Ohio's first Acura Dealer

Master Keys, Valet Keys and Immobilizers…Oh My! Part Two of Anti-Theft/Security Systems


This is the second part to our anti-theft article. All newer model Acuras come standard with “smart” keys.  Each key has a small transmitter embedded into the body which is specifically paired to your Acura, and only your Acura. This system is called the “immobilizer system” and it prevents any key that has not been pre-registered to your Acura from starting the engine. You may be reading this and thinking “well all that sounds great but what does it mean for me?”

If you’ve ever lost a key or accidentally locked your keys in your Acura (very hard to do, but possible!) then you may already have a pretty good idea of the process, what’s involved on your end as the owner and how long it usually takes.  There are two main scenarios which I’ll cover below:

The first scenario is you’ve locked your key inside your Acura and you still have possession of a master-key you’re just unable to get to it, or maybe you just want an extra key cut. This is usually the easier and less time-consuming of the two scenarios. It doesn’t take as long or cost nearly as much if you still have access to at least one master-key because we can just add another key to the car’s “list” of keys. Also, sometimes it’s possible to bypass programming the new key’s transmitter because it is not used when physically using the key to unlock the door. Just ask your local Acura store to cut you a “blank.” A “blank” is a bodiless key that can be cut to match your Acura’s key lock and used only to physically lock and unlock the door. This key won’t start the car and it won’t deactivate the car’s alarm so you’ll have to make sure the master-key is in plain sight or easily accessible in order to silence the alarm.

The second scenario is you’ve completely lost all master keys to your Acura and have zero way of transporting the vehicle. The fix can be a fairly time-consuming process because in order to make new keys we not only have to physically cut a key but also program the key’s transmitter to match up to your specific vehicle. We also need the vehicle on site, which usually means a tow-in. If you no longer have access to at least one master-key we have to perform an “all keys lost” which involves de-programming the previous set of keys and reprogramming a completely new set of keys. When this happens NONE of the original keys will work with your Acura so if you happen to stumble upon them down the road they will only manually lock and unlock the door, nothing more.

We at Acura Columbus hope this article helped answer any questions you may have had about anti-theft or having keys replaced and remember not to lose your keys!

Happy driving,

Acura Columbus


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