What is a “chip key”?

A “chip key” is actually called a transponder key. Most vehicles since 1995 have some sort of security enabled immobilizer system. Some keys are very obvious that they have a “chip”, like the GM VATS key (see image 1), others can look

GM VATS Keys (Image 1)

like a regular key, but actually they have a passive chip that sends its’ ID to the vehicle’s immobilizer system.


If the chips’ ID number or code is not stored in the cars computer, the car will “deactivate” and not start. On some vehicles if the incorrect key is tried too many times it could lock the computer and will require time and/or specialized equipment to unlock the immobilizer system. Below are some pics of keys with and without transponders.

key without a transponder


Key without a transponder


Transponder Key (The circle + is reference to the transponder chip embedded in the key plastic)


If you have a problem, need a spare key, or lost your key(s) call County Line Lock & Security and we will be able to answer questions or make keys for you.