At the ALOA convention two or three years ago a meeting was scheduled on the "State of the Industry." One memorable moment occurred for me when a locksmith described how well his business was doing by impressioning vehicle keys. But what if vehicles no longer have locks to impression?
STRATTEC Security Corp. has a new brochure available showing the wide variety of remotes which they offer. The brochure headline states, "Covers Over 90% of the Vehicles on the Road." The time for impressioning is quickly passing as even the most inexpensive new vehicles using remotes become commonplace.
Opinions in an e-mail sent to Locksmith Ledger by Mo Ali from American Key Supply states in part,"... The modern automotive locksmith probably has a good ten years left before having to defer to dealer-only tools and NASTJF rules. Why? Because auto manufacturers want to know who, what, when and why a new key was programmed."
With the exception of Chrysler, almost every vehicle is now equipped with laser-cut sidewinder keys which generally only operate an emergency cylinder for gaining entrance to a locked vehicle. Most drivers routinely unlock their vehicles and start their engines with an electronic push button or proximity fob.
If your customer owns a GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Infiniti, Honda or Subaru vehicle, then most likely STRATTEC has a fob for that vehicle. STRATTEC is a licensed supplier for GM, Ford and Mopar.
Beginning in approximately 1990 vehicle security consisted of electronics located in the keybow and corresponding electronics surrounding the ignition cylinder. 'Transponder' became the name for the interaction between key and ignition electronics. STRATTEC has a full line of original equipment transponder keys available but the use of metal transponder keys is diminishing as proximity fobs corner the market.
If you are a beginner to vehicle lock servicing, you will immediately find that there is very little standardization. Each vehicle manufacturer uses their own technology and that technology is often changed. Knowing the year, make and model is very important before beginning any transponder key or fob programming. Many keys and fobs can only be programmed once, so if the programming is done incorrectly it can be a costly mistake.
Depending on the vehicle age, a car may use a transponder key, a transponder key with push buttons in the keybow, or a fob which operates locking, unlocking and starting wirelessly. The wide variety of possible choices is beyond the scope of this article but that is where STRATTEC is prepared to assist you. Each model year STRATTEC publishes a catalog showing available STRATTEC lock parts, keys and other information usually for a 10-year period. A STRATTEC website (www.aftermarket.STRATTEC.com) simplifies the search process even further. Searches by year, make and model quickly provide STRATTEC part numbers for that particular vehicle.
There are many different sources for obtaining transponder keys and key fobs. Some sources refurbish used fobs and keys. Some sources import new, non-original transponder keys and fobs from outside the country. Any cost savings there might be between licensed STRATTEC products and secondary refurbished or imported products will be quickly forgotten when an off-brand key or fob fails at some crucial time. If you value your reputation, think of STRATTEC products first.
For more information contact your local STRATTEC locksmith distributor or: www.aftermarket.strattec.com