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Introduced in 1995, transponder chips act as a layer of security when it comes to starting your car by disarming the immobiliser. The word itself is a combination of ‘transmitter’ and ‘responder’, which is in essence how they work: in order to start, the vehicle’s computer must receive the right response from the transponder.

Let’s have a look in a bit more detail.

How does the car key transponder work?

If your car is from any year since 1995, it will be using an immobiliser system. There will also be a transponder microchip embedded in the head of your key. The transponder chip shouldn’t be confused with the remote central locking element used to lock or unlock the car, which requires battery power; transponder chips are passive and therefore don’t require battery power to operate.

Instead, when placed in the ignition they receive a signal from an antenna placed around the ignition cylinder. The transponder responds with a code that must match that offered by the car’s computer.

Early systems used fixed code transponders, which were easy to clone. Nowadays, a rolling code system is used, meaning that every time the key is turned in the ignition it uses a new code. The car won’t start without detecting the signal from the key, so if your transponder chip has broken you’ll require specialist assistance to reprogramme the key.

If your car key is unresponsive,  we offer a car key programming service and will have it sorted out in no time.

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