24 Hr Lockouts Logo

Lockout Tips

What Type of Car Key Do You Have?

man holding mercedes key

With today’s cars, simple, traditional keys are nearly a thing of the past. Auto manufacturers now issue remotes, transponders, and even fobs, that attempt to make your car more secure. They don’t allow the engine to start or the door to open unless this electronic key is within a certain range of the car. Most of them come standard, or with a cost, when you buy a new car. What’s the difference between all these different types of keys? Here’s a closer look at these distinct classifications.


Remotes can either come with a key attached or as a separate unit. They are usually only for the purpose of opening the truck or locking and unlocking the door. A key is still required for starting the key here, but the ability to lock the car as you are walking away, or to make sure the car is locked when you are no longer right next to it, is a huge benefit.


The word transponder is a combination of the words “transmitter” and “responder”. With these keys, a signal is sent from the key to the car, and the car will not start unless it receives the correct signal. They may not always be attached to a remote, but can still provide extra security for your car because it doesn’t allow the car to start unless the correct code is transmitted.

Key Fobs

Key fobs are used completely in place of keys, though many still come with a key attached or included. (The extra key can be given to valets and such, if you are worried about someone copying the code.) They allow you to start the car so long as the fob is near or inside the car. These advanced “anti-theft” keys do have their downfalls. If they stop working for any reason, they can prevent a car from starting; if they are not coded correctly, it can be easy for a hacker to intercept and hijack the signal; and simply enough the fob can fall from your pocket and disappear, never to be seen again. If you are having any issues with your remote access keys, consider calling a mobile locksmith before the dealership. Trips to the dealership can be expensive and time-consuming, whereas a mobile locksmith can come to you quickly and handle any necessary repairs (and potentially replacements, as well) at your location.

If you are locked out of your car, contact us at 24 HR Lockouts to assist. We are prompt, professional, and affordable.

We accept: We accept all major credit cards