Most everyone has grown up with keys, including car keys, that are cut in the traditional way. The guy at the hardware store takes your existing key, puts it into a machine next to a blank key of the same type and the mechanical cutter follows the contours of the existing key to make a perfect copy. It’s a fast, easy and typically cheap method of automotive keys duplication. It’s also a process that is potentially problematic for exactly those reasons. Because anyone who comes into possession of your traditional keys only needs a couple of minutes and access to a hardware store to make copies. In the late 90s however, a new type of key came on the scene and has been gaining in popularity ever since: the laser cut key.
Laser Automotive Key Cutting
Laser cut keys are cut by, you guessed it, a laser. But they’re not just traditional keys cut using a more precise method. They’re a whole another style of key altogether that both looks and acts differently. Rather than having the familiar notches cut into the top of the key, laser cut keys typically have a winding depression of constant depth cut into the body of the key down its center line. The result is a key with a very distinctive look that cannot be reproduced by the guy at the hardware store.
For Laser Key Cutting Services in Calgary Call us @403-313-7882
Which Car Key Duplication Method is Actually Better?
While there is something to be said for the convenience, familiarity and affordability of traditional car key cutting methods it’s a process which, as we mentioned, is not without its potential drawbacks. But what about laser cut keys? Are they any better or safer? Let’s compare the two and see if we can’t come to some conclusions.
Advantages of Laser Car Key Cutting
Laser Cut Keys are harder to copy
This is the most obvious advantage of laser key cutting. If you happen to leave your keys somewhere that someone else can access them they won’t be able to slip out to the hardware store with your keys for a few minutes and make copies. Instead any would-be thief who wanted to make copies of your car keys (so he can come back at a later time and help himself to your car) would likely have to go to the dealer or to a registered professional locksmith to obtain copies. And that isn’t going to happen unless they can prove the key is theirs in the first place.
The door locks are harder to pick
With traditional keys a skilled car thief would not have too much trouble picking the lock on your car door. That won’t happen with a door that’s designed for a laser cut key. The internal mechanism into which the laser cut key slips is extremely complex and does not have any of the easy-to-snag and manipulate components that a traditional lock has. Essentially, even the most experienced car thief could work on your laser cut key locking mechanism for hours and not gain entry to your vehicle.
They’re programmed for your vehicle
Most keys made with the laser car key cutting method have transponders in their head. This transponder cannot be duplicated by just anyone and is programmed to communicate specifically with computer in your ignition system. Your car dealership will be able to program a new transponder for you. But they’re going to charge you a lot to do so. Most professional locksmiths in Calgary can also program a transponder. But, as with making copies, they are not going to do so unless the person asking for the transponder key programming copy can prove they own the car. Therefore, even if someone were able to obtain a copy of the key and use it to open the door and gain entry, they would not be able to start the car without a copy of the transponder as well.
For Transponder Key Programming service in Calgary call B&W Locksmith and Auto @403-313-7882
There is no chance someone else can use their keys to start your car
It wasn’t too long ago that you could take a car key for one car and insert that key into another car that was a similar make and model and get it to start up. It wasn’t common but it was possible and car thieves were sometimes able to drive away with cars using this method. That will never happen with the laser cut automotive key duplication method. Each key is completely unique to its vehicle.
Disadvantages of Laser Car Key Cutting
The disadvantages of laser automotive key cutting are pretty much the flip side of the advantages.
- It’s harder to obtain a copy. So if you want to provide your son or daughter with a copy of your car key you’ll have to jump through some hoops to do so.
- If you lock your laser cut keys in the car it’s going to be harder to open the door and get your keys back.
- If the transponder malfunctions you won’t be able to start your big, fancy car.
Advantages of Traditional Car Keys
While it’s tempting to think that new is better, that’s not always necessarily the case. Traditional keys have their upside as well and here are a few of their advantages.
They’re easy to copy
If you want to have an emergency set of backup keys around the house in case you need them it’s easy to copy traditional keys. Likewise, if you want to give a set of keys to another family member. A few minutes at the hardware store and you’re good to go.
It’s easier to unlock your car
Should you have the misfortune of locking your keys in your vehicle gaining entry to the car isn’t too tough with a traditional key and lock setup. You might even be able to pick the lock yourself. And even if you can’t, the locksmith who shows up to help you will have your car open in no time.
To make your car unlocking service easier call us @403-313-7882
There’s no transponder to malfunction
The great untold downside of laser cut keys is transponder malfunction. You can have the most beautiful, state-of-the-art vehicle on earth but if the transponder chip in your laser key is acting up that car isn’t going anywhere. While it doesn’t happen all the time it does happen on occasion and can be extremely inconvenient, not to mention frustrating and time-wasting.
What does it cost to copy or replace a traditional key in Calgary? A few dollars at most? Getting a copy made or replacing a laser key with a transponder, however, is likely to run you something in the neighborhood of $150-$200 and even more in some cases, depending on the car. That’s a big difference.
So Which is Better?
When it comes to which type of car key duplication is better each has their upside and downside. These days it’s hard to find vehicles in Calgary that still use traditional keys, but they’re out there. Which type of car with which type of keyed entry you choose will depend on which of the following is more important to you:
- Are you concerned about security first and foremost? If so, then a car with a laser key system is probably what you want.
- Is convenience your primary concern? If so, there is no substitute for the convenience of a traditional key.