Understanding The 6 Most Common Kinds Of Car Key

Car keys have undergone many changes over the last few years, with new iterations popping up constantly. For most of the automobile’s history, car keys adhered to the basic mechanical design, but recently, new technology and security requirements have resulted in several new versions of car keys. These variations come with different specifications and unique traits. Below, the experienced technicians with our locksmith company break down the most common type of car keys.

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Mechanical Keys

The basic mechanical car key was the most commonly used automobile key before the 21st century. If you drive an older vehicle, you likely have this traditional car key. The simple design of mechanical car keys means they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to duplicate, as these keys can be forged with any machine that cuts metal.

Flip Key

Flip keys feature a foldaway design to protect the key’s shaft from everyday wear and tear. Commonly referred to as “switch-blade keys,” these are incredibly popular designs with contemporary car manufacturers and make efficient use of space compared to traditional car keys.

Laser-Cut Car Key

Luxury car brands first used the laser-cut key to decrease car thefts in the 1990s. Laser-cut keys tend to be thicker than other keys. Additionally, both sides of a laser-cut key are marked with the same laser groove. As a result, the key can be inserted into the ignition in any direction, and the car key becomes more difficult to duplicate.

Transponder Key

Transponder keys were the first modern reinvention of the standard car key. In the 1990s, car manufacturers began installing transponder chips in keys for increased security — requiring the key’s chip to provide the correct code to the car’s computer to start the vehicle. Since then, transponder keys have become a staple in automobile security and anti-theft measures.

Smart Key

Smart keys, also called keyless car keys, are one the newest car keys used by car manufacturers. These car keys offer supreme convenience to car owners, as they signal vehicles to unlock automatically when nearby. Additionally, these keys don’t need to be inserted into the ignition, starting cars at the press of a button.

Valet Key

A valet car key is intended for use by valet services. With a spare valet key, car owners can hand over a key with limited functionality to valet services. A specialized valet car key is limited to being able to lock and unlock the doors and turn on the ignition. Valet keys cannot open locked glove boxes and trunks, providing drivers with a more secure way to use valet services.


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