If you want to damage a ride, you just have to lose the car key. There, the only solution is to have your cell phone charged and with minutes and call a tow truck. The reason is that the ignition key of most modern cars incorporates a codified technology, responsible for making the car work, and without it, it is as if it were stranded.
Today, the key is part of a passive safety system of the car or an immobilizer system that, among other things, allows to open the doors, start the engine, unlock the rudder and activate the injection system.
The upper part of most keys is plastic and incorporates a small transmitter and receiver, better known as a transponder.
The transponder system is used by the majority of car manufacturers in Europe, Asia, and the United States. A transponder is a miniature device that is housed inside the handle of the key and contains a non-volatile memory, that is, it does not require power to operate or to retain the information.
Once the key is inserted in the car’s lock, the ignition switch sends an energy field to the electromagnet, the windings in the transponder cut and absorb that energy and generate an impulse to the electronic component to emit a signal and complete the circuit.
The signal sent is an alphanumeric combination that acts as an identification or security code. If the signal is recognized, it is accepted and other electronic components in the vehicle are ready to allow starting.
The keys to some of our vehicles are equipped with a transponder, which serves to communicate the key with the immobilizer module, which is located near the vehicle’s address, say Subaru representatives in Colombia.
The Key Mess
These advanced systems were designed to provide vehicles with a higher level of security against theft and that is why getting a copy is a complicated task, regardless of the brand of the vehicle.
For this reason, when the keys are lost and a copy is needed, the interested party must request a copy from the dealer, who in turn asks the manufacturer, who has the unique codes for that vehicle: The key is unique and only serves to a particular vehicle, say Mazda experts.
However, the belief that it was only the manufacturer who supplied the copies of the key was left without a floor, since in several countries there are sites in which they make an identical copy and without altering negatively the computer system of the vehicle.
To make it possible to duplicate a key, these specialized locksmiths have two machines. One of them allows generating the transponder code of the keys connecting to the car when the customer has lost the two keys or when the transponder is encrypted or dynamic, which means that it changes automatically when the vehicle is switched off and the key is removed of the ignition cylinder.
The second machine makes it possible to duplicate the code of the transponder in the keys without connecting to the car when the customer owns at least one key and the transponder is fixed (it does not change).
Tips for Caring For Your Key
The keys that incorporate transponders require some care.
- Do not put magnets near the keys for any reason, as it is almost certain that the internal information of the transponder is eliminated.
- Always try to remove the keys from your pockets when passing through a metal detector, as there is a risk of deleting the information, depending on the power of the scanner.
- It is not true that the key is damaged when falling. However, do not throw it on the floor frequently or hit it, as the internal component may come off.
- A car usually comes with three keys. Keep one in the home of a relative or person of your complete trust. This is especially useful when traveling, as there is the possibility of losing or damaging the key.
- If you buy a used car, make sure you get the complete set of keys that came with the dealer.
How A Copy Is Obtained?
The following is an example of how a copy of the key is obtained when the procedure is done by the dealer. This is the case for any of the Mazda models:
The dealer, using a special diagnostic equipment, captures half of the digits of the key stored in the PCM computer of the car and sends them to the assembler (in this case, the CCA), who immediately links to Mazda Japan requests the remaining digits and supplies them to the dealer. The workshop receives the information and uploads the data in the PCM which in turn reprograms both keys with the same secret key. All this process is done online. The time it takes depends on the process of cutting (chopping) the key. Up to eight keys can be programmed.
- If all the keys are lost, the cylinders of the doors and the ignition must be changed.
Who guarantees the client the confidentiality of the information that is consigned when a copy of the key is sent?
In this case, some companies do not save the client’s information for their own security. That is, they duplicate the transponder, the model, they deliver satisfaction and we erase the information recorded in the machine in front of the client.
If the order is given to the computer of the car to recognize the new key, is there no possibility that in a future check at the dealership that information will be released as a violation of the vehicle’s security code?
No, in fact, when you enter the computer of the car, it is done through software that the vehicle manufacturer sells to the company. Without this special software for each brand and type of car, it is practically impossible to enter the computer.
How Long Does It Take To Make A Transponder Key?
If the client presents a sample key, 10 minutes; if you bring the car on a crane because it lost both keys, 20 minutes.
What Keys Type Can You Copy?
Of all kinds: Audi, Renault, Mazda, Peugeot, Citroen, etc. For some brands, it can be more complex, but there are different companies in the world that can do them.