When speaking with a locksmith things can get confusing and... well, wordy.  We have created a list of terms to make things a bit easier.

Transponder Key

Any key (any type of blade) containing a transponder chip


In terms of automotive keys, a transponder is a glass tube or wedge containing a small device which sends and receives radio signals to and from a vehicle's antenna coil usually with a fixed code that is also known to the vehicle's computer

Standard Key

Any single or double sided key with cuts of specific depth and spacing on the edge(s) of the blade

High Security Key

Any key with milled cuts, internal or external, on the key blade

Tibbe Key

A key with a cylindrical shaft, hexagonal blade and angle based cuts

Tubular Key

Tube or pipe shaped key with cuts around the end

Flip Key

A unit with a blade fixed to a spring assisted swinging mechanism engaged by a button or switch much like switchblade folding knife


Used by gm in the late 1980's up to 2004 in certain models, this ignition system used a simple black resistor pellet of fixed resistance on the blade of the key which matched the resistance value known to the vehicle's computer


A device using radio waves to remotely control a vehicle's power lock, anti- theft, and immobiliser system

Proximity Key

A device that allows a vehicle to be started with a push button or twist knob inside the vehicle with inserting anything into a physical ignition lock.


A device usually with remote keyless entry functionality, that has no metal key blade but still must be placed into some port or slot and turned to start the vehicle

Key Code

A numeric or alpha numeric code assigned to a vehicle at the time of production used to cut physical keys for ignition, door, and other locks in the vehicle

Pin Code

A numeric code assigned to a vehicle at the time of production used with programming software to program keys, remotes, or some other module into a vehicle's security system

Code-Cut Key

A key cut by key code (not duplicated) that bears exact dimensions within parameters specific to the type of key for a given vehicle

Remote Head Key

A key with or without a transponder that has a remote attached to the top of the key

Ignition Lock Cylinder

Metal lock containingg springs and wafers or pins mechanism where a key is inserted and turned to start a vehicle

Ignition Switch

Usually made of plastic, located around or behind the ignition lock cylinder, this switch is connected to wiring going to the vehicle's computer