How Does Key Programming Work?

How Does Key Programming Work?

Make no mistake about it: cars are, for most people, an expensive investment. There are few comparable possessions that pack so much value into such a compact space, so it is unsurprising that, for decades, car manufacturers have been devising increasingly sophisticated and robust security measures to prevent vehicle thefts.

What Is Car Remote Key Programming?

Unlike the car keys of yesterday, modern car keys are coded with a digital signature that is stored in a tiny in-built transponder chip. For the keys to start the car, the digital signature must match the one retained in the vehicle’s computer, immobiliser, or ignition lock. If a match isn’t found, the car will refuse to start. Therefore, only correctly programmed keys will work – while an effective crime prevention solution, they can often be a source of frustration if the keys are mislaid or become defective.

Car key programming using specialist equipment is sometimes necessary if a problem occurs with the keys which prevents the vehicle from recognising them. This isn’t a service that a conventional locksmith can offer, as there are some important steps in the process that require expert knowledge and tools:

  • Step 1: The auto locksmith assesses the make, model, and year of manufacture of the vehicle to determine which blank key fob will be required for reprogramming. Specific tools and equipment may also be needed for the process.
  • Step 2: If all keys are lost the next step is to gain entry to the vehicle. This can be achieved by non-destructive entry methods such as picking and decoding the lock using a pick/decoder to produce a mechanical key to open the door, or by the use of Air Wedges where the door is bent out slightly to allow the use of Car Opening Sets.
  • Step 3: Using specialist software, the transponder in the blank key will be programmed.
  • Step 3: Where possible, a clone of the programmed key will be created. This makes an exact copy so that both keys will be able to start the vehicle, as they will both share the same digital signature.
  • Step 4: The new keys will be tested to ensure they have been correctly programmed. If problems are discovered, additional programming may be necessary.

 Preventing Unauthorised Access: The Secure Gateway

As an additional layer of security, some car manufacturers are introducing the Secure Gateway. Originally devised by Fiat/Chrysler Group following a high-profile hack in 2015, the Secure Gateway is, in effect, a firewall which blocks unauthorised access to a vehicle’s main functions.

In terms of car key reprogramming, the Secure Gateway is a vital tool to prevent the theft of a car’s digital signature which could be used to create new programmed keys with an intention to steal the vehicle at a later point in time.

With the Secure Gateway available, it reinforces the need to have only appropriately trained and equipped auto locksmiths, or garages offering these services, where a new programmed key is required.

Contact Advanced Keys To Find Out More About Car Key Reprogramming

At Advanced Keys, we supply an extensive range of auto locksmith programming equipment for garages who wish to offer their customers reprogramming services, instead of subcontracting to other businesses. Our competitive finance arrangements make car key programming a realistic option, without the need for high upfront costs.

To request a free, no-obligation quotation, please call Advanced Keys today on 0121 749 5210.


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