Can Electronic Car Keys Be Reprogrammed?

Modern technology means that it’s rare for a driver to open their car door or start their vehicle manually. In most cases, drivers now use some form of electronic key. The more basic type emits a radio frequency signal that enables the doors and boot to be opened remotely. A more sophisticated type of electronic key, a smart key or transponder, not only emits a radio frequency to enable remote unlocking but also contains an electronic chip. The chip communicates with a corresponding chip connected to the ignition. If the signal from the two chips isn’t compatible, the car won’t start. 

If either type of electronic key becomes damaged or is the key is lost, replacing it isn’t enough to enable you to drive your vehicle – a new or replacement key needs to be programmed to ensure it’s emitting the right radio frequency to open your vehicle and, in the case of a transponder key, the chip needs to be programmed to communicate correctly with the chip connected to the ignition. 

Although it sounds complicated, for a professional auto locksmith, key reprogramming is a straightforward procedure. Here we provide a guide to the reprogramming process, defining what car key reprogramming is, the circumstances in which you might need your key reprogramming and how a locksmith goes about the reprogramming process.

What Is Car Key Reprogramming?

Car key reprogramming involves programming a new, blank key with the right information to enable it to work with your car’s current programming.

When Does My Key Need To Be Reprogrammed?

There are a number of different circumstances when you might need to have your car key reprogrammed. Some of these include:

  • Your key becomes damaged or is lost.
  • Replacing the battery in your key fob.
  • Using an existing key with a fresh vehicle.
  • The chip in your car which corresponds to your key replaced.
  • Your fob has ceased to work for an unidentifiable reason.

If you’re not able to enter or start your vehicle using your electronic key, then it may need reprogramming. As the reprogramming process varies depending on the type of key and the make and model of the vehicle, it’s usually easiest to use a professional auto locksmith to complete the reprogramming process.

Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) Used For Car Key Reprogramming

Process Of Reprogramming

In the first instance, the locksmith will determine the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the type of electronic key you’ve got. Depending on the circumstances, they may provide you with a fresh key or reprogram your existing key.

Reprogramming involves the use of specialist software – the locksmith will connect their computer to the OBD (onboard diagnostics) port on your vehicle (this is often underneath the dashboard). Using this software, the locksmith is able to reprogram your key with the correct code to work with your vehicle. Access to this type of software is tightly controlled – only professional auto locksmiths can gain access and, even then, they are required to follow strict protocols.

Contact Our Team

All Pro Locksmiths provide a fast, efficient solution to all your car key reprogramming needs. Get in touch to arrange a visit from our mobile locksmith team.