There are many ways that auto and lock manufacturers have combined to make cars and trucks much harder to steal. One of the best of those developments was the introduction of transponder keys. Since being introduced on a wide scale in the ’90s they have become by far the most dominant type of auto key found on vehicles today. There is one inherent problem with them though. They are not as simple to make as older keys that have no electronic features on them. So many times that leaves one wondering what to do in the event they have lost their transponder key. 


That is why I wrote this article. It will instruct you on what to do in the event you lose a transponder key and give you some other information about these car anti-theft keys too. When you are done reading you will know exactly what to do when your transponder key is nowhere to be found. 

What’s a Transponder Key? 

It’s best to start out with telling you what a transponder key is and does. It’s really a hybrid sort of car key. That’s because it has both a metal cut key end and a chip and radio signal transmitter in its hard plastic other end. It’s a much more sophisticated device than most people imagine. The fact that it has a security chip embedded in one end is the reason that these fancy keys are sometimes called chip keys too. 

There are three ways a transponder key function. The first is that it has a normal key cut metal end like most keys have. That allows it to open your trunk with it, your doors and turn your car on once it’s placed in the ignition. The chip inside it functions as a security device. Even if the key goes into the ignition, your car will still not start if your vehicle’s safety system does not recognize that chip as being a matching one. 

How does a transponder key act as a radio transmitter? On the hardened plastic end of it, you will see several buttons. These buttons communicate with the host vehicle by radio frequency. When the hot vehicle senses the proper radio frequency the buttons will allow doors to be opened, pop up trunk hatches, and turn your car alarm on and off. 

Call a Local Locksmith If You Have Lost Your Transponder Key 

The best place to start when you have lost your transponder key and are stranded is to call a competent local locksmith. They are experts at working with and making transponder keys. Many locksmith services like Friendswood Locksmith out of Friendswood, Texas carry everything they need on their vehicles to repair or make new transponder keys. 

Many people think that transponder keys can’t be made from scratch. This is entirely not true. Yes, it’s difficult and takes a skilled locksmith professional to do it but it certainly can be done. So don’t believe everything that you hear about these sophisticated anti-theft enhancing car keys 

There are a few steps that a locksmith has to take in order to duplicate a transponder key. First, they have to select a transponder blank that will work with your make and model vehicle. They then have to properly cut the metal key end of the transponder key so it fits your vehicle’s door and ignition. Next, they will have to program the transponder key so it sinks up with the transponder receiver in your car. 

If you suspect foul play and you think your transponder key has been stolen. You will want to have your locksmith install a new receiver that has a different transponder frequency from the old one. You should strongly consider having extra transponder keys made at this time too. The little extra money you will spend may save you many hours of aggravation the next time you lose or misplace a transponder key to your automobile. 

To duplicate a transponder key there are a few things that a locksmith has to do. They will first select an appropriate transponder key blank. Next, they will cut the key portion of your transponder key (unless it is a totally keyless transponder device). Lastly, they will have to program the new transponder key so its frequency matches that of the transponder receiver on your car. 

Other Common Transponder Key Problems a Locksmith Can Help You With 

Losing a transponder key is not the only transponder problem that will give you fits. Here are some other transponder key problems your local locksmith can help you with: 

  • Replacing transponder key batteries 

How do transponder keys generate a radio frequency? It’s done by means of battery power. When the battery fails inside a transponder key that key will simply stop working. So don’t worry too much if your transponder key stops working because it may just be a dead battery. 

There are times other than having a dead battery when a transponder key stops working. One of those times is when your transponder key no longer is communicating with the host vehicle. It may mean the transponder key needs to be reprogrammed. This is another transponder task that most locksmiths are trained to do. 

  • Fixing non-functioning transponder buttons 

Sometimes the buttons on your transponder key may fail to function. This could be because they have become worn or damaged over time. If this is the case, then a locksmith will have to take the guts out of your transponder key and place them in a new transponder key blank. 

Treat Transponder Keys with Care 

One thing you must realize about transponder keys is they are much more delicate than regular keys are. That means you must be much more careful with them so they don’t get damaged or get wait. This means you have to be very careful with them when using them in rainy or other inclement weather and how you store them when carrying them around.