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Types of Car Keys | Forensic Significance and ExaminationMarch 28, 2021 - BY SIFS India

Types of Car Keys | Forensic Significance and Examination

Vehicle keys are also called automobile keys which are used to open the doors and/or to start the vehicle/automobile.

The typical key has some basic parts such as the bow part (upper region), blade part (middle region), grooves, and tip (lower region).

Types of Car Keys

In general, there are eight different types of car keys namely, the basic car key, the remote control car key, the transponder key, the flip/switchable keys, the smart key, the master key, the valet key, and the VATS key.

The following are discussed below: 

The Basic Car Keys

Oldest key which seems to be a very simple metal key and is inexpensive. These keys are without an anti-theft device therefore it is easy to copy or replicate. The owner of these types of keys increases security features by installing an electronic fob and sort of security alarm which ultimately prevents the theft of the vehicle. 

Basic Car Keys


The Remote Control Car Keys

These types of keys are equipped with some sort of remote unlocking device. These keys are usually battery operated and have a button on the fob, which disable the car’s system. The IR signal sends a coded message to the car for the function to perform. 

Remote Control Car Keys

The Transponder Keys

These types of keys contain an electronic transponder chip in the head fob of the key. These keys are operated by triggering a radio signal which sends a code to the car’s computer. The keys are expensive and difficult to copy therefore it is considered one of the safest keys in the market. 

Transponder Keys

Flip/switchable Keys

Works the same way as other car keys and are manufactured in such a way that the key gets folded away inside the fob when it is not in use. They generally consist of a programmed transponder chip as they are only developed for new car models. 

Flip or Switchable Keys


The Smart Keys

Similar to the transponder key and more advanced than other keys. The car with smart keys has a series of antenna which detects the presence of a smart key. The smart key system is equipped with an IR beam that communicates with the car’s computer.  

Smart Keys

Master Keys

These keys are not so common. In case the master key is lost, the whole engine management system needs to get replaced. 

The Valet Keys

Specially designed to open the locked doors and initiate the car. It does not allow to open the other parts such as seat backs, trunk, and glove box as it has an RFID chip which inhibits access to other parts of the car. 

 Valet Keys

VATS Keys (Vehicle Anti-Theft System)

These keys are equipped with resistor chips embedded in the blade which provides additional security features. The resistor chip has 1 of the 15 values and is nearly impossible to replicate the chip. 


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