Transponder Keys

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Do you have a transponder key?

A transponder key has a chip or rfid (radio frequency identification transmitter) tag in the head of the key. This chip has a code programmed into it that must be programmed into your vehicle in order for the vehicle to start. This is an additional security feature to just the metal mechanical portion of the key.

How do I tell if you have a transponder key?

There are Four ways to identify if you have a transponder chip in you key.

(1) Locksmith Databse
(2) Security Light
(3) Key Identification
(4) Key Testing

Locksmith Database
We have databases with your vehicles key and transponder information in them.

Security Light
In every vehicle that has a transponder key system in it there ia a security light. The security light ranges from a picture of a key, lock, letters like “sec” to just a small light. The image of light can be located on your dashboard to your center console.

This security lights turns on and flashes everytime you turn on the vehicle. If you transponder key is correctly programmed in and recognized by the vehicle it will go out. If the security light continues to flash then you key is not programmed into the vehicle. See videos below:

Normal Security Light with Programmed Key

Security Light with no transponder or not programmed correctly

Key Identification

Many keys have letters and numbers stamped or imprinted on them. These are key identification codes. Telling us what your key identification code can help us identify if your key has a transponder in it or not. Transponder keys also have a chip in the head of the key. Typically they have a plastic head and are larger than the mechanical key. For example, here is a picture of a Ford H75 mechanical key blank and the H74-PT transponder key blank.

ford transponder key compare

You can also see the slot where the transponder chip slides into, see the following picture:

transponder key chip slot

Another method is to look up your key based upon the year, make and model of the vehicle. Attached is an automotive key guide. Look up your vechile and in the “Transponder Equipment Required” column there is information on how to program the key, then it has a transponder.

Key Testing
If you are not able to indentify if you have a transponder or not with the above information, bring in your key and we can test it with a machine.

We have invested over tens of thousands worth of equipment and computers to connect and program vehicles with transponders chips. We can program over 95% of all the vehicles on the market.


If you need new or duplicate transponder keys call 541.632.3968. Or if you need keys programmed into your vehicle we can do that too.

****Technical Nerd Warning****

We have a few customers that like to work on items themselves or really like to know what is going on. Well this is for you, everyone else, just skip this section.

There are three types of transponders: Fixed Code, Rolling Code and Crypto.

Fixed code transponders always have the exact same code in the chip. The code is sent one way from the chip to the cars computer.

Rolling code transponders data is sent both ways from the computer and chip. It first verifies the code from the key and then changes it code. The new code is sent to the key. When both codes are changed and accepted the vehicle will start.

Crypto transponders send data in a password protected stream.

The physical transponders come in three forms: glass tube, ceramic wedges and integrated circuit chip.

Glass Tube


Ceramic Wedge


Integrated Circuit


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