How Do You Program an Auto Key?

The method to program an auto key varies depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but for most vehicles, insert the key into the ignition, and turn the vehicle on to enter programming mode. The vehicle should not start. In programming mode, press the programming button on the auto key. To find specific automobile key programming guides, visit

As a security feature, the owner must sit inside the vehicle to start programming the remote. The method to enter programming mode depends on the vehicle. Some vehicles require the user to turn the vehicle on and off repeatedly, while some models only require completing the process once. Some vehicles notify the owner with light blinks when the vehicle enters programming mode. After programming, turn the vehicle off; the remote should work with the vehicle.

To find specific guides on, select a vehicle make and model. Browse the mode years, and click Programming Instructions on the desired year. Each guide provides step-by-step instructions to program the remote. Some vehicles require special equipment to program keys. also provides a locksmith locator and alternative programming options.

Car remotes communicate with vehicle locks using radio signals. Memory chips within the car and remote allow auto keys to sync with the vehicle. Most manufacturers ship pre-programmed keys with the vehicle, but manual programming is often necessary for new and replacement keys.