Car Key Programming

Having a working car key helps your daily routine run smoothly. When you lose your car key, your entire schedule comes to a screeching halt. But more than this, your car key provides security that only you can access and operate your vehicle at any time. 

When you need a spare or replacement key for your car, you must go about the process correctly. Today’s cars use modern technology and safety features to ensure that only the desired keys can start them, keeping unwanted users out — even if their key is cut the same way as yours. To get a spare car key for a modern car, you need to understand car key programming. 

How Does Programming a Car Key Work?

The process of programming a car key is more complicated than you may realize, which is why you should pay a professional to help you with the entire process. Before trusting a professional, you may want to learn the basics of why car keys must be programmed and how a professional can do it successfully.

Most vehicle manufacturers today include an immobilizer system to deter car theft. The car’s computer has this system built in to allow communication between itself and the key once you put it into the ignition. The engine will not start until you’ve properly programmed the car to accept that specific key.

The car communicates with the key via a transponder chip within the key. This chip stores the password that your car will recognize, allowing the engine to start when you want it to. Even push-start cars work on the same principle. If the password on the transponder chip is different than the one programmed into the car, then the car will not start. You’ll need a professional to program your new car key to get it to work with the computer on your vehicle. 

Methods to Program a Car Key

Professional locksmiths have a variety of methods for programming a car key. Here are three of the most common:

  • Onboard programming: For this method, all you need is a spare working key. This process lets you avoid needing sophisticated programming tools. Your locksmith will follow a few simple steps to put your vehicle into “learn mode,” which allows your car to program an additional FOB or spare key. Your car’s instruction manual should say whether you can program new keys via the onboard programming method. 
  • OBD2 programming: Most newer vehicles will require a more sophisticated car key programming method like the OBD2 method, the tools for which are often unavailable to the public. Thankfully, your locksmith will have the necessary tools to assist you. OBD2 programming allows your locksmith to enter the car’s programming mode using OBD2 protocols, modifying your car’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) data to program the new key. 
  • EEPROM programming: This is the most complex and fundamental of all the car key programming types, as it focuses strictly on electronics. It’s usually a last resort to bypass the anti-theft system and put the car into programming mode through the OBD2 port. It requires an in-depth knowledge of electronics, circuit boards and soldering. Note that this method comes with some risks of corrupting your car’s data, so you should only hire a trusted, professional locksmith to do it. 
Car key with key fob
Different keys have different programming processes

How Long Does Car Key Programming Service Take?

The process of programming a car key differs depending on the type of key you have and the programming method needed. Although there can be some variation in the length of time you’ll have to wait, the differing programming methods will each have a predictable time you can expect to wait for a successful outcome. 

Onboard programming is generally the fastest of the three car key programming methods. It can take as little as one minute to complete when following all steps correctly. OBD2 programming and EEPROM programming will both take longer because they require more involved processes. Most locksmiths will tell their clients that the process of getting a new key with these methods can take around a half hour or more, depending on any unexpected difficulties that arise. 

Here’s a rough estimate of the time it should take to get a new car key programmed by the three mains steps in the process:

  • Step one: Step one is to get the key code from the automaker for the key replacement if all original keys are missing. This step should take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. If you have a working key or even the blade of a broken key, you can skip this step entirely. 
  • Step two: This is the key-cutting process, which should take about 10 minutes. Cutting the key any faster can lead to errors, so your locksmith should take as much time as they need to ensure you get the best-cut key possible. If you have a working blade, your locksmith can use this to cut the new key. If you lack a key blade, your locksmith can create a new key that will work with your car using the key code. 
  • Step three: Step three is the programming process. This step is essential for having a key that works with your vehicle, even if the new blade is cut correctly. Depending on the programming method used, it can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to 30 minutes or more. Talk to your locksmith about your vehicle to determine how much time you should set aside for the process of getting a new car key. 

Benefits of Automotive Key Programming

There are several benefits you can enjoy from automotive key programming. Having a programmed car key with a key FOB gives you many conveniences like the ability to unlock all your doors and open your trunk at the same time. This is highly convenient when you’re with a group of people, so everyone can easily reach for the door handle and open it without waiting for you to unlock the doors from inside the car. 

A programmed key FOB can also give you the ability to remote-start your car. This is usually an aftermarket feature, but it’s highly convenient. Picture being able to get your car turned on and warming up on a cold, snowy day while you’re safe inside getting ready for work. This dream can be a reality with a programmed key and a remote-start feature in your car. 

Automotive key programming can also increase your safety. Many criminals will wait to strike until a person is fumbling in their purse or their wallet for their car keys. With a programmed key FOB, you can unlock your car door from several meters away or by making contact with your door handle, ensuring you can get into your car as quickly as possible. 

Many modern cars also have features to turn on their headlights when they sense your programmed car key approaching. This can give you more light in a dark parking lot or street, helping you feel safer and deterring criminal activity that relies on darker environments. 

Benefits of Automotive key programming
Be Secure Locksmith can program your car key

Choose Be Secure Locksmith for Car Key Programming Service Near You

If you need car key programming near you, then Be Secure Locksmith is the solution you’ve been looking for. Call us today to schedule an appointment to have one of our technicians come and properly program your key or perform other automotive services. We are the best at car key programming in Newberry, Gainesville, Alachua and nearby areas. 

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