What's the difference between laser cut keys and traditional keys for your vehicle?

Whether your car has a traditional key or a laser cut key could be the difference in the way you approach key replacement. There are major differences when it comes to traditional and laser cut keys that make it easy to tell which your vehicle has and what you would need to do should a situation arise where a duplicate or new key is needed. Let's dive in!

Laser Cut Keys

Commonly referred to as internal keys or a side-winder key, laser cut keys are known for their unique appearance. Laser cut keys are made with a constant depth down the middle, making them thicker and more sturdy in general. The indention made on the key is equally made on both sides so that the key can be inserted and the engine started no matter which direction the key is put in (this is where the internal key name comes from).

Laser cut keys started appearing mostly in high-end vehicles around the 1990's and onward. The biggest benefit to a laser cut key is the added security. Since laser cut keys are not easily made and need special equipment to be duplicated, they are harder for thieves to pick the locks, and have unwanted duplicates made.

Additionally, some laser cut keys are equipped with a transponder chip system. The transponder chip needs to be programmed to the specific car. If the proper transponder chip is not in the vicinity of the receiver, the car won't start. This security feature is typically found on high-end vehicles.

Traditional Cut Keys

Traditional keys, or mechanical keys, are made mechanically by a key cutting machine. Key cutting machines are commonly found and duplicates can be easily made at your local hardware store. Traditional keys, while still extremely common, are not the best when it comes to added security. Traditional keys feature a thinner metal cut with grooves on one side of the key. These types of keys may or may not have transponders and their locks are much easier to pick.

Replacing your keys

Replacing your laser cut keys can be difficult and expensive if you go to a dealership. Few locksmiths offer laser cut key replacement because the equipment is so pricey. Here at Cheap Lock & Key, we have invested in the necessary equipment to ensure we can service our customers properly and can save them money on laser key replacement/duplication. If you're in the Tampa Bay area, you can give us a call at (813) 545-5462. If you're not in our area, avoid being scammed by finding a local, reputable, and trusted locksmith to handle your laser key cutting needs.