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Ask a Locksmith

Q. What is a transponder key?

A. Transponder keys are factory-made accessories that come with a car and provide for radio transmission between the car and the key. This radio transmission allows for a key to be programmed to only start a specific, individual car. This added safetly measure means that only the person who is in possession of a car’s transponder key will be able to start and drive it.

Transponder keys are sometimes referred to by the name of the system or key designer, such as Tibbe or Chubb.

Q. What is a tubular key?

A. A tubular key (sometimes referred to as a barrel key) is one that is designed to open a tubular pin tumbler lock. It has a hollow, cylindrical shaft that is usually much shorter and has a larger diameter than most conventional keys. Some motorcycle manufacturers, like Harley-Davidson, use tubular key ignitions.

Q. What is a dimple key?

A. A dimple key has a rectangular blade with various cone-shaped dimples drilled into the face of the blade at various depths. Typically the lock has 2 rows of pins that match up with 2 rows of dimples. It is common for the key to have the same dimple pattern on the back of the blade, making it symmetrical so it works no matter which way it is inserted.

Q. What is a fob key?

A. A fob key is remote keyless system (RKS) designed to remotely access or start vehicles. (Note: the term "keyless" is a misnomer since the fob acts as an electronic key.) Also known as RKE (remote keyless entry) or RKI (remote keyless ignition) keys, the fob, RKE or RKI key performs the functions of a standard car key without physical contact; power door locks can be locked or unlocked from several feet away or even from inside a building.

Q. What is a "red" key?

A. Ducati motorcycles come with a red key which: