The night on mill is coming to a close and last call has already passed, so it’s time to hit the road. The designated driver rounds up all of his responsibilities and head to the car. When everyone reaches the vehicle the driver realizes that he has no idea of where his car keys are. The group tries to retrace their steps of the night with no reward.

The keys are nowhere to be found and its 3am, after a little pondering one of the girls in the group suggests calling an emergency locksmith. The driver is skeptical at first because he’s driving a 2002 Honda Civic equipped with a transponder key system. The driver decides that he might as well give it a try, so he calls Tempe’s locksmith for some much needed assistance. I arrive in less than thirty minutes to find five ASU students in despair. I introduce myself and the possible solutions that I have for them. They were ecstatic to hear that I would have them driving home in less than an hour. I begin every service with explaining what steps I’m going to take, to make the key and get them back on the road.

After a short conversation I begin the key by, opening up the Honda Civic and removing the passenger’s side door panel. Once the door panel is removed I’ll have access to the lock assembly which I can manually decode each wafer to get six of the 8 necessary cuts for the key. After I have the partial cuts, I use the progression method to get the remaining two cuts. After I have the cuts and the proper order, I used my HPC punch machine to produce a key that is as accurate as the original. Once I try the key in all of the locks in the vehicle for quality and accuracy, it’s time to program the key.

Programming of a transponder car key is a balance between knowledge and equipment. As an automotive locksmith technician is only a capable as his equipment and at the same time the equipment is only as effective as the user is knowledgeable. The Silca TKO is by far the most effective piece of programming equipment available in my opinion. I utilize it as much as possible, in this situation programming and replicating transponder keys is a breeze. The Honda in particular is a snap with this tool, on average these only take me about ten minutes to program. Where, an inferior system such as a discount one from China could take hours to troubleshoot.

In the grand scheme of things, critical thinking, experience and quality of equipment are the most important parts of this step. That is why many automotive locksmiths use the best equipment available. On that particular night the key was ready to go ten minutes later and college kids were on their way. As the next school semester for Arizona State University in Tempe,AZ begins, situations such as this become more and more prevalent and the need for adequately trained locksmiths increases substantially.

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