How to Determine if a Car Key Has an Electronic Chip

by Contributor

Finding yourself locked out of your car is a terrible feeling. Matters are much worse when you only have the one key. You must find out if your car has an electronic chip in the key before you get into this situation.

Step 1

Read over the information in your car's owner's manual. It should give you information about your car's ignition system and whether or not your car keys contain an electronic chip.

Step 2

Call the car dealership where you bought your car. Your salesperson should be able to give you information about your specific car keys.

Step 3

Contact a locksmith. Give the locksmith the make, model and year of your car, and they should be able to find out if your car key has an electronic chip.

Assume that your car has an electronic chip if it is a model made after 1995. Regular keys look the same as electronic keys, so you cannot determine if they have a chip based on your key's physical appearance.


  • Keys with electronic chips must be used to start the car, but you may have a regular key made to get into your car.
  • Your owner's manual will send you to the dealership for programmed key information, but will also guide you to a locksmith who can answer your questions or get you into your car, if necessary.

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