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​​Clone or Transponder Key?   Which is better? 

Okay you need a duplicate key in case you lose the only one that cranks your car.  I get that and even recommend it.  But don’t be fooled.  There is a difference in quality, longevity and price.   A clone key is an electronic copy of a transponder key.  The head of the clone key usually comes in two pieces.  Inside there is a battery that usually lasts 3-5 years.  Clone keys have an exposed circuit board that easily corrodes when exposed to the elements. Clone keys also tend to fall apart when dropped. 

On the other hand, a transponder key completely encases the transponder in the head of the key with molded plastic.  It’s electronics are completely protected from fluids or air corrosion.  Transponder keys are programmed to the car computer instead of another key.  Because of this fact transponder keys run off the car battery and usually last 12 or more years.  

Most clone keys locally run the gamut in price from $50 - $75.  Generally, the cheaper the price the cheaper the quality.  Whereas most transponder keys run between $55 -$65 from a locksmith and are far more durable than any clone key.   

Clone keys can be found in your national chains and local hardware stores.  Transponder keys require a locksmith who uses the kind of key that is made for that car as it came from the factory.

The number of clone keys that can be made for a vehicle is limitless.  Therefore, the more clone keys made the more unknown people who may possess a key to your car.  Whereas, if only transponder keys were made for a car, the data base in the car computer would let you know how many exists.

It is also true that many places that make clone keys cannot make the new high security keys that are on newer vehicles.  This is because the technology isn’t available to clone them or their establishment does not have the newest machinery to cut those kind of keys.

Programming the newer transponder keys requires more than just a programmer.  Some cars require a four-digit security code that is requested during programming.  This information must be obtained from the dealership, a code service, or in some cases the most recent programmer. Dealerships use to give out key information to the vehicle owners and locksmith.  This is no longer the case.  They want to force all vehicle owners to come to them for another key and charge twice what a locksmith does.  Locksmiths have two choices in this regard.  They either pay a hefty membership fee and purchase codes to get this information or continue to spend thousands of dollars for new machines to bring them up to date as much as possible.

Bottom line is that locksmith have a significant investment to provide the public with a quality product at a price that all the other want-a-bees provide with a cheaper imitation clone.

Your car is a big investment.  Keep the security it came with and give it the quality it deserves.  Make the best choice at the best value.  Avoid the dealerships and all clone key providers.  See a locksmith and get it done right with a transponder key.

Happy motoring,


Mark's Corner  Re:  Door Locks

Keeping our customers informed.

Mark's Corner  

Keeping our customers informed.

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