Many of the clients who call us in order to get a new car key made, are not sure whether they need a Transponder key or a VATS key. This article is written in order to explain how to distinguish between these 2 different types of high security keys.
Important note - if you lost your only car key and you don't remember how exactly it looked, the information about your car key make, model and year of production will be enough for our technicians to figure out what they should do.
This is the nowadays much more common type of car keys. The vast majority of the cars that were made in the 2000's are equipped with the great anti auto-theft Transponder system, which is based on the communication between the electronic chip inside the key and the chip inside the ignition.
When the key is inserted into the ignition, the ignition transmits a radio signal, which only the genuine owner's key will be able to respond to. This is where the name "Transponder" comes from and this is the reason why it's useless to try to steal a car that has a Transponder system installed, if you only have a copy of the owner's key and not the original one. The car just won't start!
VATS keys are much older high security keys, which were produced as early as in the 70's. They were used mostly for luxury car makes, such as Volvo.
These keys are quite rare nowadays, so if you have a key that is not just made of a solid piece of metal, but you drive a relatively new car and not a classic oldie, your key is probably a Transponder key.
Either way - the difference between these two types of keys is quite vivid! Transponder keys have the electronic chip hidden under the black piece of plastic, while VATS keys have an electric resistor on the keyblade itself. So if your key doesn't have any resistor on it, it's a Transponder key.