Locksmith Terminology

When speaking with a locksmith things can get confusing and… well, wordy. We have created a list of terms to make things a bit easier.

- LOCKSMITH TERMS

TRANSPONDER KEY
Any key (any type of blade) containing a transponder chip
TRANSPONDER
In terms of automotive keys, a transponder is a glass tube or wedge containing a small device which sends and receives radio signals to and from a vehicle’s antenna coil usually with a fixed code that is also known to the vehicle’s computer
STANDARD KEY
Any single or double sided key with cuts of specific depth and spacing on the edge(s) of the blade
HIGH SECURITY KEY
Any key with milled cuts, internal or external, on the key blade
TIBBE KEY
A key with a cylindrical shaft, hexagonal blade and angle based cuts
TUBULAR KEY
Tube or pipe shaped key with cuts around the end
FLIP KEY
A unit with a blade fixed to a spring assisted swinging mechanism engaged by a button or switch much like switchblade folding knife
VATS KEYS
Used by gm in the late 1980’s up to 2004 in certain models, this ignition system used a simple black resistor pellet of fixed resistance on the blade of the key which matched the resistance value known to the vehicle’s computer
REMOTE
A device using radio waves to remotely control a vehicle’s power lock, anti- theft, and immobiliser system
PROXIMITY KEY
A device that allows a vehicle to be started with a push button or twist knob inside the vehicle with inserting anything into a physical ignition lock.
FOBIK
A device usually with remote keyless entry functionality, that has no metal key blade but still must be placed into some port or slot and turned to start the vehicle
KEY CODE
A numeric or alpha numeric code assigned to a vehicle at the time of production used to cut physical keys for ignition, door, and other locks in the vehicle
PIN CODE
A numeric code assigned to a vehicle at the time of production used with programming software to program keys, remotes, or some other module into a vehicle’s security system
CODE CUT KEY
A key cut by key code (not duplicated) that bears exact dimensions within parameters specific to the type of key for a given vehicle
REMOTE HEAD KEY
A key with or without a transponder that has a remote attached to the top of the key
IGNITION LOCK CYLINDER
Metal lock containing springs and wafers or pins mechanism where a key is inserted and turned to start a vehicle
IGNITION LIST
Usually made of plastic, located around or behind the ignition lock cylinder, this switch is connected to wiring going to the vehicle’s computer
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