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International Automotive Technicians Network
Swapping Key Blades from old Key Fobs
Posted to Technical Tips Forum on 6/16/2014 20 Replies

These 2 tips apply to the square "switchblade" style laser-cut key fobs used on newer GM cars and trucks. Mostly Global A vehicles like the Terrain, LaCrosse, and Regal.

A customer comes in and wants to buy a new key fob, his old one is damaged. At first we were special ordering them, and turnaround was a week or two. These came with the key already cut, so they just had to be programmed to the car. Now we stock them, with a blank key blade, as shown here.

uncut key blade

I'm told the key machine to cut these keys is $10K or more, only one dealer locally has one. We were sending porters to this dealer and paying to have the keys cut. Then someone realized the key blades are removeable, they are held in with a small roll pin.

drive out roll pin to change key blades

So you can simply swap the old key blade to the new fob by carefully driving out the roll pin using a small pin punch.

Second tip: These vehicles use a high-security immobilizer system, key fob is an important part of the system. If you read SI, to add a new key fob, you'll need to have access to TIS2web and go through a 30-45 minute immobilizer process of learning a new key fob to the vehicle. We discovered that the old transponder method of starting the car with a working key, turning it off and immediately starting it with a new unlearned key *works*. Big timesaver. So the tip is, don't install the roll pin right away. Insert the old key fob with cut key blade *loose* in the fob. Start the car, turn it off, pull the fob only, insert new fob onto old cut key and start the car. Fob is learned, now insert the roll pin to hold the old key to new fob.

Robert from Florida

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