Today, there are many car key models in use. Today’s car keys have a unique ability to get lost beneath couch cushions, inside coat pockets or disappear altogether. Prior to 1990s, if you lost your key, there was no need to mention at the car dealership and it was not even a big deal to get a new one. You could get the key at any locksmith shop or a hardware store. This is because copying a key is easy and a thief can also easily steal your car. But in these days, the advanced key making technology made to steal difficult. In addition, the key replacement is very costly.
Basic car keys: Until the mid and to late 1990s, car keys were common except its unique cut. They had no security features. The long metal part (shank) of the key had grooves and cuts like house key. These keys are easy to copy. A lock smith can make the same key without any additional equipment other than the regular one used. In case, you lose your key, it is around three dollars at black smith. If it is from a dealership, it will cost around twelve dollars. The difference is, from dealership the key comes with automaker’s branding.
Transponder keys: In the plastic head of the key, manufacturers started placing a transponder chip from mid to late 1990s. The chip passes a signal to a receiver in the ignition. If it gets a wrong signal, it indicates that a wrong key is in the ignition. And the engine does not start.
The shank of a transponder key is either a laser cut key or a basic key. The main difference between a transponder key and a basic key is that the transponder key’s chip has to be programmed before you start the vehicle. All the dealerships have the necessary tools and machines to do it. Some may charge and some give the program at no cost.
Laser cut keys: The distinct feature of laser cut key is the wide cut on the key’s shank. These are also called sidewinder keys. The laser cut key shank has fewer carved out grooves and slightly thicker than those in a basic key. The machines needed to cut these keys are more expensive than the standard key.
Switchable keys: The shanks in the switchable keys are folded into fob when they are not in use. With the press of button they pop out. They may have a laser cut or a basic cut. You can purchase the components of this key separately. This is an advantage for you.
Smart keys: Smart keys are built-in with the laser cut key and all in one remote fob. Without taking key from the pocket, proximity sensors and push button ignition allow the person to enter and drive the car.
The most recent keys are rich in technology, security features and ensure comfort. However, they are expensive.