Are you wondering whether programming a digital car key is an easy or a difficult task? Since new technologies and gadgets are being introduced every passing day, it makes the locking systems technically difficult to program. And with that, it gets even more difficult to understand how to program a digital car key on your own.

Programming a digital key requires technical knowledge which is why if you ever need your digital key to be programmed, you must consult a professional locksmith. Below is a complete overview of how locksmiths program digital car keys, what they charge to their clients, and how much time they usually take to program the key. 

1- Pushbutton Starter Key Programming 

In the majority of the cases, emergency locksmith use a push-button starter technique to program the digital keyless ignition fob. However, it is not certain that this process will be a complete success always. But it is still a very useful method and worth trying if you want to avoid paying a huge amount to your car key dealer for key programming. Here is how locksmiths program your key using the push-button starter key programming method. 

  • After taking the key in hand, the locksmith sits in the driver’s seat and closes the back door. After that, he places the right hand on the key fob and the other hand on the vehicle’s start button. However, everything needs to be done quickly. This is why expert locksmiths are trained accordingly. 
  • After that, the locksmith will press the start button a couple of times. Each trial is done within 2 seconds. During this, he will keep his foot off the brake, which is most of the time neglected by the people. The main objective here is to program the key, not start the car. 
  • After pressing 15 times, the locksmith will press the lock button on the fob. If it is a successful pairing, the doors will lock, ensuring that the fob is now functional. 
  • However, if the results aren’t right, the locksmith will repeat this process to see if the first attempt resulted in an error. This technique requires great precision in timing that is always difficult to achieve, but expert locksmiths usually manage to do it in the first few attempts.

2- Car Key Programming Using Two Keys

In this method, a master key is used by the locksmiths to program a second or third key. Some of the cars might need two programmed keys for this method; hence you will get another spare key. A challenge that most locksmiths might face here is the anti-theft system of the car. However, a locksmith ensures that the key is programmed without any difficulties. Here is how it is done:

  • First, the locksmith sits in the driver’s seat to access the ignition switch so that the keys are linked with the electronic system of the car. 
  • After that, he inserts the programmed master key inside the ignition and turns it to a point where the car’s system gets activated. After that, the key is turned back, and the system gets switched off.
  • This is where the locksmith will act swiftly and insert the second key inside the ignition. A total time of five seconds is required here by the locksmith to shift the keys. Repeat the same process with the second key and remove it from the ignition. If the anti-theft system of the vehicle isn’t advanced, the key gets programmed in the second attempt. 
  • After removing the second key, the locksmith inserts the third key in the ignition. This step requires ten seconds, and after inserting, he will again turn the key to activate the system. However, he will not remove the key from the ignition this time.
  • At last, the locksmith ensures that the car is now in security mode by checking the light on the dashboard. If the light is shown for at least three seconds, he takes the key out of the ignition. After that, he will test the key to check if the method was successful or not. 

3- Programming the Keys with OBD Port

Another technique that locksmiths use to program your car keys is to connect software to the OBD port, which is located under the dashboard of the car. With this method, a locksmith can program the key and the fob. Here is how it is done. 

  • Before starting the procedure, a locksmith will buy a paid token to perform key programming with the help of the software. 
  • First, the locksmith will remove the dashboard of the car and locate the OBD port below it. 
  • Once the OBD port is located, he will connect his computer system having proper software to it. 
  • Once the software gets connected to the port, the locksmith will add or remove car keys from it. He can program as many keys as needed and can remove all the lost keys with the help of this software. 
  • After that, he will disconnect the computer, place the dashboard back, and perform a test run. 

However, these computers will not let the locksmiths program the keys all day. The majority of these computers follow a token system, and a vehicle key can only be programmed if the token is purchased timely. The locksmith must purchase the tokens beforehand, as one token is used for one key’s programming. The cost of purchasing the tokens is included in the overall cost of the programming. 

How Much Does Car Key Programming Cost? 

Car key programming cost ranges from $25 to $100, which further depends upon who is providing the code, the brand of the vehicle, and the skills of the locksmith. If a skimming code is required to program the key, more will be the cost of the process. Many cars need an extra skimming code to get their keys programmed. Usually, the car dealer has this code provided after paying a certain fee. 

If the car owner visits the dealer, it can be obtained free of cost. In general, it is confidential information provided to the car owner only. Most cars owners get the skim code when they want a spare key for their cars. By providing this code to the locksmith, they can get as many digital spare keys as needed.

Duration of Programming a Car key

If your car lockout then Locksmiths can program a car key in minutes, often less than 30. Whether they are adopting the OBE port process or the push-button technique, the time taken by them is almost equal. However, once they clear the system using the OBE port, they ensure that all the other keys associated with the car don’t work anymore. It is a precautionary measure that locksmiths take for the security of your vehicle.

Final Thoughts

Programming a car key depends upon various factors, and one of the major ones is the type of vehicle you have. If you try to do it yourself without any knowledge, you might end up wasting your time. For this reason, it is recommended to call a professional locksmith for car key programming. Having the right tools and software, a locksmith uses various methods discussed above to program your vehicle’s keys perfectly.

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