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.


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.

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

  1. Have you tried enough times? It took me 7-8 attempts to get the timing and the steps right. Maybe you opened the door or inserted the key one too many times. Otherwise, it’s possible that this will not work for your vehicle.

  2. The valet key cannot be copied into a master key. It’s purpose is to allow for a limited use of the vehicle. Allowing it to be copied would pose a security risk.

    I think you’re out of luck on this one. Maybe you could attempt to disable the anti-theft module?

  3. Why wouldn’t the valet key start the engine? The Valet key is for everything but opening compartments in the vehicle. My Valet key opens doors and starts the vehicle.

  4. Thanks for pointing out my mistake, I’ve updated the above comment to reflect your correction. Still, I’m pretty certain you cannot make key copies using a valet key but I’ll be happy if anyone proves me wrong.

  5. From experience, it takes many tries to get the timing and the steps right.

    Otherwise I’ll change the wording in my post to reflect that it might not work for all models. Should you encounter a technique that works for your car, I’ll be happy to add it to this post.

  6. My car is a 2004 Toyota Senita. This vehicle came with three keys, the master and two another. The master key is the only one that can start the engine. The others can only turn on the radio and open the door. I have now lost my master key. Can I programmed my the others key to start my vehicle.

  7. That’s odd as normally, I think cars come with two master keys and only one valet. Sadly, I think you’re out of luck but given the cost of replacing your starter system or having another key programmed for it by the dealer, trying to code in a new key with your valet is probably worth a try.

  8. This worked perfectly for my 2007 Toyota Highlander…thank you! Any chance you have the proper steps to program a new remote? I’ve found other steps that haven’t worked ..insert twice, open/close twice, etc…didn’t work. Your method worked immediately for the key. Trying to see if the same process might be adapted for the fob. Thanks in advance!

  9. 2009 Rav4 never seems to want to enter “programming mode”. I tried about 15 times, but the stupid red light just keeps blinking. Anyone else experience this? And did you ever work it out? Or did you have to go to the dealer?

  10. When I try this, could it possibly lock up the car so the master key doesn’t even work? I just want to be prepared. Thanks!

  11. Have tried this method for my 06 Avensis, got into programming mode ie solid red light, and once new key inserted light is flashing but have waited up to 5 min and the light doesnt stop flashing. Any ideas? Thanks

  12. Hey Matt. The RFID chip in the key you bought might be bad or does not fit you vehicle type, maybe you should try purchasing another one?

  13. If you watch this video, he says you have to do the key and door sequence within 30 sec or it will not go in program mode.

    How to Program Toyota Transponder Chip Key: 4Runner, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Sienna, Rav4, etc.

  14. I had a 2004 Highlander and I can get in the programming mode followed your procedures but When I insert the new key to be program, the light will not stop flashing and it also flash at a different pattern than normal, that is 2 short blinks following by a longer blink instead of the normal blinking at a constant interval. I was wondering if there is a maximum number of transponder keys the car allow to have and what that number is. It will be nice to find out what that code means. Anyone??

  15. Same problem as Alan with a Rav4 2004. Can get the car into programming mode but the light blinks in a different pattern – 2 short and a long. Any ideas would be very welcome.

  16. followed your procedure and light went out as described first time, great. What about the remote locking and unlocking buttons, these do not work as yet? thanks

  17. Took a while but got there in the end – Rav4 2004 – Read online there are A and B chips and the security system will only allow so many of each one to be added. Ended up buying a different chip {B one} and it worked straight away. Fob programne for remote locking worked but had to tweak the instructions I had and hold button/s for 5 seconds at the end of the steps instead of for one flash of the red light on the fob.

  18. On my third attempt I succeeded to make the new key for MR2 Spyder, 2003 to work! Thank you so much for the help!

  19. Thanks for the instructions, worked perfectly; now have 2 original masters, a Valet key, and a Spare.

    For the people who are “stuck” with only valet key, and possibly with *no* valid key, I remember reading that with a copy of Techstream software (Toyota’s dealer diagnostic & programming software) and proper OBD connector -which you can buy on Amazon & eBay- you can wipe the existing keys from the car’s programming, and enter new MASTER keys.
    I wish I could remember where I came across this info, but too long ago. Hope this helps someone.

  20. Do you know how to program your valet key into a master key after wiping all existing keys from the ECU?

  21. My system light blinks when I am driving and stays on when I turn off my car after the locksmith made me a new key today because I lost mine. I don’t know what to do? It was never doing that until she made my keys. Does anybody know what I should do? I have a Toyota Corolla 2009.

  22. The difference between a valet and a master is that the valet does not open the trunk/glove compartment. In that sense, the encoding of the key does not matter, it’s the teeth pattern that will. I might be wrong though.

  23. Pls o have a 2007 Toyota Corolla but the red light doesn’t stay on after the key steps and doors steps

  24. When I bought my 2006 Toyota Corolla CE it had the master key and a transponder key that had been programmed to start the engine with no problems.

    The mistake I made was talking the battery out of the transponder key to change it, sadly I left it without a battery for too long. I didn’t realize that taking the battery out for a long period of time wiped the programing clean.

    So with your information above using my transponder key will this theory that you have mentioned make it work again. Thank you.

  25. I’m actually surprised that your transponder key stopped working because it was left with it’s battery out. Normally, they do not have any memory in them, it’s the car that remembers which key it’s supposed to work with.

    One theory would be that your key is actually defective.

    That being said, there is no harm in you trying the above technique. Let me know if you’re successful.

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