Why do we have electronic car keys?
In the late 1980s and early 1990s car theft and joy riding across the globe was a huge problem. Cars only relied on mechanical security, usually a simple flat metal key. Any Tom, Dick or Harry with a large hammer or screwdriver could force the locks on your car, gain entry and drive away.
To combat this problem car manufactures added electronic security to the cars. They produced new keys to meet the new laws being rolled out by countries to tackle the huge amount of car theft going on. In Australia we started to see electronic security in cars around 1995. It became law for any passenger car built and sold after 2002 to have electronic security as well as physical security.
Types of Keys:
Modern car keys today come in many different shapes, styles and forms. However they can generally be broken up into three main categories:
- Transponder keys - These are a basic non remote key containing a passive computer chip inside the head of the key. These keys have a standard blade.
- Remote transponder keys - These are keys that have a passive computer chip inside the key as well as a remote powered by a small battery. The remote will control central locking as well as any alarms factory fitted to the car.
- Proximity keys - The newest style and have a passive chip inside the fob and a remote that is powered by a battery. The key blade is usually for emergency use only and is hidden inside the fob. These cars need to have the key within proximity to the cars ignition and will have a dummy ignition switch or a push button to start them.
Quick Tips to Keep Your Keys Safe:
There are a few simple rules to follow to keep your car secure and avoid costly unexpected expenses:
- Place keys in a common known place - Gone are the days of simple cheap keys. Modern car keys can cost anywhere from $110 into the thousands. Treat your keys like cash. Don’t leave them lying around or in a position where they are lost easily.
- Always have a spare key stored away - It is always cheaper to have a spare key made before you lose your last key. Also consider pricing your local automotive locksmith or mechanical repair shop against the dealership. Avoid pop up shoe repair stores in shopping centres as they are often run by less experienced key cutters not locksmiths. They can cause damage to the locking system on your car.
- Keep your keys dry - Like most electronic devices, car keys hate water. Don’t take electronic keys swimming or let them get wet. If they get damaged your car will not start and you will need new keys made. If you are the beach going type, consider having a metal door only or “surf key” made to your car. - A surf key is a special all metal key that is made to only operate the doors or boot of your car, it has no electronics. The owner of the car can then safely lock the electronic key to their pride and joy inside the car, taking the metal “door only” key with them in the water. On average surf keys cost between $15-$60.
- Key are not toys - Pets and children love to play and jump around. So whenever you’re around the car with pets or children, never let the keys leave your hands. We have seen too many car lockouts caused by pets and children locking themselves inside the car due to pressing buttons on the remote keys.
- Read the owners manual - When replacing batteries in remote keys always follow the manufactures instructions, as per your owner’s manual. Use high quality batteries; take care not to lose any parts from inside your car key while you have it apart. If unsure, ask your mechanic or automotive locksmith for assistance.
- We can always help you - If you do find yourself stuck by either losing your last key or locking your keys inside your car it’s not the end of the world. An automotive locksmith can help you and is just a phone call away.
I hope this article has been helpful and informative. If you have any questions regarding car keys please call Blake Cole at Mobilisation Locksmiths PTY LTD on 0428 827 908