Laser Cut Keys

It is becoming more apparent that advancement in technology for car keys comes with both benefits and burdens. Hopefully for you, you don’t actually lose your vehicle keys frequently enough to where the burdens outweigh the numerous benefits. Most of these benefits are based upon consumers needs for security and safety features. This is exactly what car designer/manufacturers had in mind when they implement laser cut keys into their vehicles.

What is a laser cut key?

Laser cut keys are very distinct from regular keys, so if you know what a laser cut key is you’ll quickly be able to recognize it for what it is. First, the key’s shank is generally thicker than that of a regular key. However most distinctively, rather than the key having the many peaks, valleys and ridges along the outside edge like a regular key would, a laser cut key has its cuts along the interior face of the key shank. Think of it like a river canyon weaving its way along the bottom of a ridge (wow that doesn’t help). Better yet lets just get you a couple picture. Maybe the analogy makes a little more sense after seeing it.

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The key has these interior cuts on both faces of the shank, and allows the key to be inserted into the vehicle’s ignition cylinder either way. While the outside of the key does still have some cutting and shaping done to it, its not nearly to the extent of regular keys.

What is the purpose?

The purpose behind these keys is to keep your vehicle even more safe from car theft than it already is. The key cutting machinery required for these types of keys is much more expensive, and makes it that much harder to duplicate the key. Apart from these keys being harder to duplicate, they are also embedded with transponder chips, which are programmed along with your car so that only your set of keys will start the vehicle.

Is there a downside?

Sadly there is in fact a burden that comes with these keys. They are more expensive to replace and it will be a little harder to find a professional that is capable of replacing the key for you. But it has gotten a lot better in recent years. It used to be laser cut keys were only used in higher end luxury vehicles such as Mercedes or BMW. Because of this exclusivity there were simply not many locksmiths or dealers that had the capability to replace these keys, and thus you paid an arm and a leg if you ever lost one. Nowadays you will find laser cut keys in a variety of different vehicles. Because they are a lot more common, it isn’t as hard to find a professional that can help you for a decent price. Dealerships are your surest bet to find someone able to replace your key, however a locksmith that specializes in car keys is more than likely to have the proper machinery to help you out without costing you as much.


  • Laser cut keys also go by other names as well. They are often referred to as “Sidewinder” keys as well as “Internal Cut” keys.
  • These keys are often used in conjunction with switchblades. This is where the key shank actually folds into A switch blade with a laser cut key shankthe key fob, and pops out with the press of a button.


Laser cut keys are a good example of the direction that car key technology is going. In terms of security, laser cut keys are right near the top as they are great for keeping your car safe, and exactly where you left it. While they are more expensive to replace, nowadays it shouldn’t be too hard to find yourself a professional that you can work with. Be sure to shop around, and take advantage of our tips given in our How To Guide regarding car key replacement to help you get the best price.