The answer to the question, “Can I rekey my car?” is actually somewhat controversial, since the process of rekeying a car is different from rekeying a home or business. There are do-it-yourself options available, although most experts strongly discourage this, especially for foreign or more expensive makes and models of vehicles.
Changing the Lock and Key
You can contact an auto parts store or the automobile manufacturer to get a new lock with keys. The old lock can be removed relatively easy, and the new one installed. Included with the new lock are full instructions that if followed exactly will work. However, there are times when an older lock is simply worn out that a do-it-yourself project creates risk of damage.
When experts are asked the question, “Can I rekey my car?” the majority agree this is best left to a professional, rather than using do-it-yourself kits and guides currently sold. Even if you have mechanical ability, there are many instances when a job like this requires specific expertise, so it is usually best to pay a professional to have a car rekeyed, thereby eliminating even greater cost in the end.
Changes to the ignition switch are part of rekeying a car and often involve two specific car parts, including the electronic ignition switch and the ignition key tumbler. The switch is located behind the tumbler, and the tumbler is where the key is inserted to start the engine. The switch connects to the battery, so with a closed circuit, a surge of power is emitted that allows the engine to start. When a key is inserted and turned, the switch completes a circuit.
Can I Rekey My Car Due to the Engine Not Firing?
There are many different reasons an engine will not fire, so if rekeying the car because of this problem, it is essential to have the vehicle’s mechanics checked. There could be an issue with the battery or starter switch. In other words, you want to make sure there is nothing mechanically wrong with your car prior to rekeying. Obviously, a car can be rekeyed for enhanced security purposes as well.
Unfortunately, no matter how easy products and guides make it seem to remove an ignition key tumbler, this is actually a complex task. Something else to consider is that the process of rekeying a car usually involves taking the panel off, which in more modern vehicles means working around intricate wiring and airbags.
In addition, rekeying a car manufactured after the mid-1990s is difficult because keys are made with transponders that are specially encoded. To prevent theft, many cars are designed with computers that emit a radio frequency whenever a key is inserted, so if the key does not respond with the right frequency ID signal, the engine will not fire.
For a newer vehicle, you will need to know if your key has a transponder chip encoded before even attempting to rekey. If it does, a blank transponder key can be ordered, although it will need to be programmed for your vehicle by a professional automotive locksmith or car dealer. If the ignition lock has been rekeyed, the key will have to be cut perfectly to match.