Transponder Key Programming Instructions

by Susanne Koenig
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Car key image by Corneliu C from

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

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