What is a key fob?
More than likely you have seen this term thrown around when you’re looking for replacement car keys from your search engine results. So instead of having to take an educated guess or just never finding out what the term refers to, I will ask and answer the question for you. What is a key fob?
A key fob is the remote that communicates with your car to perform certain vehicle functions. It is also commonly referred to as key-less entry. These key fobs have become very popular as just about all modern cars come with a stock remote of some kind. While there are subtle differences in design and functionality between these key fobs, most of the remotes perform the same functions. These functions include: unlocking and locking the car at a distance, popping your cars trunk, some models even allow for remote starting of the engine. The purpose of all of this is for convenience to the consumer.
The way this all works is through the transmission of a unique code from the remote to the vehicle. When you hit the unlock button on your key-less entry remote, or key fob, the remote sends out a unique code to your vehicle. If this transmitted code from the key fob matches the code in the vehicle receivers memory, then the car performs that function. It’s this unique code that keeps other peoples remote entry devices from being able to access your vehicle. It is also why the vehicle is able to perform more than one function, as there are different codes for different receivers.
How is this any different than a transponder chip?
Well the answer to that is they perform different functions. A transponder chip works to tell the vehicle electronically that it is the correct key trying to start the car. This is for security purposes, making it much more difficult for would be car thieves to drive away with your vehicle. A key fob performs the functions stated earlier in this post. Now you might be wondering, what does that mean for cars that allow for remote engine start? With that function the cars engine starts while you are at a distance (more than likely inside your home or office), but the transponder still needs to communicate with the car in order for the car to be driven away. If you do not put the transponder key in the ignition after a specified amount of time the car will simply shut off. You can also shut off the vehicle with the key fob as well. For security purposes the car also remains locked until you hit the unlock button.
There is no denying that keys are getting more and more sophisticated. They add to our security, convenience, and just plain look cool sometimes. And don’t think you are limited to the use of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) key fobs. There are many aftermarket key fobs that you can purchase for your vehicle. If you think you would like an aftermarket key fob, just remember you’re either going to have to learn how to program it yourself or pay to have it done for you.