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Your Immobilizer Expert


In the past, starting a car engine was simple. You got into your car, turned on the ignition, the engine roared into life, and off you went. Sadly, this ease in starting a car led to increased car theft.

So, to avoid this, manufacturers developed secure technology, including a range of sophisticated security immobilizer defenses to be used against thieves to protect your vehicle.

Table of Contents
What is an immobilizer?
How does a car immobilizer work?
What is a key programmer?
How to choose a key programmer?
Autel IM608 Pro, the top-ranking car key programmer of 2022
The drawback: High cost
Final thoughts
FAQs about car key programming

What is an immobilizer?

An immobilizer is an electronic security device fitted to a motor vehicle. Its main function is to prevent the car engine from being started unless the correct key (transponder or smart key) is present. 

An immobilizer ensures that the person behind the wheel is the rightful owner. In case of doubt, the immobilizer immobilizes the vehicle by stopping the engine from starting.

How does a car immobilizer work?

The following infographic gives a clear explanation of how a car immobilizer works:

Infographic explaining how a car immobilizer works

However, this technology does have its downsides.

Although increased security against theft is a good thing, obtaining a replacement car immobilizer in case of loss or theft can be very costly and time consuming.

This is where key programming comes in.

What is a key programmer?

A key programmer can reprogram a preset blank chip into a new car key that suits the current settings of your vehicle. With it, a car owner can replace their car key within minutes — as opposed to having to wait for the new key to arrive.

How to choose a key programmer?

Choosing the right key programmer can be frustrating, as there are so many options on the market.

This could leave you wondering which to buy and what features and specifications to look out for when comparing key programmers. To make this post there are 5 criteria to consider:

1. Capability

Efficiency and capability are two of the most important features in a key programmer.

The ideal key programmer must have all the functions needed by a professional vehicle locksmith for a variety of vehicles. Additionally, it should be multipurpose, with a full list of diagnostic capabilities and features. This is very useful for diagnosing mechanical issues when it’s time to make repairs. After all, everybody wants the best possible value for money.

2. Compatibility

It’s important to ensure that the chosen key programmer is compatible with different car manufacturers. It can be very disappointing to find that the purchased key programmer only works with certain vehicles.

It’s not possible to do everything needed in a busy workshop with one device, but having one key programmer that works with as many vehicles and car manufacturing companies as possible can help.

3. Ease of use

The ideal key programmer gives you the best of both worlds by providing multiple functionalities while still being easy to use. This means there is no need to be tech savvy.

A user-centered key programmer will lead to a direct fix and eliminate guesswork. In addition, it provides quick access to tests through a highly intuitive user interface that’s simple to learn and operate.

4. Specification

Choose a key programmer that has a modern design while delivering great performance. Ensure this is the case by choosing a key programmer with the following features: 

  • An advanced operating system that can manage repair jobs smartly and conveniently. 
  • A larger display to allow for easier and faster interpretation of the results. 
  • A powerful battery that guarantees an extended period of use.

In a nutshell, the ideal key programmer needs to be backed up by superior features that ensure the work goes smoothly.

5. Updatability

A key programmer should be updated regularly in order to keep it up-to-date and maintain compatibility with newer vehicles.

Manufacturers in the automotive industry continue to make technological advances to create vehicles that provide a more reliable driving experience. Therefore, your key programmer must be updated to maintain compatibility with new developments and so handle every type of key programming task — whether for the latest European, Asian, or American vehicles on the road.

There is a rich array of key programmers on the market, available in a wide price range and with different functions. Today’s top choice is the Autel IM608 Pro, a phenomenal key programmer with everything needed for modern key programming and automotive maintenance.

Let’s explore its features.

Autel IM608 Pro, the top-ranking car key programmer of 2022

The Autel IM608 Pro, designed for key programming experts

Ultimate key programming & IMMO services

Programming, scanning, and testing are all covered by this key programmer:

  • Increased ease of use, including for PIN/CS access; all keys lost; key generation & learning; and remote learning & activation.
  • Improved accessibility, including for IMMO ECU reset/adaptation; IMMO ECU refresh/coding; IMMO restore; and IMMO ECU data back-up.
  • If you require chip reading, writing, or encryption capabilities, this key programmer offers read/write transponder data; ECU/MCU/EEPROM data (e.g., 9S12 encryption chip); IC card; and detect remote frequency.
  • It stands apart from other key programmers thanks to its all-in-one automotive diagnostics function: from comprehensive OBD2 tests to advanced coding, relearns, resets, all system scans, and actuations.

Strong worldwide vehicle brands coverage

The IM608Pro is compatible with 80+ car brands across different world markets, meaning huge coverage and compatibility.

To name a few:

  • VAG Passat (read engine 6 bytes via OBD); Audi IMMO V A4/A5/A6/A7/A8 and Q5 (make dealer key); A6L/A7 (all keys lost via OBD); VW/Audi MQB (VDD&JCI) (all key lost);
  • BMW CAS4/CAS4+ (key programming via OBD); EWS4 (dump mode key programming); CAS4/3/2 (key learning); FEM/BDC (key learning and ECU adaptation);
  • Benz 3rd Gen. IMMO (add key, all key lost, key learning); Benz (infrared key read/write);
  • Volvo (semi-smart key all keys lost via OBD, smart key & fob programming, write key via dump); Ford/Mazda (all-model key learning, bypass PIN code);
  • Chrysler (key learning, bypass PIN code); Renault (all keys lost via OBD, bypass PIN code); 
  • Land Rover 2015+ (write key via dump); Fiat (make dealer key); and more.

Visit the Autel website to check if your vehicle is compatible.

User-oriented & guided

The Autel IM608 Pro’s features and coverage are impressive enough, but its user-friendly experience takes it to a higher level. The Autel IM608 Pro anticipates your next move by guiding you through every step you need to find the solution, while helping you avoid the steps you don’t need. 

Its unique “Smart Mode” takes work out of your hands and handles automated key learning, making it perfect for beginners and training.

Alternatively, “Expert Mode” can be used for advanced key learning with quick access to the desired functions. This is the best option for those with more experience and the pros with more complex needs.

The Autel IM608 Pro, designed for key programming experts

When you run key programming on an unfamiliar vehicle, the Autel IM608 Pro’sBuilt-in Database Guidance” provides all the key information, including chip number, key frequency, key type, and the maximum number of keys supported by the vehicle. This allows a workshop to maximize its resources and it can even be used as a teaching tool.

2 years of free software updates

The most groundbreaking aspect of the IM608Pro is its ability to stay up to date with modern vehicles. The updates include bug fixes and adding more vehicles to its compatibility list. Updates are free for 2 years.

This greatly increases the value of your investment, as there is no need to buy the extra functions or tools to maintain compatibility with more recent models and unpredictable markets. In addition, as the key programmer connects to Wi-Fi, updates can be chosen easily without the need for a computer connection.

Another great aspect of the Autel IM608Pro is that, unlike Snap-On or Bosch tools, it does not need to be continuously updated in order to function.

Full package for decent key programming

Through its IM608Pro, Autel has raised the industry standard once more — delivering ultra-convenient specifications for locksmiths who demand powerful performance. 

Autel’s fine-turned Android 4.4.2 KitKat allows for a boot-up within seconds, as well as multitasking functions. It also works with the extraordinary Samsung Exynos 6-core Processor (1.3GHz + 1.7GHz), which boosts the speed of programming and diagnostics.

The thin, light, tablet-style design offers an ultra-crisp 10.1” (1920*1200) LED touchscreen, making it sensitive to your every gesture and providing optimum viewing. The internal 2GB RAM & 64GB onboard memory are a great plus for better performance. Additionally, a 15,000mAh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery is installed, enabling up to 15 hours of worry-free, continuous operation. Finally, thanks to its wireless scanning and Wi-Fi connection, you can stay connected while working from anywhere in the service bay.

The drawback: High cost

The quality and functions of the Autel IM608 Pro are all set to top-notch standards, which means a highly professional tool with a high price tag — the price is upwards of $2,000.

If you are a non-specialist individual looking for a simple IMMO service tool, the Autel IM608 Pro may be too much for you. However, most of its features are highly beneficial for experienced locksmiths and automotive mechanics, as well as garage owners.

So, if you fall into the latter category, do not let the price deter you. It may be pricey, but you will find that in the long run, it is worth it.

Final thoughts

If you are looking for the TOP key programmer on the market, you can’t go wrong with the Autel IM608Pro — particularly if you are a professional locksmith who handles all types of vehicles.

If you just want to protect your car from theft, however, more affordable (yet still reliable) IMMO service tools are available. So, be sure to check out specific product reviews on websites, such as YouTube, or Amazon.

FAQs about car key programming

Is it safe to program a new key to my car myself?

As long as you are armed with the right knowledge, programming a new key for your car by yourself is an option. It should be noted that the programming process may be less complicated if you have an Asian car, or if the car is equipped with an early-stage IMMO security system.

How long will it take to program a new car key?

The whole procedure can take between 2~30 minutes, depending on the vehicle make, model, and year of production. 

If working on a complex IMMO car, it would be advisable to have your local locksmith or dealer work on it for you.

How much does it cost to program a key?

Your local locksmith or dealer could charge you from $60 to $120 to add new keys, depending on the complexity and manufacturer of your car.

It can be more expensive to reprogram a new key if all the original keys have been lost.

Why are some key programmers integrated with diagnostic functions?

Diagnostics functions are necessary for locksmiths. Some of these include: 

  • All System Scan: Gives you a picture of the car’s health status, meaning no major issues will interfere with your key programming.
  • Module Coding & Sync: Ensures all systems are communicating properly for successful key programming.
  • Pre-Scan & Post-Scan Report: Provides evidence should anything go wrong with the car while key programming.

Which car key programmer is an ideal choice?

The ideal key programmer is the one that has strong vehicle coverage, as well as being an all-round box, excellent for key programming, vehicle diagnostics, and ECU decoding.

All these features can be seen in the Autel MaxiIM IM608Pro. 

So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

Check out the following link to see more of the Autel MaxiIM IM608Pro.

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by LenKor Tech independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

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