Optimal Locksmith Pro: Common Transponder Key Problems

Since 1995, vehicles are required by law to have an immobilizer system. Part of this includes a computerized security mechanism which can only be activated using a transponder key.

Emergency Locksmith

A combination between the words transmitter and responder, a transponder key relies on a small microchip embedded in its plastic head. Don’t confuse these with automotive remotes, though: the keys have many more functions. Auto remotes, by definition, only serve to open and close the door, whereas your transponder chip is supposed to operate the entire vehicle. As a matter of fact, many transponder key models are actually fitted with auto remotes themselves.

While we’re on the subject of keys, it’s also important to remember that not all keys are transponder. Flat metal keys operate solely through the mechanical cuts, and are recommended alongside your transponder as well (it’s always a good idea to have a spare key for your vehicle in case your primary one malfunctions).

But how do transponder or chip keys work? Basically, the chip fitted into the head of the key emits a special radio frequency that matches a pre-programmed ignition code. The door will only open, and the car will only power on, if it receives the right signal from the key – meaning that it is very difficult to break into a car with this type of mechanism in place.

Needless to say, these types of keys offer an invaluable amount of security. With that said, there is always the off chance you may face an occasional glitch. So here are a few problems to look out for, and what to do in each situation.

  • You have a dead or dying battery

This is by far the most common transponder key problem around. Not all transponder keys are operated by microchips and batteries – but if yours is, read on.

Initially, identifying if your issues are the results of a flat battery can be tricky. If you need to press a button multiple times to get the door to work, you could be dealing with either a dying battery or a programming glitch. The best way to figure out which is the most likely culprit is to use an alternative key – if that works, the problem is definitely with the battery.

  • If you’ve lost your transponder key

As much as we try to take care of our valuables, there’s always a chance that things will get lost. Especially when it comes to small components like keys, which can easily fall out of your pocket, or even get misplaced while you were going about your day. Remember what we said earlier about having a spare key on your person? That tends to help in this scenario. A locksmith will have all the specialist equipment to duplicate it for you, so you won’t need to fork out an extensive amount of cash getting one from your dealership. If you don’t have an extra copy and you need to replace your transponder key, a locksmith can do that as well.

What you’ll need in this case is your car’s chassis number, which should be listed in your car’s registration documents, and the transponder chip code which would have been given to you upon purchase. If you don’t have the latter, the automotive locksmith you have hired will need to reprogram either the vehicle’s transponder system or just the ECU unit (in some cases, only the latter is required).

  • Your key is no longer transmitting the right signal

Like we said, a car with a transponder system won’t work unless it receives the right transmission. So for this scenario, you will need to reprogram your key to match the car’s code (in some cases you may need to reprogram the car’s system itself, like in the point above). If you can still access your car, quickly rev your engine on and off eight times in less than ten seconds – this should prompt the car to reprogram the key for you. No luck? You’ll need to get the pros to reprogram it for you.

  • The chip has been damaged

If replacing the battery and reprogramming the transponder show no improvements, you are likely dealing with a damaged chip. In this situation, you may actually need to buy a new transponder key. While locksmiths tend to be the cheaper alternative, this is one of those situations where you should consider going to the dealership itself – that way, you will be able to deactivate the old key so that nobody can access your car. This is a matter of preference, though: a locksmith will help you in this area too.

How can a locksmith help with my transponder key problems?

We’ve already touched on many of the services you can get from a qualified auto locksmith professional. Not only will they provide you with affordable solutions, but they can also help you 24/7 during emergencies. Just to be on the safe side, it’s always best to keep a few locksmith business names handy before you need to call them for an automotive emergency – be it with a transponder key or with any other part of your car’s security.

You should always hire a locksmith that is locally-based, and who has an address you can physically verify. It’s always recommended that you consult with an expert in person: this is a service most professionals offer to their customers free of charge. Things you should always double check include:

  • License and insurance information
  • Client references in the area
  • Full cost breakdown of the services you are looking for
  • A price quote for after-hours services (most locksmiths tend to charge extra for these)

Take the time to shop around and don’t hire a Fort Lauderdale locksmith who pressures you into making a hasty decision.

Optimal Locksmith Pro is always here to help car owners in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We specialize in all things transponder as well as offering an array of automotive services. Our licensed and insured professionals are more than happy to consult with you about your issues, and will gladly answer all questions you may have prior to taking our services on board.

Now you know a bit more about your transponder keys, you will be able to make a wise decision when it comes to resolving some of the most common issues.

Your Safe is Jammed – what do you do?

You have a safe for one reason – to keep your valuables, well, safe! No one can dispute that a locking safe does just that, but what happens when you can’t open it? Ironic isn’t it? Now your cash, documents and jewelry are “safe” from you, too! Don’t worry; there are solutions! Optimal Locksmith Pro offers a few in this post so be sure and read this through and call our shop for a free, no-obligation consultation and more information.

Do you know how many safes there are in the greater Fort Lauderdale, FL area? Thousands and thousands. Once in a while these trusty locking boxes don’t open so it’s best to know what to do in these cases.

Often, people buy antique safes or safes at auctions or estate sales. Many times these safes do not have combination codes or keys to them and are sealed shut. An experienced safe technician or locksmith can get the safe open without damage and be able to provide a new working combination or install a new lock on it so that the new owners can start enjoying its use and protection.

Business Keys

Forget Brute Force!

Optimal Locksmith Pro NEVER recommends smashing your way back into your safe! Sure, being locked out is frustrating and all, but damaging a safe is not the answer! You can destroy the safe completely and incur large repair bills so try and keep calm and forego the temper tantrum!

Don’t Damage The Contents!

Smashing, prying and blasting your way into a safe is not only dangerous and damaging to the safe itself, it can also put your safe’s contents at risk. Think about it; safes contain important items like cash, jewelry, titles, appraisals, flash drives, software, receipts, treasured mementoes, documents, insurance papers, and even weapons. The main reason you put those items into the safe was to protect and preserve them.

So What Do You Do?

Your best choice is to get help from the professionals. This may sound expensive and a hassle but it doesn’t have to be! Just be sure to call the right Fort Lauderdale, FL source and you’ll see. Your first thought might be to call a shop that specializes in safes. Beware! The majority of these shops really specialize in SELLING safes. If you need them installed or repaired, they almost always outsource the job to someone else. That in itself is not bad except that you are now incurring extra bills by adding middle-men to the task. Usually these safe shops simply call THEIR locksmith and add the bill to their own. You can save the extra cost and time involved by calling your own locksmith shop that specializes in safe installation, repair and service. If you don’t already have one, give our Optimal Locksmith Pro location a call. We offer fast responding, 24-hour service that includes professional service for your home or commercial safe. We can open/repair any make or model of safe no matter what size it is or what material it is made of.

Whoever you call to help open your safe, they will ask you for some basic information about it, including manufacturer and model number, or type. You’ll need to describe the problem other than “it won’t open.” You can tell them you forgot the combination or the dial is not working, or that the hinges appear to be sticking. It’s always wise to have your warranty information, purchase receipts and maintenance records handy as well. Being organized like this can save hours of time if you are in a hurry to access your safe’s contents. Don’t laugh; we’ve had customers that needed fast cash or documentation to close a deal and every minute counted!

Is Your Safe Electronic?

When you call for repair or service, you’ll be asked if your safe is electronic. Here in Fort Lauderdale, FL we have a mixture of both, so it’s best that you know what your safe is. Another name for electronic safes is digital safes. Because there are more parts involved, they tend to break more often than “regular” safes. Also, these safes work much like the keyless entry system on cars – if someone attempts too many combinations or codes in an attempt to gain access, the system shuts down as a safety precaution; usually for up to 24-hours.

Sometimes the electronic circuitry shorts itself out and this too can prevent your safe from opening. In addition, the battery unit or other power source may fail. An experienced and skilled safe expert like ours here at Optimal Locksmith Pro will be able to rapidly discover the problem and be able to repair it.

Final Tips

Your safe needs to be maintained, cleaned, and lubricated on a regular basis; at least annually. Like anything else with parts, this makes your safe work better and last much longer. Many Fort Lauderdale, FL lock and key shops offer this service as does our firm. Feel free to call and speak to our Optimal Locksmith Pro friendly staff about your particular safe needs and issues. We offer free consultations, free price quotes, and convenient mobile service that comes directly to your location, and works on site.

Your safe is valuable on its own merit. Sure, you use it to store and protect your valuable items, but consider that you also have an investment in this hardware item itself. As such, it deserves the best care and treatment. If your safe is used for business purposes it can sometimes be a tax deduction, so be sure to treat it as an investment and speak to your tax professional regarding how to list and report its purchase, and maintenance. Whether you store cash and gems in your safe or just keep treasured photos and family heirlooms in it, a working and well maintained safe is always an asset to your security and valuables. It’s always worth the best treatment, so be sure to call on Optimal Locksmith Pro or your favorite Fort Lauderdale, FL lock professional in order to get it.

HERE ARE SIGNS THAT YOU NEED BETTER SECURITY!

Are you the trusting type? Do you believe in the overall goodness of people? If you are easily fooled or feel that it can only happen to the “other guy” then read this post carefully and take our pointers to heart. Everyone (yes, you too!) needs security. Whether it’s at home, at your business, at work or in your car, you need to feel and be safe. This is especially true if you are responsible for others. Parents with children, pet owners, teachers, tour guides, public servants and many others all have the responsibility of taking good care of their human or animal obligations. So how do you know if you need better security without becoming paranoid and cynical? Easy; pay attention!

Residential Locksmith

SURROUNDINGS

Where do you live and work? Where do you shop and dine out? What stores do you frequent and at what times? Being aware of your surroundings can go a long way towards improving your safety and security. It happens on a frequent basis here in Fort Lauderdale, FL and everywhere else. A shopping cart in the store is left unattended, even briefly and someone steals a purse or reaches into one and steals keys, wallets, credit cards or cash.

Small children are especially susceptible. They can wander off, get lost, lock themselves in a trunk, climb onto a balcony, go with a stranger; you name it! Being vigilant at all times is vital; even in places where you’d least expect a problem like home or work.

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

There are pros and cons to living and working in well to do “safe” neighborhoods vs working class “inner city” locations. Older parts of town tend to have higher crime rates due to lower socio economic residents and types of businesses. You typically don’t drive through country club areas and see huge billboards for bail bonds or injury attorneys. Older locations tend to have older and outdated locks and security systems too. Many times crime rates are higher because of the ease involved in actually picking open or prying open cheap home or commercial lock hardware. Fort Lauderdale, FL is home to luxurious mansions as well as to mobile home parks and low rent areas.

Better neighborhoods also have their security drawbacks. Often a false sense of security arises from living with roving security, home alarm systems, manned gatehouses and high surrounding walls. It’s easy to assume that security is “taken care of” and not notice a stranger lurking behind a neighbor’s tree or a car that doesn’t have a visitor card on the windshield parked nearby. Plain and simple, you just can’t stop paying attention to your surroundings. Being aware of your neighborhood, workplace, coworkers and even customers is a huge part of living a more secure home and work life.

RECENT CRIME

Home Lockouts

Have you had a break-in recently? This could spell trouble if you are not careful. Were you home at the time or were you out for the evening or on a trip? Think about it. Was someone aware that you were gone or is your daily routine so predictable that others know when you are in or out? If you were going to burglarize a home would YOU want the owners there? Of course not!

Be smart and take steps to bolster your home security. Start by rekeying your door locks. Even if forced entry was used in your break-in, having new keys adds peace of mind and an extra layer of protection. Rekeying your locks is simple, fast and very affordable. Here at Optimal Locksmith Pro we offer this service to our local customers often with same day appointments. Call for free price quotes and for additional details.

Rekeying your locks allows you to keep the same lock mechanisms as only the interior pins are altered so that new keys must be used. Now, all those spare keys that your kids, friends, neighbors, realtors, contractors and delivery men had copies of will no longer work.

CRUISE CONTROL

Do you travel? Cruises and trips are fun and educational and are often part of the job. If people know you travel however, they can tell others and your home can become a target for vandalism, burglary or even arson. Optimal Locksmith Pro offers several ways to make your home better protected while you are away. Between security cameras, deadbolt additions, garage door locks and mailbox locks there are many ways in which you can bolster your home or business security while you are relaxing on beach somewhere!

ARE YOU A BUSINESS OWNER?

Not every business needs security surveillance but high traffic and high cash commercial enterprises would do well to consider it. You wear many hats as a business owner so you have other duties besides being the “watchdog” and being on the lookout for employee theft, shoplifters or pilfering. Even having vigilant managers on hand often isn’t enough. Don’t let this concern you too much; there are dozens of affordable ways in which you can increase your commercial security without making your firm look like a federal prison and without any interruption of day to day business. Most established commercial locksmiths in Fort Lauderdale, FL will be able to help by providing consultation services, commercial safes, CCTV surveillance, panic bars, high security locks and other smart options.

DO YOU HAVE NICE THINGS?

Do you have valuables at home? We’re not talking about family photos or your child’s first grade plaster hand print. If you have real collectibles, cash or art at home it may be time to consider upgrading your home security system including alarms and lock hardware. Items worth stealing don’t have to hang in your great room either; your garage can contain expensive or rare vehicles, four wheelers, jet-ski’s, boats, motorcycles and even your gun cabinet. Don’t become paranoid but do consider paying a little more attention to your surroundings and how your property can viewed from the standpoint of a crook, kidnapper or thief. Optimal Locksmith Pro offers full service locksmith care for home, auto and business needs along with free, no obligation consultations where we can discuss any and all of the above points.