How to Program a Car Key – Unlike just a few decades ago, when anyone with a little knowledge could start a car engine with a few crossover cables and a screwdriver, electronic car keys are now the norm. Today, most cars cannot be started without the proper computer chip, even with a precision cut key. In fact, some cars no longer require the key to be inserted. In many current vehicle models, the mere presence of an electronic control is enough to use an ignition button.
All of this is great news for car owners because it means that it will be much more difficult to steal your car, truck or SUV than in previous generations. However, even without paying a dealer to program them, electronic keys introduce new components that can be expensive. You won’t have to go to the dealership if you can do the work yourself, which can save you time and money.
How to program a car key
Electronic keys are handy and keep thieves out of your car. Fortunately, many of these keys and fobs can be programmed and replaced at home. With the keys working, turn the ignition on and off to program a car key. After that, press a button on the fob or the unprogrammed key. If your key doesn’t work as expected, you can take it to a trusted car dealer or locksmith for help.
It should come as no surprise that different manufacturers use different processes. As a result, if our guide doesn’t work for you, you should consult your manual or call your local dealer for instructions on how to program a key chip to your vehicle. This is a general guide to procedures that should work on most American cars. Please note that some manufacturers, such as Mercedes, use proprietary technology that ensures that only dealerships can make new keys. This is something to consider when deciding if you can do this with your type of car.
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How to Program a Car Key 2023 Full Step by Step Guide
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Program a second or third key
If you want to program a second key, the easiest method of key programming is to do so. Manufacturers assume you own the car because you already have a master key you can use, making the process simple and quick. It is important to note that this method is only useful for creating a third key because some manufacturers require two keys to use it.
- Place your new blank key in a place that you can easily access while sitting in the driver’s seat. Set the second existing key in addition to the blank one if you already have two keys set. Keep them close because you’ll need to replace them quickly.
- When you are ready, turn the key to the on position and insert the working key into the ignition. Avoid starting the engine. Simply turn the key until the vehicle’s electrical system is activated. Turn the key back to the off position and remove it from the ignition as soon as power is restored.
- You will have to act quickly right now. You will have a total of five seconds to insert the second key after removing the first. This second key can be either your new key or your second functional key, depending on your vehicle. Turn the key until the electronics turn on, then turn it back off, as described above.
- Repeat the exchange procedure with the third key if you have one. In that case, keep the second key in the ignition. Your vehicle should enter security mode when you insert and turn off your new key, regardless of which option you select.
- While the key is being programmed, the security light on the dash should come on and stay on for about three seconds. To confirm, you may need to press the buttons on the key on some car models. Remove the key and then reinsert it to see if the procedure was successful after the security light turns off.
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Program a single key
Even if you don’t have a working key, you can program a single key with the help of some manufacturers. Note that you will still need to cut the key to fit the ignition, so you will need to show the locksmith proof of ownership.
That being said, the process is much easier than programming a second or third key:
- Turn the ignition switch to the on position after inserting the key. Only the electronics should be turned on, not the motor.
- After 10 minutes and 30 seconds with the key in this position, turn it off.
- After turning the key back on, wait another ten minutes and thirty seconds before turning it back off.
- For the third time carry out the procedure.
- Program the key by turning it to the on position.
- Start the car with your new key to test it.
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Programming a start button
Sometimes a keyless ignition fob can be programmed for cars with push-button start. Before you pay a dealer to program it for you, this is worth a try, although it’s not completely foolproof.
- Sit in the driver’s seat while you hold the remote control and close the door behind you. Keep one hand on the remote control and the other on the vehicle’s start button. You’ll need to work quickly, just like the processes above, so prepare accordingly.
- When you are ready, press your vehicle’s start button fifteen times quickly, waiting no more than two seconds between each attempt. As you do this, keep your foot off the brake; Note that you are not trying to start the engine.
- Press the lock button on your remote after pressing the number 15 button. The remote will be fully functional and the car doors will be locked if the pairing process was successful. If you were unsuccessful, it might be worth trying again to see if the first try was flawed. Timing with this strategy can be tricky and hard to get right the first time.
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Don’t forget to check your battery!
Sometimes, you don’t need to replace a broken electronic controller at all. See if a cheap battery replacement will solve your problem before spending a lot of money on a new remote.
You will need to look for a small “key” embedded in the seam of the unit in order to open the remote. Once you’ve found it, use the key to open the casing. Take your time and be careful to avoid damaging the casing. A circuit board can be seen inside once the door is opened. Carefully remove it and you will see that the battery is still attached to the bottom.
Most key fobs use a small watch battery, which can be purchased at most home improvement stores and drug stores. Since most of them only cost a few dollars, it’s a good idea to try replacing the old battery before replacing the entire remote.
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car key abstract
Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, programming a car key chip can be as simple or complicated as you like. That being said, you can often program your own computer and save a bit of money on an already expensive project if you have the time and determination to do it. Read more of our automotive guides to reduce costs on your vehicle! Electronic car keys can be difficult to set, but they can also save you time getting into your vehicle. On the other hand, having a car stolen is extremely inconvenient and unpleasant, and cars are one of the most expensive possessions we own after houses. Knowing how to do it is therefore essential.
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