Sidewinders Go Mainstream

July 14, 2011

Believe it or not, Sidewinder locks first made their debut on some Mercedes vehicles back in 1979. Mercedes had the sidewinder concession to themselves until 1986 when Saab 9000 models added sidewinder keys. Volvo began using sidewinder locks in 1987 and BMW quickly followed in 1988. Infinit Q45 vehicles received a sidewinder lock system in 1990 and Mazda Millenia added sidewinders in 1995. Since then, Acura, Audi, Ford, General motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Porsche, Rover, Subaru and VW have joined the sidewinder parade in the USA. The new Fiat 500 model to be sold at Chrysler dealers will be a sidewinder as was the discontinued Chrysler Crosssfire. In addition, some Volvo trucks and Ducati motorcycles have sidewinder locks. If this trend continues, over 50 percent of the vehicle keys in use will soon have some type of sidewinder lock design.  

In addition to using sidewinder locks, a large percentage of vehicles with sidewinders also have transponder security. Even if you can duplicate a key, programming transponders is an added barrier to completing the job. One solution is cloning. Cloning provides a way to quickly program a new key and in some cases it is not even necessary to be at the vehicle.

Key blank manufacturers have made it as economical as possible to enter the sidewinder/transponder business with their two-piece keys. By mixing and matching various transponders and key blades, a large amount of vehicle sidewinder keys can be duplicated with the smallest possible investment.  

Most aftermarket key blank manufacturers use proprietary transponder systems. Best results are achieved by using cloning equipment and key blanks which are made by the same aftermarket key blank manufacturer.    

Our chart shows the two-part sidewinder keys offered by known aftermarket suppliers. This list was compiled from literature supplied by the manufacturers and may not reflect new additions or key number changes. Consult with your distributor for current information.    

For further information contact your local distributor or the following manufacturer web sites:,, &