Useful Facts about Modern Car Keys – Part III

In this last part of the article ‘Useful Facts about Car Keys’, we’ll look at the batteries of car keys, different choices for you for car keys, how they work, car keys that don’t need batteries, and more.

Certain transponder keys work (receive + transmit) as signal with no need of battery, while certain other companies create chip keys that need to use a microchip and a battery. Because of copyright laws, various manufacturers create chips in different ways.

If you look keenly at a steering column with its base shroud removed, you will see the antenna ring around the ignition cylinder. It receives and sends signals.

If now you look at a key, especially with its parts separated, you may see that the chip uses a battery. Such a key operates by copying an existing key. Its battery needs to be replaced time and again.

And if you look at the transponder chips of two different cars, for example of a Ford and a Chrysler, you will see that they don’t have a battery.

There is another type of key called a “shell” which has no transponder. If there is a transponder, it can be put inside the cartridge and then the cartridge is slid inside the bow (plastic head) of the key. This is particularly useful if your key blade is broken, but chip is in good condition and you want to use it again.

There is still one more type of key that should be mentioned. You will see it usually associated to BMW, Benz, Corvettes and other such high end cars. They have now started being seen on Toyotas and other reasonably priced cars too. Such a key is known as Proximity keys (Prox Keys). They don’t feature mechanical cuts or ignition to insert. When you are near the car, the key is sensed by the car and it will unlock when the sensor on the door is touched and the motor too will start when you press the start button.

In conclusion, you can have several kinds of transponder keys and some are more useful than others. Some can be programmed by you on your own, while others may need to be programmed by a professional. Whatever is the case, if you have only one key, don’t forget to make a copy. If you feel the need of getting a transponder key cut (originated) and programmed, you will have to spend several hundred dollars. If having an extra transponder key is not affordable to you, you can choose to have a “service key”. This is a flat metal key (non-transponder key that works exclusively with the mechanical cuts) cloned from your transponder-equipped key. It doesn’t have the transponder chip and won’t start your car, but will unlock the doors in case you are locked out and getting a maniacal key will save some cash for you if you misplace your transponder key and require to make another. A service key is often economical. Whether you spend some extra money to get a copy made of your transponder key or save money and make one in the future, make sure that you get a copy that won’t require a battery to work.

Hope this information about the modern car keys will help you to make an informed decision while getting duplicate keys and understanding why they cost so much more than standard car keys.

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