Key Rescue Seattle Blog

Common Car Key Varieties

Published on 4 months ago
Common Car Key Varieties
In this blog entry, the expert Seattle car key replacement experts here at Key Rescue Seattle will describe the main types of common car key types currently available on the market today.

Mechanical Car Keys

Mechanical cut car keys are the most traditional and classic form of car keys. They are also known as standard car keys. They are usually used in older cars that don't have special security encoding technology. They can be made with any metallic key cutting machine. These keys aren’t the most secure, as since they only use metal, they can be duplicated in a range of ways using standard blank key templates.  

Remote Car Keys

Remote car keys are used for remote locking and unlocking of vehicles. They use infrared signals or radio transmission to send encoded messages to the vehicle’s receiver. They are usually battery operated, and have a button that turns off a car’s alarm system. Remote car keys allow users to lock or unlock their vehicle from a distance. They need to be directly placed into ignition to start the vehicle, different from smart keys that can open vehicles with zero touch.  

Transponder Car Keys

These keys have microchips in their handles. They’ve been commonly used since the year 1995. The transponder key sends a signal to a sensor in the vehicle, allowing the vehicle to start. Another type of transponder key is the rolling code key, invented in 1999, which sends a different code every time the car is used for even more robust security.  

Flip Style Remote Car Keys

Also known as switchblade keys, these keys fold up. They have a button that pops out of the key, and the key’s base (or shank) is retracted into the head or fob of the key. They are similar to switchblade knives - and are somewhat unique, used in some luxury vehicles.  

Smart Car Keys

These keys are meant to remain in pockets. Cars with smart keys have antennas that detect the presence of a smart key, which turns off the car’s immobilizer, and allows the ignition to be started with the press of a button. Smart car keys are fobs that allow cars to start with no need to insert a key into ignition.  

Valet Keys

Valet keys are meant to be used by valet services. Owners of valer keys can hand over this unique key with limited functionality that only locks or unlocks the car doors and starts the ignition - with no ability to open globe boxes or trunks. Some drivers keep valet keys in the event of being locked out of their vehicle.