Programming a 2000 Chrysler Sebring Convertible Using The SPX OTC DART

Oct. 15, 2003

For the 1998 model year, Chrysler introduced the Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIS) as an option on the Chrysler Concorde and Sebring and the Dodge Intrepid. Through the 2003 model year, the Sentry Key Immobilizer System has become a standard or optional feature for most Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Plymouth vehicles using the M0001-M2618 code series.

The two important components of the SKIS are the transponder-equipped key and the Sentry Key Immobilizer Module (SKIM). The SKIM prevents the engine from operating until a signal from the transponder disables the module. Also, the SKIM remembers each of the keys that have been programmed to the vehicle.

Note: Those Chrysler/Dodge models using Mitsubishi locks use Mitsubishi transponders that are not programmable using the DART.

To service the SKIS as well as other functions, SPX OTC through Chrysler developed the Diagnostic And Reprogramming Tool (DART) for locksmiths. This tool, although capable of reprogramming vehicle functions, is used by locksmiths to program and erase transponder keys.

The Sentry Key Immobilizer System uses a programmed transponder within the bow of a plastic head key to enable the engine to operate. Up to eight transponder values can be programmed to a specific vehicle. Chrysler transponder-equipped keys cannot be cloned. Factory original key blanks and most aftermarket key blank manufacturers use gray plastic to mold the key bow. This is a good way to identify a transponder-based anti-theft system equipped Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Plymouth vehicle.

The Chrysler SKIS is unique to North American transponder-based anti-theft systems. When a transponder-equipped key is programmed to a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Plymouth vehicle, not only does the vehicle's on-board computer become programmed to the transponder's value, but also the transponder is programmed to the vehicle. This means that once a Chrysler transponder-equipped key blank is programmed to a specific vehicle, the key cannot be programmed to any other Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Plymouth vehicle. However, the key can be erased from and again programmed to the same vehicle a number of times.

There are two ways to program keys for the Sentry Key Immobilizer System. The first way is to add keys to an existing system. This can be accomplished without a programmer (i.e. DART), if two existing programmed master keys are available. If only one or no existing programmed keys are available, the vehicle must be programmed using the DART or similar tool. In addition to programming keys, the DART can erase all programmed keys. A maximum of eight transponder values can be programmed to a specific vehicle.

Unlike Ford or General Motors, the Chrysler SKIS requires a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) in order to program transponder values to the vehicle's on-board database. This PIN can be obtained from the Chrysler dealership network or from roadside service.

Note: For the 2004 model year, Chrysler has introduced the CAN on the 2004 Pacifica, minivans, and Durango. These vehicles at this time cannot be programmed using the DART. Contact your local locksmith wholesaler or STRATTEC for updated information.


For the purpose of this article, we will program a transponder-equipped key to a 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible (Photo 1) using the DART (Photo 7). The Sentry Key Immobilizer System is standard equipment for the 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible. A telephone call was made to a contact in order to obtain the four-digit PIN and the key code by providing the Sebring's Vehicle Identification Number (Photo 2). The PIN was 2143, and the key code was M0846. A mechanical key was cut to the key code and tried in the locks prior to cutting a transponder-equipped key.

Prior to programming, make sure the vehicle's battery is fully charged. A multi-meter can be used to determine that the battery contains at least 12 volts. If not, either charge the battery or use a jump box. Jump Boxes are available from your local automotive supply.

To program the transponder to the 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible:

Step 1. Cut a new transponder-equipped Chrysler key blank to the determined key code. For this article, we used a STRATTEC 598495 key blank. After-market key blanks are available form Ilco Y160-PT and Jet Y160-PHT.

Step 2. Connect the DART cable to the data link connector (OBD-2 port). The port was on the left side of the steering column. (Photo 4)

Step 3. Insert the metal head key into the ignition lock and turn to the "ON" position (Photo 5). Power is supplied to the DART through the port when the key is turned to "ON."

Note: A cable connection error message is produced by the DART when it does not get a signal response. This can be caused by poor connection, low battery voltage, or wrong cable. If this occurs, turn the ignition off for 15 seconds. Turn ignition to the "ON" position. If problem repeats, check connections, and check battery voltage.

Step 4. With the key in the "ON" position, select the SKIM Functions (Photo 9), number 4, from the main menu (Photo 8). Press enter.

Step 5. To program a new transponder key, select 1 Program key(s). Press enter.

Step 6. The screen that appears ask the four digit PIN be entered. In this case, we entered, 2-1-4-3. Press enter. (Photo 10)

Step 7. Confirm the PIN is correct. If a wrong PIN is entered three times, the ECU will shut down for approximately one hour. (Photo 11)

Step 8. The display will ask you to insert the transponder key into the ignition lock and turn the key to the "RUN" position. Press any key. (Photo 12)

Step 9. The next screen will indicate the new key has been successfully programmed. Press any key. (Photo 13)

Step 10. The next screen will ask if additional key are to be programmed. (Photo 14) If additional keys are to be programmed, follow the instructions. If not, disconnect the cable.

Step 11. Turn the key to the "OFF" position.

Step 12. Turn the key to the "ON" position. The anti-theft indicator (Photo 6) will flash and then turn off if the transponder has been programmed. Photo 16 shows the finished key.

Step 13. Start the car. (Photo 15) Allow the engine to idle for at least one minute. This indicates the transponder has been programmed.

The SKIS turns off the fuel supply. However, with the fuel supply shut off, the engine can still start and run for a several seconds.

For more information, contact your local locksmith wholesaler or STRATTEC Security Corporation, 3333 West Good Hope Road, Milwaukee, WI 53209.