Transponder: noun A device for receiving a radio signal and automatically transmitting a different signal Most autos in today’s world have a transponder chip in the key—from Acuras to Volkswagens—depending on the year, make, and model. It’s hard to tell from key to key, especially the older ones. A locksmith can determine if your key has a transponder in a few ways. First, by looking up the year, make, and model from reference books. Second, some locksmiths have an electronic reader that they can place the key into. Third, most locksmiths can just take a look and know from experience. The proper method, without doubt, is the first mentioned—looking in the reference books. To determine if your key has a transponder, you should consult a locksmith or dealership. Did you know that transponder keys are very sensitive to water, magnets, and age? The transponder is a chip about the size of a pinto bean. Transponder keys come in many forms: remote-headed to flip-keys to proximity keys…they can even look like a normal plastic-headed key. In fact, the plastic-headed key is the most common form of transponder key. It can look like a non-transponder because the chip is molded into the plastic head and a remote for the locks is separate. *Note: transponder chips are part of a completely separate system on a vehicle than the remote (locking system) which means that they do not share/are not linked together through the vehicle’s computer. One last thing: if you only have one key to your vehicle, I would recommend getting copies made right away. With a working chip key, it will save you lots of money to get a copy made compared to losing the only key you have. I know, I’ve made many vehicle keys with and without chips because of lost keys. The cost difference will surprise you beyond belief. Check with your local dealer and locksmith to compare.