How to reprogram a transponder key

Written by susanne koenig
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How to reprogram a transponder key
Some transponder keys can be reprogrammed. (Getty Thinkstock)

A transponder key is essentially a key with a code transmitter embedded that sends a unique alphanumeric code to your ignition. When received, the transponder in the ignition tells the car that it is OK to start. Programming or reprogramming a transponder key depends on the make and model of your vehicle. For domestic cars with a vehicle identification number (VIN) that starts with 1 or 4, the keys can be reprogrammed by simply taking the keys out to your car and entering the program mode.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Owner's manual

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  1. 1

    Enter your vehicle and put the key into the ignition and turn it to the "ON" position. Leave it in for 10 minutes and 30 seconds.

  2. 2

    Before 45 seconds pass, turn the key to the "OFF" position. Then turn it back to the "ON" position. Wait another 10 minutes and 30 seconds.

  3. 3

    Repeat the above step by turning the key to the "OFF" position within 45 seconds. Then turn it back into the "ON" position.

  4. 4

    Turn key to the "OFF" position and then back to "ON." The key is now programmed. Turn it in the ignition to check.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have a domestic car that has a VIN that starts with a 2 or a 3, or if you have a foreign car, consult you owner's manual about programming the keys. If you are advised to take the issue to a dealership, consult an automotive locksmith instead. Find one that you located through a professional organisation such as the Associated Locksmiths of America.

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