What is a Key Fob?

What is a Key Fob?

A key fob is actually the common name for a fob.   Key fobs are security devices that transmit an electromagnetic signal, usually radio, sometimes infrared.  The receiver picks up the signal to be used for security, keyess entry, remote start, and other functions.  Key chains, remote car starters, garage door openers, and keyless entry devices on hotel room doors are also called fobs, or key fobs.  The products in the categories above are only the key fobs for factory or dealer installed keyless entry systems in cars and trucks.

History of the Phrase: Key Fob

Today key fob is a word used to describe pretty much anything that attaches to a personal chain. This is because the term originated from watch fobs, which are ornaments that attach to a pocket watch chain. The term has been in use that way since at least the 1800s. In the 1950s onward, advertising items that attached to car key chains were called key fobs. When remote keyless entry systems arrived on the scene, their remote controls were called key fobs.

About Our Key Fobs (Replacement Keyless Remotes)

At Remotes And Keys we sell new, professionally re-manufactured, and used OEM factory key fob replacement keyless remotes. Some antiquated keyless remotes are not able to be completely re-manufactured because the replacement cases & button pads are no longer made. This is the only instance where we sell a used keyless remote key fob.  The product's page will state it's condition.

Key Fob Programming

Most classic key fob keyless remotes are self-programmable via step-by-step instructions that we include free on our programming blog. A mojority of key fobs for vehicles newer than 2010 require special equipment for programming (use our local locksmith locator.) If your locksmith has any trouble performing the programming call us with your locksmith present for support.

Key Fob Guarantee

We guarantee our customers top quality products and that's why we are able to offer you no hassle guarantee and warranties on our replacement keyless entry remotes and keys.  Check the product page for the coverage length of the items you are interested in purchasing.  Our team works diligently to ensure our top of the line products so our customers face the minimum possible issues. When it comes to electronics, there's always a slight chance for a defect. That's why we have the guarantee in place to protect you in the unlikely event a key fob remote is defective.

Transponder Keys

Your chipkey contains a transponder chip inside the key head. Transponder is a combination of the words transmitter and responder.   The reason cars use transponder key systems is because it helps to deter auto theft.  As car theft was continuing to increase in the 1980s, VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System) key systems were introduced which made it much harder to steal vehicles.  General Motors was the first US car maker to introduce transponder immobilizer security.

Transponder Key Operation

These days, vehicle immobilizer systems consist of a transponder key, the induction coil (antenna ring) around your ignition, your car's computer (ECU or ECM - Engine Control Unit / Module), and the immobilizer.  When a recognized key is put in the ignition and switched to the ON position, the induction coil sends radio waves to the key's transponder. The transponder chip is designed to get energized by that energy and transmit it's identification code to the antenna coil which is sent to the immobilizer or ECU to process.  If the key's identification code matches what the vehicle has been previously programmed to recognize, then the vehicle won? be allowed to start. The car's security LED light will de-illuminate when the key is accepted.  If the security LED light flashes or stays illuminated, then the car thinks that key's code is not an accepted code.  An automotive locksmith can solve this issue.

Transponder Key Programming

Some vehicles have onboard programming procedures, meaning the keys can be programmed without special tools or technology once the key has been cut to work the locks.  Other vehicles are somewhat onboard programmable in that they are onboard if they meet some restrictions.  For example, some vehicles can add keys when one existing working transponder key is present.  That key is used to enter programming mode and then the new key is put in to get programmed.  Some vehicles require two working keys to add more with an onboard procedure.  Finally, some vehicles require locksmith scan tools and software.

Integrated Key Fob Transponder Keys

Separate key fobs and transponder keys were the norm until the late 1990s when a new design came out - the remote head key.  Its both a key fob and a key because instead of the transponder key head just being a plastic housing for the transponder, now it became the housing for the transponder and the key fob.  It was desirable because it took up less space and less keyrings.

Then two things happened at about the same time, proximity systems with smart key remotes as well as flipkey remote key designs became popular.  The flipkey is a more ergonomic design than the remote head key because the key blade folds into the remote and takes up less space in one's pocket.  The smart key enables drivers to take advantage of keyless access, meaning the doors unlock as the driver approaches and doesn? need to use the remote or key to enter or start the vehicle.