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What Are the Different Types of Car Key?

09/01/2020 hand holding car key near ignition

The ignition key was a safety and security innovation introduced by Chrysler in the 1940s to deter thieves and prevent accidents caused by ill-disciplined children pressing the starter button when a car was left in gear. The principal remains the same, but the keys themselves have evolved significantly. Here’s our guide to the different types of car key a locksmith most commonly encounters.

Mechanical Key

A rare sight these days! But cars produced before the mid-nineties typically had a mechanical key that started the engine when turned in the ignition lock. Copies can be easily cut from blanks by people without specialist knowledge or expensive equipment – which is why car manufacturers looked to develop more technological security solutions.

Transponder Key

The most common type of modern car key. The onboard computer in the car emits a coded signal when the key is inserted. If the transponder key fails to respond with the correct code, the engine is immobilised. Specialist machinery and skills are needed to create duplicate keys.

Sidewinder Key

Also known as Laser Cut or Internal Cut keys, a sidewinder has a curved groove cut into both sides of the blade of the key. This acts as an additional security measure. The duplication of sidewinder keys requires expensive machinery and specialist training in its use – an effective deterrent to your average car thief.

Smart Key

The key that you don’t have to take out of your pocket! A radio (or infra-red) signal alerts the car to the fact that the key is in close proximity, allowing the possessor of the key to open the door and start the engine.

Same Day Service

We can typically supply you with a replacement for any of these different types of car key in under three hours. The new key has to be programmed with the password code, this can be done diagnostically over the internet or by manually accessing the code from the chip in the ignition switch. We can perform this service in our workshop, or we can come out to you (if you can’t move your car because you have lost the key)! That’s our spare key same day service.

If you want a service that is faster, cheaper and better than heading to your car manufacturers dealership, call PT Lock & Safe on 01603 812613.