by Pat Goss
Even the most basic parts of an automobile are becoming highly electronic. Take the lowly key for instance. They have circuit boards in them, such as we see here. Now, this one is a big one because it’s an old one, but, you know, they have all of this stuff miniaturized and it’s built into the key. Well, if you have something like this, you’re probably not going to do anything disastrous with it. But, you know, if you do, then you’re looking at an expensive replacement. Here’s a key, this is the cost of the key and programming, and yes, lots of these keys have to be programmed. But you say “I don’t have anything like that;” well, you have a standard looking key like this, well believe it or not, this key has a transponder built into the head of it, miniaturized, and it talks to the anti-theft system in the car.
All right, what goes wrong here? Well, lots of times the lock gets gummed up or maybe it gets frozen-that’s the really bad one-so you take your trusty lighter out and you start heating the key. Well, don’t do it, because that can damage the transponder and now you have to replace the key. Also, don’t soak it in water and don’t pour water down into the door trying to thaw things out because hot water can damage all the electronics in there.
What do you do? Lock de-icer, and that you simply put into the lock from the outside, it’ll thaw the lock out, then follow it by a lubricant such as this Lock-Eze which gets sprayed into the lock. Now, you do that on all the locks on the car twice a year and your locks will last longer well, that is unless you do this, because many of you have these monster key-rings with all sorts of garbage on them. You put it in there, you start the car, and as you go down the road stuff and all this stuff is jingling back and forth well, that can cause the key to wear the tumblers inside the lock and you’re looking at an expensive repair.
The only thing you should have on your key-ring is the ignition key and, if your car has one, a door key-and nothing more! Especially nothing like this this is a transponder that opens the door to the office. Well, that transponder can talk to the car before the one in your key, and you’ll have this mysterious intermittent no-start problem that nobody can find. Just the two keys on your key-ring!
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.