[telecom] Lost Key? Copies From the Cloud

Lost Key? Copies from the Cloud

> A company is placing kiosks in New York-area 7-Eleven stores that will > allow people to make car keys without having to go to a car dealer. > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > This has little to do with telecom, but I've been making do with a > single car key for years, and I sometimes think it's the best way to > prevent locking my key in the car. I make it a habit to look at the > key in my hand /before/ I close the door! > I could get a copy made, but I can't stand the thought of paying > over $200 to do it. So, and if anyone finds a car key attached to a > car remote control ... > Bill Horne > Moderator

The TV stations here in Oklahoma City have been running warnings in the last day or two to make sure you never have your keys where they can be photographed by anyone else because crooks can have your keys duplicated this way and use them to break into your house or steal your car.

Wes Leatherock snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com snipped-for-privacy@aol.com

***** Moderator's Note *****

TV stations love to hype one-chance-in-a-million bugaboos: the average thief will just break a window and be gone before the police can respond. As my dad used to say: "Locks are to keep honest people honest".

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Wes Leatherock
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If it's an electronic car key a photograph isn't going to be enough to make a working duplicate. I found this out when I had a key to my Ford Windstar copied at a hardware store. It opened the doors just fine, but it wouldn't start the engine. I ended up paying $200+ to have a duplicate made at a Ford dealer.

I assume the key has some sort of RFID transponder embedded in the handle.

Neal McLain

Reply to
Neal McLain

Indeed, that's often the case with modern car keys. But it turns out there's a cheaper alternative to get dupes.

Our own car uses a similar key. The local dealer used to charge $45 for a dupe, which was annoying, but not too horrendous. An independent key shop had a sign that they could now do "smart car keys" so I asked them, but they wanted... $125 or so.

- Friends of mine using keys from other companies tell me horror stories of that $200 fee you described.

However... there's an alternative for at least some of these.

To my amazement Wal-Mart, in the automotive section, has a key duping service. They had a price of (something like) $35 listed for "smart keys".

I had them copy my car key and it almost... worked. (The ridges didn't quite cut exactly right so it worked ok, in one position..., for the ignition and could be jiggled, again in just one position, for some of the doors).

They said the one I brought in was a bit worn and that if I could find a cleaner one, so to speak, they'd try again. (No charge for the bad one).

So... while some people don't like Wal-Mart, I'd suggest that it's a-ok to dislike your car dealer for taking advantage of you and for you to try the cheaper alternative.

Reply to
danny burstein

The "modern" style of these has a small electronic module that contains the RFID device and remote lock transmitter. If you take your key apart to change the battery, you'll have to pull the module out to get to the battery (which is just a standard CR2xxx). My new car, which has keyless ignition, allows the physical key to be separated from the transmitter, rather than having a separate valet key -- the transmitter is the only part required to operate the vehicle, with the physical key only being used to lock and unlock the trunk and glove compartment.

I haven't yet seen whether there's an issue in areas with high incident RF, but I've had rental cars before with keyless ignition and haven't noted any particular problems.

Well, it shouldn't actually be possible to duplicate the electronic portions of the key -- if the car companies have implemented it right, which I doubt they have. The way it's supposed to work is that the dealer (or locksmith) gets a brand new key, cuts it for the physical bits, and then runs a special rekeying procedure on the car itself to tell it to recognize the new key (and which driver number it corresponds to, for cars that have driver-specific settings). This procedure generally requires at least one of the factory-supplied keys to be in working order so that the new key can be authorized, but of course that's not always possible so there must be some sort of backdoor built in for factory-authorized service technicians. Presumably they can always reflash whichever control computer is responsible for managing this function.

There have from time to time been citizen initiatives in various states, generally described as "right to repair", that would force car makers to give the necessary reprogramming information and blank keys (and/or cryptographic material, if they've done a competent job) to independent service shops -- which the makers don't want to do for fear of misuse.


Reply to
Garrett Wollman

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