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What's a Transponder Key?

Click For List of Vehicles Requiring Bypass

*This list is provided as a reference only, please contact us or your local dealer to determine if your vehicle has a transponder system.

What is a Transponder Key?

Simply put, these keys have a Radio Frequency transmitter inside of them.  A device near the ignition switch of the vehicle has a receiver.  The key transmits an extremely low level signal that the vehicle can detect only when the key is in the switch.

Why Do Manufacturers Use Transponder Keys?

They are used to prevent the car from being hot wired.  The car will not start if the device at the switch does not detect the low level signal from the key.  If a copied key is used without the proper signal, the car will not start.  If someone tries to hot wire the car, the car will not start because there is no signal from the key.

How Can I Tell If I Have A Transponder Key?

In most cases, the plastic part of the key will be thicker than a key without a transponder.  This is not always the case, but it is a good indication.  Another test is to wrap the plastic part of the key with several layers of tin foil and then try to start the car.  If it does not start, there is a transponder present.  There are some exceptions to this rule, but not many.

What Does This Have To Do With Remote Car Starters?

In their most basic form, a remote car starter is “hot wiring” your car in a very precise and controlled way.  If the car does not detect the signal from the key, your remote starter will fail to start the car.

How Do You Get Around This?

There are a multitude of devices that are available to bypass this issue during remote starting.  These devices fool the car into believing that the key is present.  It is important to note that this is only happening during the remote start cycle.  We do not, in any way, remove the protection that the transponder key provides.  We simply bypass it during the start cycle.


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