transponder key

As the leading Locksmith in the Redlands area for car key and transponder key issues, we get quite a lot of calls from people who have accidentally left their keys in their cars, or otherwise lost them. There is nothing to be ashamed of in this situation, and truth be told, it happens all the time! But there’s another situation where you might find yourself calling your nearby locksmith — because your car key just doesn’t want to work!

A dysfunctional car key can range from annoying to downright frustrating, and if there’s somewhere you need to be, it can ruin all of your plans. If your key suddenly stops working on you, there could be several reasons why.

The Lock Is Damaged

This is the first idea that most people jump to when they’re diagnosing their car key problems, and for good reason — if your car stops unlocking properly and your key looks totally normal, it’s easy to assume that it’s the lock, not the key, that’s giving you trouble.

While this isn’t always true, it does happen frequently and it’s a good place to start if you’re trying to figure out a solution.

  • Worn Down Lock: Unfortunately, locks are subject to wear and tear just as much as normal keys are. Even if your key is looking like it’s in good shape, the insides of your lock might not be as fine-tuned. If one of the pins becomes worn, it can cause the lock to get stuck. This doesn’t mean your lock is done for good, but it’ll likely continue to give you trouble, should you manage to get it open.
  • Environmental Damage: It’s also possible for the lock to get clogged with dirt or other debris. Also, did you know that extremely cold weather can effectively freeze locks? Luckily, we don’t have to worry about this so much in Southern California, but it’s still a consideration. Make sure the elements aren’t wreaking havoc on your lock!
  • Impact Damage: Check to make sure there’s no impact damage to your lock. Sometimes locks can go bad if they’ve been hit in an accident or suffered any other kind of impact trauma.

Damaged Key

Of course, if the lock is just fine, you don’t want to dismiss the idea that your key is broken. If your car uses a traditional turning locking system, take a look at your key — has it seen better days?

Every key under the sun has its own unique shape that corresponds directly with a system of pins. In a nutshell, little pins inside a lock prevent it from moving, unless they’re arranged into an exact, precise configuration which “frees” the turning mechanism, allowing it to move freely. The grooves on your key allow for that to happen.

In other words, if your key is looking weathered, smooth, and dull, it has probably succumbed to the effects of old age, and it might not be playing ball with the lock anymore.

Internal Key Fob Damage

We’ve talked a good deal about broken keys and locks, but if you’re the owner of a relatively recent vehicle, you probably don’t even those at all! Indeed, while most vehicles are equipped with a good old fashioned lock, the overwhelming majority of them are locked and unlocked via wireless key fobs. Instead of inserting your key and turning it, you just send a unique signal to your care which allows it to obey your command.

So, if your car isn’t unlocking even after you furiously mash the buttons on your fob, consider the idea that something may be wrong with it. The easiest option is that the batteries are out, but that’s too easy — if your fob isn’t getting any power at all, new batteries should be one of your first priorities because that’s probably where the problem lies.

But in certain situations, you may find that your key fob has power, but it’s still not unlocking your door — this is usually evident if the fob has some kind of LED light to signal that it’s getting your commands.

If your fob isn’t working but it clearly has problems, it’s probably time to call an automotive locksmith. It means that there is internal damage in your electronic key, or the systems in your car which are supposed to detect it. At the end of the day, it will be easier to just replace the key than to go through the complicated process of troubleshooting and fixing the problem.

The Key Isn’t Programmed

Ever wondered why most car keys have a thick black square at the base, instead of just being a normal metal key? There’s a reason for this aside from looking fancy — those thick black square bases actually have tech inside that communicate with the car. These are known as transponder keys.

Transponder keys communicate with the car via an electronic signal, adding an extra layer of security. If this signal isn’t received by the car, you won’t be able to open it or drive it, even if the key itself is a perfect fit.

Well, like we mentioned above, it’s important for this electronic communication to be functional and operational — but it’s even more important to make sure the key has been programmed for your car in the first place.

If your key has been broken or lost recently, perhaps you went to a local locksmith or dealership and ordered a new one. Maybe you ordered from an aftermarket website which promised access to your car. But if it wasn’t programmed right, you’re not getting in, and you’re certainly not driving. Fortunately, this is something that Redlands Lock and Key can help with!

It’s Not Your Car

Okay, this one is mostly on here as a joke, but in all seriousness, make sure you’re at your car! While most people are able to quickly ascertain whether or not they’re trying to access the right vehicle, well, let’s just say that this isn’t always true. Sometimes a car that’s extraordinarily similar (or identical) to your make, model, and year is parked nearby, and if you didn’t internalize your parking spot, you may be accidentally attempting to break into someone else’s vehicle. Whoops!

Automotive Locksmith Services in Redlands, California

While there are many different reasons why your car key and lock might be betraying you, there is always one solution — calling your local locksmith. If you’re anywhere near Redlands, Yucaipa, Loma Linda, Beaumont, Highland, or Colton, Redlands Lock and Key is the company to call. We’ve helped countless clients gain access to their car, whether it’s by troubleshooting their problem, creating a new key for them, or repairing the one they already have.

You never want your keys and locks to fail in an inopportune moment. Contact us today!