and I was pleased from the fast job and professional education the guy from Locksmiths have. My work day was safe!

247 ASAP Locksmiths Testimonial
Sophia Tucker
98th Street

Unexpected situations are always embarrassing and upsetting… especially if you have no time at all! When I realized my garage door wasn’t working I nearly got a heart attack! After a few minutes, I got a great idea and I called 247 ASAP Locksmiths: the guys arrived on time and did an excellent job!