Transponder Key Programming Instructions

by Susanne Koenig

Adding an extra layer of security to your car is your transponder key. These particular keys have an electronic transmitter embedded in the head of the key which sends a signal to your ignition indicating that it is the right key for the car. For security reasons, they are not easy to copy or program, and for many cars it can only be done by a professional. It often takes special equipment to program the key with its unique and specific code, plus you have to have it cut, which can only be done by vendors registered with the manufacturer of your car. Usually you have to buy one from the dealership, but there are some alternatives.

Determine if your key can be programmed with your car. Some makes and models allow you to program your own key and key fob. You will have to consult your owner's manual to see if your car allows keys to be programmed using a sequence with the ignition and an already programmed key. Two of the brands that offer do-it-yourself keys are Ford and Toyota.

Call an automotive locksmith for a price on programming your transponder key if your car does not have the option of programming the key using the ignition. An automotive locksmith will give you a better price than a dealership, and usually delivers the key to you.

Consult your dealership to see if your car is still under warranty. If you return a key that is not working and the warranty is still valid, the dealer will program the key for free.

Tip

  • check Buying a transponder key online is a great way to save money, but be sure you have someone in the area who can program a pre-purchased key for you. Almost all dealerships and many locksmiths will refuse to program a key that has been purchased elsewhere, for proprietary and security reasons.

Warning

  • close Be aware that just because someone advertises as a locksmith does not make her a legitimate professional. To locate a locksmith near you, consult a professional association such as the Associated Locksmiths of America.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Car key image by Corneliu C from Fotolia.com