How are keys cut to code?


Quick Answer

A locksmith cuts a key to code by using references and specialized machinery to translate the code to a series of numbers that correspond to a specific sequence of cuts on the working edge of a key. This process differs from copying a key, in a which a machine makes cuts by following an existing key's profile. A key made from a code is effectively a new, original key, indistinguishable from one provided with the lock.

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Full Answer

If an existing key is worn, then a copy of it incorporates any imperfections, resulting in a key that may not work well in its lock. Cutting a key to code provides the owner with a key that operates the lock as originally intended. The owner can also use this new key to make accurate copies inexpensively.

A manufacturer assigns a unique key code to each vehicle. A vehicle owner typically can find his key code in the car's original owner's manual, on a tag or card supplied with the key, on a plaque inside the glove box door, on the outside rim of the lock keyway, or stamped on the original key. Alternatively, an authorized dealer can enter the vehicle identification number of the car into the manufacturer's database to determine the original key code.

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