In order to compete, an automotive locksmith needs to have just about all of the most up-to-date equipment available. That’s easily said, but not always financially possible or practical.
We have written about the different programming equipment available since the introduction of the Kent-Moore VATS Interrogator in the 1985 and the TCL-1, the first North American multiple vehicle transponder programming device that was introduced in 2002. Over the years, VATS interrogators and programming devices have come and gone, been upgraded and new companies products have come to the market.
Today, multiple vehicle transponder programming devices are available from a number of different companies. Each device has its own unique characteristics and advantages including the number of vehicles that can be programmed and what the device can do in order to program a particular vehicle. For example, read P.I.N.’s and/or Web inCodes.
Over time, these new devices can be obsoleted as new vehicle technologies are being introduced or devices are no longer able to perform the required functions. When a programming device becomes obsolete, no new software will be made available, limiting the operational capabilities.
At these times, there are several questions that should be answered before a decision is made regarding buying a new device. To complicate the issues, the answers will be different depending upon the programming needs, the number of devices owned and the financial health of the locksmith who owns the device.
Basic questions that should be answered are:
- Do you own additional multiple vehicle programming devices?
- Are one or more of the devices using current technology?
- How many employees program vehicles outside of the shop?
- When did the programming device become obsolete?
- Is the device software up-to-date?
- What vehicle models will the device program?
- What vehicle models cannot be programmed?
- Is there a trade-in program for my device for a new device I want to purchase?
- Will the trade-in program provide you with a new device that includes all of your current software capabilities?
As an example to further discuss the issues, I will use the Code Seeker Programming Device. The Code Seeker was introduced in 2004 and continues to be used but is limited by hardware that does not accept the newer software programs that are offered on the Pro tools.
The original software that came with the Code Seeker includes programming capabilities for some models of the following vehicle years and makes:
Cadillac Catera 1997-01
GMC Yukon 2006
Porsche Boxster 1997-04
The following list is the software that is available for the Code Seeker:
Cadillac Catera PIN Read
Chrysler CAN 2, 3, 4 & 5
Chrysler SKIM/CAN PIN Reader
Ford PATS 5
GM USA Basic (Non-CAN)
Kia/Hyundai PIN Code Bypass
Mazda PIN Code Conversion
Mitsubishi CAN & PROX
Nissan/Infiniti CAN & PROX
- Not everyone will have purchased all of the software updates. However, with the software currently programmed to the Code Seeker, what percentage of the vehicles in your area can you program?
- Is it financially practical to update the software, use the device as it is, or just purchase a new device?
- Are the vehicles that cannot be programmed, able to be programmed using a different multiple vehicle programming device?
- How often is the Code Seeker used to a program vehicle?
- Can the work you have justify a new programming device?