Car Keys 101

Car Keys 101

Car Keys 101: The Evolution of the Automotive Key

Car keys have come a long way since their beginnings. 

Simple Brass Key

The brass key was the first one used to engage an auto mobile’s ignition. Originally single-sided, the brass key soon became double-sided, providing users with convenience as keys could now be inserted into the tumbler from either orientation.


The Passive Anti-Theft System, or PATS, runs electricity through the cylinder before the car can be started. The key-less entry remote accompanied PATS and allows users to lock and unlock automobiles with a touch of a button, although a separate key is required to start the vehicle.

Transponder Key

Transponder keys have furthered efforts by automobile manufacturers to deter theft. A chip placed in the plastic head of the key sends a signal to a receiver in the ignition. If the correct signal is not sent, the vehicle will not start.

Laser Cut Transponder Key

Additional deterrents combined transponder technology with the newly-introduced laser cut key, making vehicle theft more difficult than ever before. The increased technology of laser cut transponder keys comes at a higher price due to the expense of the machines required to make them. Baldino’s offers lower prices than car dealerships for laser cut transponder keys and maintains the appropriate equipment needed to make them.

Remote Head/Key Combo

The remote head/key combo signals a new era in convenience for automobile users. It offers remote access for both locking/unlocking as well as ignition in the head of the key. Although a transponder chip might be embedded in the head of the key, the chip and key are unrelated. It is still possible to have one without the other.

Proximity FOB with Laser Cut Override: The Smart Key

The most advanced version of the automotive key, also known as a smart key, is a proximity fob; a remote control with a chip in it. When the fob is inside the vehicle, the Engine Control Unit, or ECU, senses it and allows the vehicle to be started, usually by pushing a button.