Like anything that works on computer chips, car transponder keys work great most of the time. However, if something goes wrong with the chip or its programming, their systems can fail and stop working.
If your car has suddenly stopped responding to your transponder key, you're stuck. If your car is out of warranty, you may not get free help from your dealership or manufacturer. If you need to use the car soon, you can't wait for them to fix the key or get you a new one. You may have heard somewhere that you can reprogram transponder keys yourself. Is this true and can you do it?
Can You Reprogram the Key?
While some cars allow self-programming on keys, some don't. To find out if you can do this on your car, find the manual. It should have a section on reprogramming keys or a section on what to do if your keys stop working. If the manual contains instructions on how to reprogram the key, you might be in luck.
Do You Have Everything You Need?
Car manufacturers can't make key reprogramming easy. If it were easy, anyone could hack a key and steal your car.
So, as well as reprogramming instructions, you'll need other things during the process to make it work. Depending on the car model, you may need the following:
- Access to the inside of your car. You often can't reprogram a key unless you're in the car. If your transponder key doesn't open the doors now, try the manual key that came with the vehicle.
- A pin code card: If your car key is reprogrammable, you'll have been given a code card with all your documentation. This card usually has four digits on it that you use during the reprogramming process.
- A spare transponder keys: Some reprogramming only works if you have two keys. You need the one that doesn't work and one that does to complete the process.
This can pose problems. For example, you may have lost your PIN card and haven't written down the number. If you haven't got another key to get into the car, then you may be out of luck.
If you can't reprogram your key for any reason and need to use your car urgently, call an emergency locksmith and ask for advice. Locksmiths often work with electronic car keys as well as house ones now, and you should be able to find one locally who can come and reprogram the key for you.