How to program a new Toyota transponder key

In need of an extra key for your Toyota? Avoid the dealer, they charge an arm and a leg for a simple procedure you can do yourself for free. Searching the web turned up a couple of techniques, but the one that worked for me was found in a youtube comment by user Nazareth434.

My car is a Toyota Matrix 2005 but apparently this procedure is valid for several Toyota models and years. According to the diy-time tutorial, it should work for the following models

  • 2004-2006 Camry
  • 2004-2010 Sienna
  • 2004-2008 Solara
  • 2003-2009 4Runner
  • 2004-2010 Highlander
  • 2005-2010 Scion TC
  • 2008-2009 FJ Cruiser
  • 2003-2009 Rav4
  • 2007-2008 Yaris
  • 2005 Matrix
  • 2005 Corolla
  • 2010 Hilux
  • 2005 Kluger
  • 2010 Hiace
  • 2003-2007 Toyota Sequoia (special instructions)

Diy-time also has procedures for other Toyota models. If nothing including this procedure has worked for you, don’t despair, at least your copy can open doors. Attach the key to a concealed spot under you car and save it for the “oops I’ve locked myself out” type of situation.

Procedure

First, you need a blank transponder key for your model and year. You can get one for 10$ or so through eBay or Amazon. Then, have the key cut by your local hardware store and make sure it fits your ignition lock: you should be able to turn it all the way to the start position and hear the starter going without the engine turning on. With the master key (the black key, not the valet key, which is grey) and the copy in hand, install yourself in the driver’s seat and follow the procedure carefully. It took me about 30 minutes and many tries to get the steps right as there is timing involved. Persevere and and it should work.

  1. Insert the MASTER key in the ignition 5 times, leaving it IN the ignition on the 5th time. Do not turn the key. Don’t rush that step, do it slowly.
  2. Open and close the driver’s door 6 times, leaving the door closed on the 6th time. (the two first steps have to be completed within 30 seconds)
  3. Remove the master key from the ignition. The security light should now be solid red to indicate programming mode. If it’s not, repeat from the beginning.
  4. Insert the new key in the ignition but don’t turn it. Do that step quickly as the computer only stays in this mode for a couple of seconds.
  5. The security light will resume blinking. After 60 seconds (maybe more, be patient), the light will stop blinking and turn off.
  6. Remove the new key, insert the master and turn the engine on and then off.
  7. Done! Test your new key. When you insert it, the security light should stop blinking and the car should start.

The theory

Its wrongly called programming a key but in fact, no key gets programmed by itself, its the car that gets programmed. Keys have an RFID emitter in them which outputs a unique identifier when prompted by the car’s anti-theft device’s reader upon insertion in the ignition. If that identifier is not in the car’s computer valid key identifier list, the car will not start.

What the procedure above does is putting the car’s anti-theft system in programming mode and then telling it that it should include the new key’s id in its list of permitted keys. This is done by doing a set of special steps with the master key in. If you possess the master key, chances are you are the master, but should you loose all you keys, there will be no way of starting the car again other than replacing the anti-theft computer; something the dealer will charge a lot for.

53 Replies to “How to program a new Toyota transponder key”

  1. I have tried and tried to sync key on 2007 Tacoma. Will not go into programming mode. I can get it there when programming fob. Can I use combination of methods? Help!

  2. In case this procedure doesn’t work for you, don’t get the key cut until you make sure you can do the programming. That way, you can probably return the blank key if it doesn’t work. It will still insert into the ignition lock; you just won’t be able to turn it until you get it cut.

    For the Matrix and Corolla, this procedure only works for 2005. It also works for other Toyota years and models, but not all. For instance, I was able to use this procedure to copy the key for my 2006 Scion tC. It also worked for my tC with a key from a 2005 Corolla that I no longer own, so I took out the chip and will save it to use in a key “shell” without a chip that’s cut to fit my car. Those shells are very inexpensive. I can probably also glue it to a plain metal key and be able to start the car, depending on where I put the chip on the head of the key. It will make any plain metal key work if it’s attached to some spots close to the ignition lock.

    I got this information here:
    http://www.diy-time.com/automotive/toyota/program-chip-toyota-key-remote-fob/

    It may also make a difference which way you insert the key, since it will also insert if you rotate it a half turn. It didn’t work on my first try, so I rotated the key before inserting it again, and then it worked.

  3. Thanks a lot for the link. This guy seems to have written pretty thorough tutorial. I’ll edit my post with his list of models.

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