Immobiliser, transponder, flip blade, laser cut, cylinder cut, Tibbe, chip, transponder antenna, remote control - the list goes on. Understanding your car key, whilst not essential to your daily life, is likely to save you from a few embarrassing chuckles when you suddenly find you need to call us on that fateful day. Lets start with a very easy lesson about what is what, and what isn't what. It's the least confusing way we can put it . . . .
Car Keys come in three basic forms: Firstly, you may have a 'mechanical' key. Next you could have a remote key. And finally, you could have a proximity key - which is like having no key at all!
A mechanical key is usually a blade (metal bit) and a plastic head which contains a transponder. A transponder is a small device usually made of carbon, glass, or it sits on a tiny circuit board of its own. This key does NOT unlock the doors unless you put the key into the lock and turn it. This is a manual procedure which operates in a similar way to most door locks.
A remote key allows the unlocking of the doors to your car, without having to insert the blade into the lock. This key also has a transponder in the key. This key can be a flip blade, or can have its blade permanently exposed. On most remote keys a battery change is periodically required in order for the doors to open when pressing the 'unlock' button..
Remote keys are NOT 'immobiliser' keys. Contrary to popular belief, a remote key which runs out of batter power and therefore requires you to physically unlock the door, will usually continue to start the vehicle when turning in the ignition. The 'remote' part of the key usually has little or nothing to do with your ability to start the engine.
Proximity key can work in two ways. There are those which you still have to press a button on to unlock and lock the doors. After this, you do not need to put the key into a slot; you simply need to push a button and the car will start. And then there are those which you do not even need to remove from your purse or jacket pockets as the vehicle simply knows the correct key is in its vicinity and therefore allows the vehicle to not only open, but also to start.
The technology which enables the function of proximity keys is a one which is is quickly becoming the 'convenient' technology and is called Near Field Communications or NFC. These types of keys are usually the most expensive to replace and cause Car Key engineers the most trouble.