City Lock - Storefront Locksmith and Boulder Based Mobile Locksmiths

Call Us At: (303) 444-4407

Boulder locksmith FAQs


Ask the Locksmith: What You Need to Know About Auto and Motorcycle Transponder (Chip) Keys BEFORE You Purchase

Monday, November 16, 2009 At City Lock we get tons of folks who bring in keys and remotes from Ebay and other websites to fit and program. The only problem is there's no assurance that these items are compatible or functional. We WILL attempt to make them work, but it does not always work. There are rarely any overall savings.So, we've put together this brief guide to transponder, or "chip" keys we hope will save you some time, money, and frustration.Get the Lingo!

  • DefinitionsChip - (n.) The RFID device that is embedded into a key. This device is uniquely matched to your vehicle. When a key with a chip is turned in a vehicle's ignition, the vehicle must recognize the chip in order to start the engine.
  • Clone – (n. or v.) An electronic duplicate of a chip key. When programmed properly, its corresponding vehicle sees a clone as though it were the original.
  • Code Cut – (v.) To produce a key cut by technical specifications. We use very high-end CNC (Computer Numeric Control) type machines, unlike anything a car dealer is likely to have. We produce a large volume of keys this way for not only vehicles, but also for accurate master key production for multi-unit residential and office buildings, utility and gaming, high security locks, etc.
  • FOB - (n.) A tag. Often used to describe a decorative key tag, or a remote. Sometimes a fob and a remote are combined. Many folks also refer to it as the "clicker thing that unlocks the doors and opens the trunk."
  • FOBIK - (n.) This stands for FOB-Integrated Key. The term was coined by Chrysler to describe keys with a remote built right into the head of the key.
  • Flip-Key – (n.) A type of fob and integrated transponder key, the key blade pivots and folds into the housing.
  • Key Code – (n.) A blind number used to determine the cuts to make on a new key blade.
  • RFID - (n.) Radio Frequency Identification
  • RKE - (n.) Remote Keyless Entry

Three random, yet crucial facts

  1. The RFID chip in Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth and Volkswagen keys can only be programmed to ONE car. No "refurbished" or "recycled" key is going to work on any of these makes' models. On other makes, various chips may potentially be "recycled," but there's still a very real chance that it won't work with your vehicle.
  2. City Lock makes all transponder keys by code (see definition of "Code Cut" above). We do not just trace your old key. You get better, longer lasting keys this way, plus we supply you the key code, in case you ever lose all your keys. This code is useful when replacing lost keys.
  3. What applies to one year/make/model has nothing to do with another year/make/model. Each manufacturer has numerous systems, various chips and totally different programming methods. We at City Lock are your experts on getting it done right.

About Keys and Remotes

  • I saw keys online for cheap, and directions say I can have someone local "just cut it and program for a few bucks." Can you do that?
    Often it will cost less if you just buy the key and remote directly from us. Plus, if we sell and program these items for you, we can guarantee they will work. If you already bought some, bring them, along with the vehicle and all the existing keys. We WILL help you.
  • Can't you just make a basic copy of the key to my car without the chip?
    Sure. But if your key has/had a chip in it, a key without a chip is not going to start the engine. You'll be able to use it to unlock the doors and/or trunk, but that's it. This is a good choice for a "hide-a-key" spare, though!
  • Do I have to go to the dealer to do this?
    Nope. We have the technology and skill required to do the job right, and usually at a better price than the dealer!
  • Can the lumber store or hardware store do this?
    Some such stores will cut the key, find that it won't work without the chip, and send you to us. It is better to bring a project like this to a qualified locksmith.
  • My keys do not work well anymore. I had new ones made, but they didn't work either. Do I need new locks/a new ignition?
    Probably NOT. Copies of a bad key will work as poorly or WORSE. They can even jam up the lock mechanism, which can get you stuck. We recreate an original key on our special CNC machines, to produce a key that is original to specification. Clients are always amazed at how great everything works after we do this. We hope this helps demystify some of the technology we use to get from A to B. Please don't hesitate to call Jeff at City Lock, 303-444-4407, or email [email protected] if you have any other burning questions for the locksmith!

Additional Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you make keys?
    This is our number one most frequently asked question, and yes, we do make keys! All kinds of keys. Keys others say you cannot get, are not made or are too special! Keys for cars, keys for office buildings, keys for construction equipment, keys for motorsports, keys for thermostats, keys for the 100 year old house, keys for the brand new house. We have over 4000 different kinds of key blanks in stock.
  • Does it really matter which locksmith I call? Aren’t they all about the same?
    This could not be further from the truth! Currently, only a few states or municipalities have any laws in place to regulate locksmith businesses. Colorado is not one of them. The Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, Associated Locksmiths of America, AARP and other organizations and agencies have warnings on their websites about this situation.
  • Doesn’t the Yellow Pages check out businesses? Certainly they wouldn’t put a fake company in the PHONE BOOK!
    Phone book publishers have been rather callous, even after years of being asked and petitioned to raise the bar for advertising. They have proven they only care that an advertiser can pay for the advertisement. They will publish fake addresses, phony local phone numbers, fake business names, even imitations of real local businesses that forward calls to a national call center.  Legal Locksmiths has a place to sign petitions to help stop these fraudulent practices.
  • Really? They don’t even have to have a background check?! There ought to be a law!
    We agree wholeheartedly. Contact your state representatives to request state licensing laws for locksmiths. All sorts of resources have been assembled to learn how to select among legit companies, report abuse to your state prosecutor, and discover more when you seek a security professional.
  • Do I have to go to the dealership to get a copy of my car key and/or keyless entry remote?
    It is extremely rare that a key can ONLY be made by the car dealer. We can duplicate or originate keys and remotes for thousands of different vehicles, including those others can’t. Often we are faster and less expensive than the franchised car dealer.
  • Do I need a bike lock even though I keep my bicycle in the garage?
    In a perfect world, your possessions would be safe no matter where you left them. However, the harsh reality is thieves are getting bolder. Even if your bike is left in a locked garage, you should have it secured to something sturdy with either a heavy duty cable or even better, a good quality U lock.
  • Won’t I get a better deal on a replacement keyless entry remote if I buy it on Ebay?
    You might get a cheaper remote, but it may not be new or compatible to your car, or worse; may be broken. We’d hate for you to pay twice for something so simple. Please give us a call before you start an Ebay bidding war for a useless product! Yes, if you have already bought a remote from Ebay or some other online source, we are happy to program it for you, but can’t guarantee the key or remote can be successfully programmed to the car. We can only guarantee success when we provide the product.

  • I’ve lost all my keys to this lock/my car. Can you help?
    Absolutely! City Lock’s expertise goes far beyond making copies of keys; We make keys from scratch, too! Key origination is one of our specialties, and we use several methods to do this. We can replace your bent, broken, or lost keys for a myriad of locks including padlocks, chests, cabinets, even cars! And, if you can’t bring your car to us, we can usually come to you to make and program new keys.
  • Can't I get everything I need to secure my home at Ginormous Hardware Chain? They must have the widest selection.
    When choosing locks and fittings to secure your home, the name of the game is Quality, not Quantity. Sure those big warehouse stores have lots of square footage, filled with recognized brand names. But believe it or not, their selection is often limited with regards to quality. What you are choosing from is three or four styles of the same “builder grade” one-size-fits-all product.Most of the good stuff is produced by first tier manufacturers that do not market through the box stores at all. City Lock selects its inventory among hundreds of manufacturer offerings, not by brand, but by item. This way, we offer a wider variety of locks that are both high quality and reasonably priced. We are happy to make recommendations based on your individual needs and budget.

  • What about keys with “chips” in them? Someone told me you have to get those from the dealer or manufacturer.
    Those “chips” are RFID chips, and we definitely have them, make them and program them into your car. We can make these kinds of keys for over 95% of the cars on the road.
  • I just need a cheap lock since I only use that door a few times a week.
    "Cheap" isn't always low price. Shoddy hardware can cost you a small fortune in the longrun. We have reasonably priced products that outclass the so-called “cheap” department store locks. You do not have to pay a lot for quality.
  • Do you take Credit Cards?
    We accept Mastercard, Visa, Discover and Paypal. We also accept local checks and good ol’ fashioned cash.
  • Where can I get my weird door locks fixed?
    We service door mechanisms by Fuhr, Hoppe, GU and Baldwin on doors by Anderson, Thermatru, Peachtree, Marvin, Hurd and many others. Click here to see a more detailed list of locks we service. We like weird door locks and we’d love to hear about yours!
  • I got 3 padlocks at one store, then 2 more from somewhere else. They all use the same key. Can you match more?
    Yes, we can match more locks to an existing padlock or commercial door key, but the one you have might be common all over town. If you like, we can establish a much more unique key just for you, with the option to add more later by assembling them right here in the shop.
  • I heard about lock bumping on the news. Do you have locks that can’t be bumped?
    Bumping is about the same threat-risk as picking. A number of locks are highly resistant to various forms of covert attack. Bumping is neither as easy nor as prevalent as media has indicated, but it must not be overlooked as one of many low-incidence high-loss risk factors.
  • Do you change locks?
    When locks are not offering the security you desire, we can install locks of varying security levels, or just rekey existing locks. It is always the customer’s choice as to the level of security in which they wish to invest. Ask us to explain the benefits of various upgrades.