For most of automotive history, we have relied on the basic mechanical key to do everything from opening the doors and trunk to starting the vehicle. However, with the change in technology over the past three decades, the mechanical car key has evolved from being simple and easily replaceable to high-tech and hard to copy.

While every automotive manufacturer appears to have adopted the Latest Car Key Technology slightly differently, they, for the most part, fall into any one of the four categories below.

The Basic Car Key

It is your standard type of automotive key that dates back to the early days of the automobile. It works like a padlock in the sense that it has a lot of the exact mechanism both in the lock and the way your key operates.

The keys have a unique “teeth” pattern and grooves that are cut into them, which, when lined up with the pins, opens the lock. That’s why unless there is a perfect match, the car will not start.

The drawback of mechanical keys is that they can be copied relatively easily. Also, mechanical locks aren’t all that hard to pick or open.

The Transponder Code Key

A transponder is an interesting evolution of the modern car key. It may appear to be like a regular mechanical key, but the key does not have any teeth or has a simple pattern if you look closer. The key usually has an electronic chip in the head called a transponder, which gives the car a unique digital code that is decoded by the onboard computer. So, if the code does not match, the car will not start.

Many transponders have a constant code, which makes the key easier to duplicate, but it is also easier to defeat. More secure transponder keys use what’s called a rolling code that’s far more difficult to defeat. But it is also much more challenging to duplicate, even for seasoned locksmiths. That’s why we need special equipment and a team of Certified Automotive Locksmiths to pull it off.

Laser Cut Car Key

Think of the laser cut key as being an enhanced version of your traditional mechanical card keys, made using advanced laser cutting tools. The precision means that its distinctive and different types of teeth can’t be created using your standard mechanical cutting equipment. However, these keys are cut so that they easily go into locks regardless of direction and work. The keys are hard to duplicate by most people other than automotive locksmiths using special equipment.

Car Key Fob

It is a lot like a transponder, but unlike transponders, they are a device in itself. There are quite a few different types of auto key fobs; the most common is the add-on fob, which has a standard mechanical key but can also start the engine remotely. Some come with a switchblade-type mechanism.


Today, there are many key types in use. The basic mechanical options are extremely common, but the newer ones offer enhanced security. That said, all automotive keys, at least for modern cars, need to be created either by the car dealership or a certified locksmith like us.