How to bypass a transponder key

Written by susanne koenig
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How to bypass a transponder key
Bypassing the transponder key has consequences. (Car key image by Corneliu C from

A transponder key emits a unique radio frequency that lets your ignition know that the proper key has been inserted into the car. This adds a layer of security to your car and deters hot wiring. Most transponder keys are electronically coded with a secure frequency specific to your car, meaning that they usually can be programmed only by an automotive locksmith or your dealership. More often than not, this makes them expensive to replace. If you would like to bypass your transponder key every time you start your vehicle or are installing a remote starter, consider bypassing the ignition security.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Glue gun
  • Two sets of pliers
  • Transponder key
  • Ordinary spare key (optional)

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  1. 1

    Take your transponder key and place the plastic head in a pair of pliers. Gently grasp the pliers and work off the key head. If it will not slip off easily, grasp the metal end of the key with the flat surface of the other pliers and gently pull in opposite directions until the head slips off. Do not pull with the pliers by grasping the key's teeth; you will compromise the key's ability to turn the tumblers in your ignition.

  2. 2

    Place the key's head near the ignition with the hot glue gun. Squeeze a 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide dab on the underside of the steering column, as close to the ignition as you can get, and press the key head into the glue until it sets.

  3. 3

    Test the ignition with the key to turn it over. The transponder's proximity to the ignition will allow it to start without having a full transponder key in the ignition. Get an additional plain key cut if you want a spare.

Tips and warnings

  • There is more than one way to bypass a transponder key. If you have some skills with electronics, you may consider permanently rewiring your ignition. Buy a bypass kit for your car can give you a completely keyless vehicle.
  • Attach the transponder head to the inside of your steering column if you are familiar with removing the clamshell cover of your column. Glue the transponder head to the inside and replace.
  • Remember that the transponder is a security feature and your car's security will be slightly compromised with the transponder in such close proximity to the ignition.

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