Household Security While Renting

What You Need to Know About Automotive Transponders and Alarms

A car key transponder is simply a computer chip in the fob that comes with your car keys. These key fobs and chips send signals to the car's alarm so that it can be disarmed as needed, or the car be locked and unlocked with the press of a button on that fob.

While key fobs are very common, you might note some questions many people have about automotive transponder keys. Here's just a few questions answered so you can ensure your car is always safe and protected.

Does getting a new key affect the transponder?

If you've lost your car keys and need to have new ones made, this typically doesn't affect the transponder itself. However, if you need to have the locks on the car doors changed, you might need to reprogram the fob as well. Door locks typically have wiring that allows them to communicate with the transponder in the key fob, so when those locks are replaced, the transponder may need reprogramming as well.

Can automotive parts stores reprogram the transponder?

Reprogramming a transponder isn't always as easy as you might assume, and not every automotive parts store will offer this service; not only might they lack the tools needed to reprogram a computer chip, but stores may want to avoid inadvertently doing this for car thieves! In many cases, you need to take your car to a dealership or call an automotive locksmith in order to have a transponder reprogrammed. This might be needed after replacing the locks, as mentioned, if the alarm has been tampered with, or if you've lost your key fob and need to replace it with a new transponder.

What is a fob key?

A fob simply refers to a that holds the computer chip needed to communicate with your car. These fobs are typically separate pieces that you keep on your key ring, and they usually have buttons you can push for locking and unlocking doors, sounding the alarm, and so on, as mentioned. 

However, some fobs are built right into a key itself. These fobs have fewer options, since there is no room for additional buttons that lock or unlock the car, but they still communicate with the car alarm; for example, if a key or other device without this fob is used to open the car doors, the alarm will sound, and the engine may not start. These types of keys can be good for those who don't need all the options of separate fobs, but who still want to ensure their car is secure and protected from potential thieves.