Guide To Chrysler Remote Head Key Shells

June 29, 2011

The Chrysler remote head key was introduced for the 2004 model year Chrysler and Dodge minivans and 2005 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee. Chrysler remote head keys have a rigid mounted blade that extends from the head. These remote head keys eliminate the need for a key and separate remote. A remote head key is much longer than a plastic head key. This remote head key is approximately 3-1/2” long, 1/2” thick and 1-3/8” wide. There are remote head keys with a key that flips out of the head in order to operate a mechanical ignition lock. Rigid blade remote head keys are available for Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Lexus and others.

The additional length of the rigid blade remote head keys can and does create problems. They do not fit well in a pant pocket or a small purse. The remote head is plastic and is usually not manufactured of thick plastic or reinforced in order to prevent breakage. As a result, they can and do break, especially when the remote head key is on a ring with a large amount of keys or items attached. Over time and use, the depths of cut can become worn to the point they no longer smoothly operate the locks. And, shells are a lifesaver, if for some reason you mis-cut a remote head key.

Remote head keys are expensive when compared to transponder-equipped keys. Replacement remote head keys are usually more than $100, and some are more than $200. To make matters worse, replacing a remote head transponder-equipped key requires the new remote head key to be programmed to the vehicle adding additional cost and the time requirement.

Some remote head keys are designed and manufactured such that they must be replaced. For example, the Ford IKT remote head keys. Some remote head keys including some Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Jeep and Lexus can have the electronics removed and installed into a shell. For those, a replacement shell is significantly cheaper than a new remote head key.

Enter the aftermarket introduction of the shells. A remote head key shell is just the plastic outside, with the proper key blade attached. Instead of having to purchase a new remote head key, the electronics are removed from the damaged or worn remote head key and installed into the new shell.

A suggestion is to always originate the bitting onto the shell’s blade instead of duplicating the cuts. Using the customer’s electronics eliminates the need to program the transponder and the remote functions.

Repairing a customer’s key using a replacement shell does not require cloning or programming or even any automotive expertise to move the electronics package to a shell and cut the key. An additional advantage is the aftermarket remote head key shells do not have the vehicle manufacturers logo on the cover. This offers an advantage as only one shell per button style and number need to be stocked for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles. Always dry fit the parts to be certain they are compatible.

Important: Before installing the customer’s electronics into a new remote shell, make sure the customer’s remote properly operates.

To replace the shell from a Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep remote head key, you must know the number and size of the buttons to be certain. Chrysler has remote head keys for three, four, five and six button applications. The three- and four-button shells come in two styles: Type 1 and Type 2. The three- and four-button, Type 1 and Type 2 remote head key shells are not interchangeable. This is because of the size and positions of the buttons are different.

At this time, it appears that there are four suppliers of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep remote head key shells sold through locksmith distribution. There include A1 Security Manufacturing, Bianchi, HATA and Kaba Ilco. The button and type determine each company’s part number and the year and model vehicles they are applicable.

Most of the shells have a slot that is used to separate the two halves. Slide a dime into the slot and gently twist the dime, and the two halves of the remote head key shell will begin to separate. Continue until the two halves are separated and the electronics and battery can be removed.

The electronics can be slid into the top half with the button positioned properly in the openings. Make sure the battery is installed in the proper direction.

Selling the customer a new battery is a good idea. This way the remote head key will probably continue to operate for a number of years without a problem.

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or the following manufacturers:

A1 Security Manufacturing. Telephone: 804-359-9003. Web Site:

Bianchi USA, Inc.. Telephone: 800-891-2118. Web Site:

HATA, Inc., Telephone: 866-888-4282. Web Site:

Kaba Ilco Corp. Telephone: 800-334-1381. Web Site: