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Types of Car Keys

Car Key Types

Car Key Types

Learn more about car key types

A car key also referred to as automobile key is a key that is used to open and/ or start a car/ automobile. There are many different types of car keys including VATs keys, transponder keys and smart keys that have been designed for use. All these types car keys are made using one of the two major car key cut techniques.

car key types

Car key cut techniques
Mechanical-cut car keys:

This are the most popular car key type and they are cut only on one side/ edge of the blade thus allowing the keys to fit into the ignition one way only. Mechanical automobile keys are made either on a die punch or mechanical key cut machine in the same way locksmiths make new keys for home safes, motor homes or house doors. Mechanical car keys duplication was the only technique used to make keys till late 20th century when the laser key cutting technique gained popularity.

Modern day car models that use mechanical cut keys include general Motors(GM), Chevrolet and Ford cars. However, with the increased security associated with Laser cut keys mechanical cut keys are becoming less common.

Car key cut techniques

Laser-cut Automotive keys:

Also referred to as “internal cut” or “sidewinder”, laser keys are the most advanced of the two. They have square/ blunt edges that are identically cut on both flat sides and thus fit into the automobile ignition either way.

Laser cut keys offer numerous security advantages. They have lock cylinders that are harder to pick compared to the traditional ones and they are difficult to duplicate because they are manufactured using expensive, highly-specialized software and high-tech laser key cutting machine. Since laser keys are now cheaper to make than they were initially, more automobile manufacturers are using them including Audi and Mercedes companies.

Common Types of Car Keys

  1. Transponder keys: These are car keys that have a computer microchip at the handle for purposes of ignition security and also to prevent key fraud. Transponder keys are either mechanical or laser.
  2. Smart keys: These are car keys that use computerized microchips and sensors to open and start a car without using a key. All that is required is to have these keys in person and your car will unlock and also start because the key is close by.
  3. Vehicle Anti-Theft system (VATs) keys: These are mechanical-cut keys with a black resistor on the blade that has one of the 15 possible values for purposes of added security. Although some people confuse the resistors for a computer chip, there is no computer technology on VATs keys.
  4. Valet Keys: These are car keys that have been modified slightly to enable the holder to operate ignition and door locks but not open locked gloves boxes and trunks. They are issued alongside a standard smart key or transponder key.

lost car keys

Why Get a Car Key From a Local Provider and Not a Car Dealership

Cost- effective: It costs between 150 to 250 US Dollars or more to have a car dealer make a new car key or replace a lost one depending on the model and make of your car. However with a local provider the cost can be greatly reduced thus saving you a lot of money.

Time frame: It takes a short time to get a new car key from a local provider than a car dealer. Some local car key providers can make new key within a day.

Cars keys provide security to our cars and the items that have been left inside. Therefore care should be taken to avoid breakage and loss as it can be costly to get a replacement key.


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