Today’s newer GM vehicles utilize a PassKey theft deterrent system. Also sometimes called ‘plus key’ because of the little ‘plus’ symbol that is engraved on each key blank. Most times, an owner has two sets of keys that work in the doors and ignition of their car or truck. These would be considered ‘Master Keys’. The theft deterrent system knows these keys and corresponding password that each of them send. When a person loses their keys, or has the unfortunate luck of having their keys stolen, new keys and a learning procedure are required.
This has been happening quite a bit lately at the dealership. Even just today I had to repair a vehicle that the keys were lost on. The ‘old’ way of relearning the theft deterrent was to attempt to start the car, or in some cases just turning the ignition on, and then waiting for the theft light to go out. Then repeating that procedure another two times. Now, with 2010 and newer GM models, that will not work. A customer with some mechanical knowledge that could usually do this kind of repair or relearning at home has no choice now but to have their vehicle towed to the dealership so a technician can do the job.
With these newer models, the vehicle actually has to be hooked up to a GM server where the theft deterrent is relearned through the programming application used by GM technicians. This will tell the theft system to learn a new password from a new key or keys after the programming sequence is done. This also helps if a person’s keys were stolen because the old keys to the car become inoperative, at least in the ignition. They will not start the car because the old password has been erased and replaced by the new key’s password.
This ends up basically resetting the whole system like it was when brand new. Luckily, if you still have an original ‘master key’ you can add new keys will little effort. You just need to start the vehicle with the original key and then immediately start it again with a new key. When the car is started with a known good key, the theft systems knows it must be legitimate and will allow non-learned password keys to start the vehicle within a few seconds of the good key. You can do this multiple times if you want 3 or 4 keys to your vehicle, which isn’t a bad idea since the expense can get high if you lose them.
This kind of repair does get costly! These ‘plus keys’ run anywhere from $50 to $100 each plus getting the key code from GM which is another fee. Then you have the labor to reprogram, usually about an hour or so and probably another $100 or more. So you can see, two lost keys can end up costing you over $300 to get replaced and reprogrammed, and don’t forget a tow bill too!
So keep an eye on your keys!!
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