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Can Car Keys Be Copied? Know Everything About Your Car Key


No doubt, losing your car key is one of the most daunting experiences you can ever have. That happens rarely but puts you in a difficult situation. That’s why you should know the answer to can car keys be copied.

Of course, you can get an exact copy of your car key from any locksmith or hardware store. However, the success of making a copy of your car key depends on its type and complexity.

In this post, we’ll cover different types of car keys and what types can be copied.

Copying a Car Key

When the key fobs were not common, it was easy for lock-makers to copy the car keys. Why?

car keys copying

A key fob is a handheld remote device attached to a key. Moreover, it works electronically and stores data about your car. Even though it has the mechanical key attached, you can’t access your car’s security sensors without a key fob.

That data inside the key fob is encrypted, and thus, there is so far no machine that can decrypt that data.

The key fobs were introduced to enhance automobile security. Even if a person having negative intentions copies your car key, they won’t be able to get inside your car. The car’s security sensors will detect that a replica of the original key is trying to mechanically unlock the door.

So, if you want to make a copy of your car key, first, you have to know what type of key you have and what you want as a replica.

Types of Keys

The automobile industry kept on changing the car key standard with varying technology. The purpose of this struggle is to keep the security of the cars intact.

From 1950 to 1980, when only mechanical keys were standard, it was easy for thieves to try their luck on any car with a random key. Since the locks were finite in number, and the mechanical combination was simple to break, car theft became common.

Therefore, the car key manufacturers decided to introduce RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology in car keys.

That’s the first type of car key we’ll discuss.

Transponder Key

A transponder key, also known as the chipped key, has an RFID chip installed in the head. The purpose of that chip is to mitigate the risk of car theft.

When you insert the key in the ignition, your car recognizes the code, which is programmed into the car’s immobilizer system. This system is responsible for verifying the code of the RFID chip in the key and the code programmed in the car’s sensor.

Moreover, the car will only start when both the codes match. Otherwise, the immobilizer or anti-theft system will not allow you to start the car.

You can make a replica of a transponder key from hardware or locksmith. But that system will prevent you from starting your car using a replica key.

Therefore, you have to first reprogram the immobilizer system and sync it with your car’s RFID. Only then can you start your car using the new transponder key.

Besides, the transponder keys are the standard of car key manufacturing. You will see at least an RFID chip in today’s car keys.

How Does an Immobilizer System Work?

If your car is of a 2000 or later model, the immobilizer system is definitely there in your car. However, it varies from dealer to dealer.

This system has the key code embedded, which is the same on the key’s RFID chip. Now, when you insert the key in the ignition, that system reads the code of the RFID chip. You will not hear or see any kind of notification.

If the code matches, all good. Otherwise, the immobilizer will do any of the following:

  • Stops the Engine to Crank
  • Disable Fuel Injection in Engine
  • Quickly Shutdown the Engine

Check out the Dormen Keyless Remote for your car.

Laser-Cut Keys

The laser-cut keys are also famous as side-winder keys. These keys have a unique outlook. They are thick and sturdy with an indention on both sides.

Laser-Cut car Key

Such a car key shape allows you to insert the key in the ignition from either direction and start the engine. This ability gave these keys another name, “Internal Keys.”

Additionally, Laser-Cut keys come with expensive vehicles, typically from 1990 and later models.

How Laser-Cut Keys Enhance Security of Your Car?

You will find the patterns on these keys pretty complex. No doubt, this technology uses almost impossible key designs so that not everyone can copy a laser-cut key.

You can’t make such key designs on your own.

There’s a device called a sidewinder. This device carves the key and gives a unique pattern. Moreover, the sidewinder device is expensive and requires expertise to use it.

That way, the automobile car thieves out there can never unlock your car door or copy a laser-cut key. It’s because not every lock-maker possesses the machine to make such kinds of patterns.

Other than that, a laser-cut key also has a transponder chip. This chip increases automobile security and prevents anyone from starting the car without the original car key.

Have a look at the Flip Folding Remote for your car key fob.

Car Key Replacement

If you want a copy of a transponder key, you can easily get that from any lock-maker or hardware store. Moreover, they will guide you on how you can reprogram the RFID chip and sync the key with the car’s anti-theft system.

car key on hand

Since some transponders use different button combinations to complete the syncing process, it’s better to consult an automobile key expert.

On the other hand, laser-cut key makers are rare. It’s because the sidewinder machine is costly. Not every lock-maker can afford that device to carve those patterns on a laser-cut key.

Therefore, a replica of your laser-cut key is expensive, and you might have to spend $95-$165 for a single laser-cut key.

Final Words

If you have a transponder car key, you can easily find its replacement. The pattern on a transponder or chipped key is easy to replicate. Once you get the new key, you have to sync it with the immobilizer system of your car.

However, it’s recommended to get a key fob for your vehicle. If your car doesn’t support a key fob, switch to the laser-cut key for better security. That way, no one can make a copy of your car key, and thieves will never start your car using a random laser-cut key.

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