7 Different Car Key Types

One day you think and decide to buy a car. Buying a car has to go through many decisions. Are you looking to buy a used car or a brand-new one? Which company you like the most and why? Which model and the trim suit your budget? Is color a deciding factor? These are only some primary questions to tackle when it comes to buying a car.

Similarly, the car key also comes in different types. Yes, the element without which your car won’t start comes in various formats. Its history when a car key was simply a metal piece with several cuts and attached to a fancy key chain. Today’s car key takes the form of a smart chip, a transponder, laser-cuts, etc. To be precise, there are a total of seven types of car keys. Let’s have a look at them one by one.

Mechanical keys

Perhaps, once a widely available form of the car key for a long time, it is still prevalent in some older cars. These types of keys are now mostly seen as home keys or safe keys. The use of simple mechanical keys has been discontinued in modern cars due to their low reliability in safety. These lack any use of electronics in them which prove beneficial in providing an extra layer of safety and security.

Remote and a key    

As the name suggests, this car key combines both remote control and an integrated key. You will find such keys in most of the cars running on the road. Such a combination provides dual-use to you. You will have peace of mind of a mechanical key programmed to the car plus the freedom to choose between a key and a button on the remote for accessing it.

Tibbe keys

These are special keys, based on a specific key code, available in only a select Ford and Jaguar car makes. Introduced by Ford in 1982, the tibbe keys are high-end security keys that cannot be duplicated by anyone except the dealership for a premium fee.

Programmable remotes

These are one step ahead of the remote and a key type. Programmable remotes are mostly called self-programmable, and they aren’t actual keys. They are simply a set of buttons that are programmed for different functions, for example, to lock and unlock your car, set the alarm off, or open the boot space. These can be programmed or duplicated by a professional car locksmiths or any car dealer with the help of a special device. Such remotes require the best touch of the hands to ensure your car gets programmed with the key and vice-versa.

Transponder keys

Like remote, transponder keys are also commonly used keys these days. First rolled out in 1995, these are similar to mechanical keys, the difference being an electronic chip installed in the key handle helping it to communicate with the car to confirm the validity. This happens when you insert the key to turn on the ignition. It is a play between the car’s immobilizer, a sensor that responds, and the code getting matched to start the car.

Another variant of the transponder key is with a rolling code. This is an added layer of security to the already secure transponder key. The rolling key code changes every single time a car is used, preventing you to start a different car even though it is from the same manufacturer.

Proximity FOBs

This is a new method of entering a car and getting it started. A proximity key or proximity fob is a keyless car entry and ignition system which works within acceptable proximity to the car. When you reach within the required distance, the car detects your presence and opens the door for you. This was introduced in the year 1998 by Mercedes-Benz.

Laser-cut transponder keys

These keys are similar to the traditional transponder keys with an extra layer of security installed in them. Such keys require extreme precision to the cuts by locksmiths. It is crucial to have deep knowledge of locksmith processes and rekeying since the keys are laser-cut to match the exact requirements.  

So there you have it. Seven different types of car keys for you.

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