If you’ve had a spare car key cut at your local key cutter, or you received one when you purchased your car from the previous owner, you may experience starting the car. Although the key appears to be identical to the original key, it has one key difference.
This key difference is the hidden transponder chip in the plastic that acts as an additional feature of anti-theft protection. Therefore, the car will only start with the transponder key.
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to start a car without the transponder chip. Although you can use a key that doesn’t have the right programming to open your vehicle’s doors, you need to use a correctly programmed key to turn ON your vehicle engine.
However, there are a few methods on how to disable the transponder key system including programming a new transponder key with an original. This article will provide you with all the relevant information on cars starting with and without transponder keys.
What Is a Transponder Key?
First, let’s clarify what a transponder key is, just in case you’re not 100% sure. Transponder keys, also known as chip keys or key FOBs, are very common anti-theft keys with a chip fitted inside the plastic cover.
The key itself is one of the well-known safety layers of a vehicle’s system. As you will already know, the most straightforward and easy way to steal a car is to use the original key and then make a copy.
To prevent copies from being capable of starting car engines, manufacturers introduced transponder chips. Without a transponder chip on the car’s key, the engine won’t crank and start because there’s no chip present to emit the radio frequency identification that the car requires.
Modern cars check for this unique radio frequency identification when the key is inserted into the lock. The small chip inside the transponder key emits a very weak signal that can only be registered in the immediate proximity of the car’s lock.
If your car has a transponder key, a thief has no other option but to steal your car keys, as that’ll be the only way they can drive off.
How to Start Car Without Transponder Key Fob
If you’ve lost your car’s transponder key fob it will be very difficult, if even possible, to start your car. Your best bet is to visit your car manufacturer’s local dealership or a reliable garage.
Transponder chips are designed so they can’t be bypassed in any way, basically meaning you won’t be able to start your car without the chip present. An authorized dealership can read the required frequency from your vehicle and create a replacement transponder key fob for you.
How to Start Car with a Faulty Transponder Key
If you have your transponder key at hand but for some reason, the car isn’t recognising the chip, maybe because the chip is faulty, or the radio frequency identification is jammed, you may be in a bit of a tough situation.
Luckily for you, there may be a solution to this problem. With the technology in the transponder chips continuously evolving, modern keyless fobs only need to be in the vicinity of the ignition to start the engine.
However, it’s normal for these battery-powered chips to stop functioning, so manufacturers made sure you have an easy alternative to open the vehicle and start the engine. This alternative is the physical key inside of the fob.
You may never have needed to use it, so, you might not even be aware that there is a key within the fob. You should notice a small cover on one side of the fob where you can pull it off to allow you to get to an L-shaped metal key.
You can then put the key into the fob in reverse and be able to use it just like a regular key to open the door and crank the engine until you’re able to fix the transponder chip.
However, there is another method that you can try if you have your transponder chip available and are convinced there’s just an issue with the signal reaching the car, rather than it being faulty.
- Remove the plastic cover from your key – It may be helpful to use a screwdriver or pliers to apply the necessary leverage as the seal can be very tight.
- Take out the transponder chip – It looks like a very small black square or a see-through tube.
- Place the chip on a piece of tape – before attaching it near to the ignition lock.
- Try to start the car with your disassembled key – or a replacement key that doesn’t have the chip. If the car doesn’t start, reposition the piece of tape and try again.
- Secure the chip in place with superglue – once you’ve found a spot for the chip that works, secure it in place.
Because the transponder chip is now always next to the ignition lock due to the superglue, any copy of your key will work as if it had a chip. The obvious drawback here is that you’re losing a layer of security.
However, car security systems as you know, only act as deterrents. Locked doors and wheel immobilizers prevent thieves from being able to drive off in your vehicle, but they will rarely stop those who are professionals.
Using a Mobile App to Start Your Car
Another alternative to the key fob is by using a mobile app to unlock and start the vehicle. A lot of modern-day cars have this capability. There are generally different apps to use for different vehicles, and so, depending on the manufacturer, you’ll need to sign up for one of the following apps:
|Mobile Application||Car Brand|
|RemoteLink||Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, Buick|
|Uconnect||Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat, Alfa Romeo|
How to Program a Transponder Key Without the Original
You will not be able to program a transponder key without the original. Think of it, if you can, then many cars are not safe. But any key without the appropriate programming can open your car doors.
You’ve probably seen a lot of people on the internet telling you that you can program a transponder key without the original by using something like the following method:
- Place the key into the ignition and turn it to the on position
- Leave it in the on position for about 10 minutes, then turn it back to off.
- Repeat this process two more times.
- Remove the key.
All I can say to this is, that it’s a fantastic method for wasting your time and a fairly decent amount of your car’s battery’s charge. No matter what people say or recommend on this matter, radio frequency identification chips cannot be programmed as easily as this.
Moreover, you will not be able to program them at all by yourself. Even if you still have one transponder key, you won’t be able to copy the chip code into another without an authorized dealer or an independent locksmith doing it for you.
The issue is that you need the right tools to be able to copy the frequency of one and transfer it into the other. If working without an original, the dealer or locksmith will need to access the database and find your car’s radio frequency identification or use special tools to be able to get it from the car.
Also, it’s important to be aware that this is made even more difficult by the fact that the car is receiving signals and not transmitting them, so there’s no way to pick up the frequency and identify what it wants to read.
Car Key Transponder Key Tips
It’s difficult to foreshadow when you may experience an issue with your car key transponder. However, you can prepare yourself for such a situation by always having a transponder key backup at the ready, so you never have trouble starting your car.
If you still have a transponder key, get it copied immediately. Copying an existing key is far easier than making one from scratch. Replicating the key is far cheaper, and quicker and allows you to program the remote controls yourself.
Radiofrequency identification chips have become popular as gate or building entrance locks. Therefore, a lot of locksmiths now have the capabilities of replicating it for your car key as well. They can probably even create an additional radio frequency identification chip, whether it’s a car or a chip, just so you have an additional backup for future copying.
Cheapest Way to Get a New Transponder Key
If you’ve already lost all your car transponder key copies, you’ll have to hire someone to make you a new one. You’re looking at a cost of £100 to £500, depending on who you find to do the job.
Sure, going to the car dealership makes a lot of sense at first. After all, you have bought your car from there, therefore, it makes sense that they’ll have the quickest and cheapest way of reproducing the key.
The truth is quite opposite – not only will you have to tow your car there, but you will also have to pay over £250 to get a new transponder key created unless you’re lucky.
And so, an independent locksmith may be your best bet as they can get the job done for less than half the cost. Some will even travel to your destination.
Your best bet is to call all the locksmiths in your area to find the best deal. However, you should make sure that you state you’ll only pay if they are successful in completing the new transponder key. Some locksmiths will attempt and fail to produce your transponder key and then blame your car, costing you a lot of money for nothing.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
First, remove the plastic cover from your key using a screwdriver or pliers. Then take out the transponder chip and place the chip on a piece of tape before attaching it near to the ignition lock. Try to start the car with your disassembled key, if the car doesn’t start, reposition the piece of tape and try again. Once you’ve found a spot for the chip that works, secure it in place with superglue.
Yes, it may be possible to bypass a transponder key by taking disassembling your transponder key by pulling the key out of the fob and placing the transponder key near the ignition lock. You will need to constantly try to turn the ignition as you move the transponder chip around. When you find the right spot, super glue the transponder chip in place!
If you’ve lost your car’s transponder key fob it will be very difficult, if its even possible, to start your car. Transponder chips are designed so they can’t be bypassed in any way, basically meaning you won’t be able to start your car without the chip present. An authorized dealership will be able to read the required frequency from your vehicle and create a replacement transponder key fob for you.
You will not be able to program a transponder key without the original. Think of it, if you can, then many cars are not safe. The issue is that you need the right tools to be able to copy the frequency of one and transfer it into the other. If working without an original, the car dealership or locksmith will need to access the database and find your car’s radio frequency identification or use special tools to be able to get it signal from the car and onto a transponder key.