The Science Behind How Car Keys Work: A Technical Review
What will you do if you become locked out of your car or van, lose your keys, or break down? Well, the first thing you should do is call an emergency auto locksmith. But what is a car locksmith, and what do they do?
What is an Automotive Locksmith?
An automotive locksmith is a type of locksmith who specializes in essential car repairs. You might have heard them called car locksmiths or vehicle locksmiths.
What does an Auto Locksmith Do?
Their work is much like that of a general locksmith Las Vegas or someone who does locksmith services. But they work on cars instead of doors in buildings. Most auto locksmiths start as available locksmiths before they specialize in cars.
Residential locksmiths make keys and open doors in homes. In comparison, commercial locksmiths do the same in offices and factories. Auto locksmiths are experts at opening cars and making new car keys.
Automotive locksmiths offer both in-shop and mobile services. In-shop services are cheaper than dealerships for automobile key copying and related repairs. Auto locksmiths’ primary area of expertise is mobile services. They can help people stuck in a Walmart parking lot at midnight or locked out of their car at a gas station in the desert.
A car locksmith’s main job is to get into a car and open the door. But they can also get broken keys out. The automotive locksmith also makes copies of new keys and sometimes even replaces locks and ignition switches.
Here Are Some of the Locksmith Services They Offer:
- Car unlocking
- Removing broken keys
- Making copies or new keys
What Are The Common Types of Car Keys?
- Mechanical Car Key
- Remote Key
- Transponder Car Key
- Switchblade Car Key (Flip Style Car key)
- Valet Car Key
How Does a Car Key Work?
The key to a modern car is a small radio transmitter—the key works by sending a code to a receiver in your vehicle. If the receiver gets the correct code, the doors will open.
The key (transmitter) and the car (receiver) must sync. Broken keys may not convey signals to your vehicle, locking you out. A locksmith can help you make a new key by programming it.
Here are the Technical Details on How a Car Key Works
Transponder keys that work with a remote have been around for a long time. But they are now much safer than they used to be. In the 1950s and 1960s, people often used early ones to open garage doors. All the entries on this early remote system worked with the same code, which was a flaw. If you and your neighbor had the same remote, you could open each other’s doors.
“Chip keys” is another name for transponder keys. Transponder keys are ignition keys for cars with built-in circuits that send signals.
After turning on the key and the ignition, the car’s computer sends a radio signal to the transponder circuit. The circuit doesn’t have a battery because it gets its power from the radio signal.
Usually, the course has a computer chip set up to send a coded signal back to the computer in the car. The engine won’t start if the circuit doesn’t work or the code is wrong. Many vehicles need the correct key.
Chip keys make it hard to steal cars in two ways:
- If you force the key into the ignition, the car won’t start.
- Making a copy of the key is complex.
Many people don’t know that they have transponder keys, like the ones that are part of the SecuriLock system from Ford Motor Company— inside the plastic head is its circuit.
Other than that, General Motors made VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System) keys in the 1990s. People often think these keys are transponders, but they use a simple resistor that you can see in the blade.
If the resistor’s electrical resistance is wrong or the key doesn’t have a resistor, the car’s electrical circuit won’t let the engine start.
Key Fob Key
The car has a particular receiver built in, and its key has a unique transmitter. So, after pushing the button, the key sends a coded signal, and the door either opens or closes. Since it is a piece of high-tech equipment, you need to be careful with it.
Exposure to water, temperatures that are too high or too low, or direct sunlight is not allowed. Also, remember that batteries power these types of keys, so you will have to change them.
They are used for older cars and are getting harder to find. Since the late 1990s, car makers have stopped putting this type of key in their vehicles. Mechanical car keys don’t cost much because they don’t need to be programmed or have their batteries changed.
Additionally, getting a new key cut for an automatic door will be inexpensive. But it’s less safe than a more modern key.
People sometimes mix vital fobs and remote keys, but they differ significantly. You can use a remote key to unlock or lock your car by pushing a button.
You can also use it to open the door by hand. That means that the real key is part of the remote key. Aside from that, remote keys are like fob keys in many ways. You should keep your remote key away from water and heat and be careful when you use it.
Switchable Car Key (Flip Style Car Key)
Switchblade car keys are the same as those we’ve discussed, except for how they look. Because of this, they are one of the most commonly used kinds of keys today.
Pressing the button pops up the key blade. A flip-style key is easy to carry and store because it is small. It can go in your pocket, purse, or wallet.
Valet Car Key
These keys were made for valets, as you might have guessed. It is like a spare key to your car that you can give to someone to help them park it.
These keys only come with some vehicles. Not having a valet key doesn’t mean you need it. But many people who own cars think you can only use them sometimes.
For Take Away
As you can see, all car keys have their good points. They are all made to be strong and last as long as possible, but they can all break, get damaged, get lost, or be stolen. When that happens, you need locksmith services to fix it.