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Transponder keys have paved the way for a drastic decrease in car theft. Most drivers, car dealers and even auto mechanics can’t say enough good things about these amazing keys that not only keep your car safer, they allow you to unlock your car, and even to start your engine remotely! How is all this even possible? Transponder key technology has been with us since the early 1990’s. In fact, most cars built from 1995 on use transponder keys to power the ignitions. In other words; it works! Is there a downside to transponder key usage? Only that they occasionally break or become lost! Fortunately, in Tampa, FL there are many places where you can get affordable and expertly done transponder key service; even on a 24-hour basis!

What makes it a transponder key?

Thousands of people use transponder keys without even knowing what they are or why they are special. 24/7 Tampa Locksmith offers this post to familiarize you with their characteristics and to give you some easy tips on how to deal with transponder key problems when they arise.

We all know what a key looks like. It has a blade of metal that has grooves and teeth cut into it, as well as a large rounded head to be used for holding and turning; so far; so good. Here is where a transponder key’s resemblance to a “regular” key ends.

In a transponder key, a programmable chip is embedded in the key’s head. This chip sends an electronic signal to your car’s computer when you turn on the ignition. If the computer “recognizes” the signal (they match) the engine starts. If not, forget about driving THIS car! See how it aids in theft prevention? Use the wrong key and no ignition starting!

Transponder key problems

Keys break or become lost no matter what they are made of, or what special programming went into them. Like the old saying goes “the more parts there are, the more that can go wrong!” and since transponder keys have specialized components, this holds very true.

The embedded computer chip can fall out. This happens on its own or when dropped. Sometimes, the key is dropped and then picked up but no one noticed the fallen-out chip still lying on the ground. By the time it is realized that the chip is missing, it is too late to find it or it has become damaged beyond repair. The key is not a total waste as it will still open the driver’s door and the trunk, but as far as the engine starting, there is no signal to send for the car’s computer to recognize.

Key breakage

Yep; transponder keys break, too. Here at 24/7 Tampa Locksmith we’ve heard every story in the book about how a customer’s transponder key broke. From using it to open heavy cardboard boxes to beer can puncture stabs, transponder keys often snap or break in half when used for the wrong reasons. Many times the broken transponder key was not misused at all; there was simply too much pressure applied to it when in the ignition. Of course, now the problem is intensified as you will need key extraction, transponder key programming AND transponder key duplication!

Stuck transponder key

Yes, your transponder key can become stuck. First of all, don’t panic! If you do, you won’t be able to think straight and this can make things worse. Be careful to NOT force your transponder key out of the ignition. As mentioned earlier, they can break. Usually the cause is simple so relax and check to see if the car is in the right gear. Your auto should be in the PARK gear; if it isn’t the transponder key will not come out. This is a built-in safety mechanism that protects you from accidentally removing the key while driving!

Check your battery

If your transponder key opened the driver’s door but didn’t start the car, check to make sure that the battery is not low. Try turning on your headlights, the radio or the dashboard lights in order to test your battery. This is important because if you are dealing with a dead or low battery, there will not be sufficient power to send an accurate transponder chip signal to your ignition. It’s almost as if you used the wrong key because your auto’s computer won’t recognize or respond to your key now.

Lost transponder key

This is one of the most common transponder key problems. Your key may be lost, stolen or lent out (as a spare) and never returned. Many a transponder key was left behind in a hotel room or dropped by accident on a hiking or camping trip, leaving the driver with no way to properly start their car. If you have a spare; that’s great, but if you don’t, you’ll need a new one and fast, too!


You may think that the best solution for transponder key problems is to call a mechanic, or your car dealer. This is not recommended as you could wind up spending more money and wasting more time that you need to. Here’s why. Since your car won’t run without a proper transponder key signal it will need to be towed to the repair shop in order to match the new key’s signal to your car’s computer. In addition, car dealers and mechanics charge a premium for doing anything with and for your transponder chips including key duplicates, key programming and repair. Add to all this, the long waits, the appointment availability and the extra hassles and you can see why in Tampa, FL it makes sense to find another solution.

Automotive locksmith service

That’s right; call a licensed, bonded and insured automotive locksmith service like ours here at 24/7 Tampa Locksmith. You’ll get access to fast, mobile service that is much more affordable than going through all the middle-man charges your dealership will put you through. Many shops (including ours) offer same day service, 24-hour emergency help and free price quotes, so if you need transponder key assistance, you now know where to get it.

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