Last Updated on June 19, 2023 by Henry T. Hawkins
Car keys have come far since older model vehicles, where a simple key would be used to turn the engine over manually. Modern cars come with transponder keys that use an electronic chip in the car’s ignition system to start it up. This technology is highly convenient and secure.
Nowadays, many cars come with chip keys that require special programming to start the vehicle. But what happens if you don’t have your chip key?
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you need to start your car without a chip key, you’re not alone.
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to start a car without the transponder chip. If you use a key that doesn’t have the right transponder chip, it won’t work.
However, if you need multiple keys but only have one chip, then there is a way to make them all work.
A Chip Key: What Is It?
A chip key is an electronic device used to start your car. It contains a small computer chip emitting a signal when inserted into the ignition.
The signal interacts with the vehicle’s security system, allowing access to be granted and the engine to be started.
This type of key was introduced to improve automotive security, as it makes it nearly impossible for a thief to start the car without access to the correct chip key.
How to start the car without a chip key?
Transponder chips are designed in such a manner that they can not be bypassed and thus, starting a car without the chip is impossible. The only available solution is to get an authorized dealership to read the required frequency from your car and create a replacement for it.
However, there exists a workaround if you have one transponder chip at hand.
1. Start by taking off the plastic cover from your key, you might require a screwdriver or pliers to achieve this as the seal is quite firm.
2. Then, take out the transponder chip which looks like a small black square or a see-through tube.
3. Secure it on a piece of tape and place it near the ignition lock. Now try starting the car with either your partially disassembled key or a substitute key that does not have the chip.
4. In case the car doesn’t start, reposition the part of the tape and try again.
5. After you find a suitable spot for the chip, fix it into place using superglue.
Due to having the transponder chip situated close to the ignition lock, any copy of your key will function as if it had a chip.
Although, this means you are sacrificing a layer of safety, car security systems serve mainly as deterrents and can not really stop dedicated thieves.
Moreover, in some cases, having two transponder chips in close vicinity to each other might act as a better system since they will cause interference. So, it is best to not use keys with the chip inside them if you glue one next to the ignition lock.
Various Car Key Types
Car keys come in various shapes, sizes, and features. Depending on the make and model of your car, you may have:
– A traditional key,
– An intelligent keyless entry system, or
– A remote control device to lock/unlock your vehicle.
The most common type of car key is the standard metal-blade key. This type of key is inserted into the ignition cylinder to start the car. It only requires a physical key to unlock and lock doors but does not allow for remote entry or other features.
Another type of car key is an intelligent keyless entry system. These systems require no physical key to be inserted into the ignition; instead, the car is unlocked and started using a combination of buttons on the key fob and dashboard.
This type of system can also be used to remotely unlock and lock the doors, open the trunk, or even start the car’s engine from outside.
What to do if your transponder key fob breaks?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a broken transponder key fob, there are several steps you can take to get back on the road.
The first step is to determine if the problem is with the key itself or with the car’s ignition system. If it’s just the key, then you may be able to repair it yourself. If your key has a chip inside, you can try to remove it and re-glue it back into place. You can also try programming it again using a special tool or code reader. If these methods don’t work, you must replace your key.
If the problem is with your car’s ignition system, then you’ll need to have a locksmith come out and diagnose the issue. They may be able to bypass the transponder chip in order for your car to start without needing a new key.
In some cases, replacing your transponder key fob might be necessary. Depending on the make and model of your car, this could cost as much as $350 dollars for a replacement from an automotive locksmith or dealership.
No matter what kind of problem you’re facing with your transponder key fob, it’s important that you take action quickly so that you can get back on the road safely and securely.
Can I Program a Transponder Key Without The Original One?
If you find yourself with no transponder key, then you won’t be able to program them on your own.
Even if you still have one key left, copying the chip code into another without an authorized dealer or an independent locksmith is impossible.
However, copying a present key is much simpler than creating from scratch for an authorized dealer or an independent locksmith as it involves replicating the frequency and programming the remote controls.
So, to get a new transponder key, hiring someone is your best bet and you can find them for as low as $200-$600 depending on who you hire.
Going to the dealership may seem like the quickest and cheapest way but that’s not always the case since they’ll charge you more than double of what an independent locksmith would do.
Make sure to set terms before paying so you’d only pay if the job is done successfully.
Having a transponder key backup never hurts as it’s only a matter of time until it comes in handy and saves money. So, get one copied immediately if you still have access to one!
Also read: What does a bad inner tie rod look like
How can I start my car when I don’t have a key fob?
New car technology has evolved to the point where key fobs are no longer necessary for engine start-up. If your battery-powered chip is not functioning, you’ll be happy to know that there’s an easy alternative – unlocking and starting your vehicle with a physical key inside!
Generally located on one side of the fob, there should be a small cover containing an L-shaped metal key. Place it into the reverse of the fob and use it like a traditional key to open doors and get up and running until replacement batteries can be found.
Another great way to unlock and ignite your vehicle without a key fob is by using mobile apps associated with specific manufacturers.
- Audi owners can take advantage of MMI Connect,
- Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo users can use Uconnect,
- Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick drivers have access to OnStar RemoteLink
- Ford & Lincoln make the most of Sync Connect
- BMW vehicles are all about Connected Drive
- Hyundai has BlueLink
- Nissan Connect works with Nissan models
- Infinity offers Infinity InTouch
- Lexus drivers enjoy the benefit of Lexus Enform
- Subaru owners have StarLink.
How to Program a Key Fob?
Programming a key fob can be tricky, but it is possible with the right instructions. First, you will need to locate the programming port on your vehicle. This can usually be found near the driver’s side door or under the hood.
Once you have located the port, you will need to refer to your owner’s manual for exact programming instructions. Generally, you will need to have all keys that are intended to be used with your vehicle present during the process.
After inserting the key into the port, follow the steps as listed in your manual’s specific instructions for activating a new key fob.
Once completed, you should test out each key to ensure proper function. If you experience any issues, consult your owner’s manual or contact a professional locksmith for assistance.
Do Key Fobs Need to Be Programmed?
Yes, most key fobs need to be programmed in order to work on a particular vehicle. This is because each vehicle has its own specific programming instructions and security protocols.
To ensure that your key fob will be compatible with your vehicle, it is important to program it according to the instructions in the owner’s manual. Additionally, some vehicles also require a special key-cutting process before they can be programmed.
What Is the Difference Between a Transponder Key and Standard Key?
The main difference between a transponder key and a standard key is that a transponder key contains an embedded microchip that interacts with the vehicle’s immobilizer system. This chip sends a signal to the car’s computer, which allows it to start.
Standard keys lack this microchip and therefore do not have this ability. In addition, transponder keys are typically more expensive than standard keys due to their advanced technology.
Thanks for reading our article on how to start car without chip key. As you can see, there is no need to panic if you find yourself without a chip key. You can use the mobile app or even enlist the help of an expert locksmith to get up and running again quickly and easily.
Remember, it’s always best practice to have a transponder key backup as soon as you purchase your vehicle so that you are prepared for any unexpected occurrences.
Please share this article with any and all car owners you know. Thanks for reading!