One of the latest automotive trends is to allow car owners to start their ignition without a key, or with a key that has a transponder chip in it for additional security. But that means that they need to carry their keys around, because the chip inside is what tells the car that it’s okay to start the ignition – that whoever is behind the wheel is actually authorized to drive it.
In a few decades, we might have smarter cars that recognize people by their fingerprints, retinal maps or even their faces. If that happens, you won’t have to worry about locking your keys inside your car, but for now, even with modern keyless technology, accidents can happen.
If that happens you have a couple of choices. The dealership where you bought the car will tell you that you need to bring your vehicle information into them and they will make you a new key – for a huge fee of course. They may even tell you that they are the only ones authorized to make a new chip key for your vehicle.
That’s not true at all. In fact, the only time that you need to be concerned about letting your dealership handle all of your maintenance – including making new chip keys – is when you are afraid that using someone else will void your warranty. You’ll need to look at your warranty agreement carefully to find out. If your warranty is up, or is about to be up, you definitely should go with an alternative like a locksmith.
There are locksmiths in your area that handle transponder keys and they can often do it a lot quicker than your dealership can – not to mention charge you a great deal less. In fact, locksmiths even provide 24-hour emergency service in many cases, so that if your chipped key stops working in the middle of the night – in a parking lot somewhere – you are able to call them and get back on the road as quickly as possible.
If your transponder key is simply locked inside your car, this is a very different situation than if your key simply stopped working. You can open the doors and trunk with your key manually, even if the chip is not working. Even if your car has a keyless ignition, your key fob will usually have a manual key tucked into it that will allow you access to your car doors.
It doesn’t matter if you need a new key – or want a duplicate key to be cut so that you never have to go through this again – a locksmith can reprogram your key in a matter of minutes and if you have your vehicle information like the VIN number, he or she can cut a new key from the manufacturer specifications directly from the locksmith office.
So, when your chipped key will not work, or you just need a duplicate, consider using a locksmith instead of going to your dealership and paying too much.