If You Own A Car You Better Know This!
Do you own a GM or Chrysler vehicle? If so, like many millions of people you probably purchased the vehicle thinking all would be wonderful. Well like many folks have found out the hard way life is not always a bed of roses. Most people don’t think they need an extra key until they need an extra key. Now days, most people don’t have the money for an extra key and it’s usually the last thing on the list of priorities. What does this have to do with General Motors and Chrysler?
Most modern vehicles have what is known as a “Key Code”. This key code helps to determine the cuts of your key (the mechanical part of the key). The other part of making the key is programming the transponder RFID code transmitted by the chip in the key into the vehicles computer. There are a few ways to determine the mechanical cuts of the key for various vehicles. In the past and today too, locksmiths were able to either call and get a key code from a 3rd party company or use special tools to decode the locks and get the key cuts.
Most older vehicle locks require special tools for decoding the tumblers since many did not leave the factory with key codes. One good thing about the older cars is they do not have transponder systems, but this can be bad too as these vehicles can be started without the key by breaking the ignition and getting it to turn. Newer vehicles also have special decoder devices but making the key in this manner really drives up the cost. A few years ago GM and Chrysler stopped providing key codes and pin numbers (Chryslers) to 3rd party companies. They are still available if the locksmith has a membership to NASTF (National Automotive Service Task Force) however the code costs make the key cost as much as decoding the lock.
Bottom line, in an emergency, when you have lost your key if you have the key code and the pin number (Chrysler/Dodge) you can save yourself as much as $100-$200 on replacing your lost key. Depending on where you are and what time it is when you want to have the key replaced this can really relieve the pressure on your pocketbook. Although codes are still available for other makes and models of vehicles through 3rd party code companies, it is only a matter of time before all auto makers will require codes to be purchased through NASTF. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to have your key code and pin number (if necessary) if you own a vehicle period. To be an NASTF approved member the vetting process is extreme. Approval requires a background check, no criminal records, and a positive fingerprint and notarization of all documents. Couple this with code cost and you end up with a costly emergency expense.
How do I get my key code and/or pin number? Go down to the parts department of the dealership with your license and registration and ask them for it. Lately, the dealerships have become wise and started to charge for the code and/or pin, but the charge is minimal for what I like to call Key Insurance. If your GM is a 2016 or newer it will also require a pin number to program the key.