BMW transponder systems break down into 3 distinct systems, each with its own set of variations. The earliest system is EWS, which can be present on vehicles starting from 1995 and going as late as 2005-06 depending on the model. All EWS systems use regular keyed ignitions. If you have a fob or “push-to-start” (PTS) system, then your system is not EWS.
The next system that came out was CAS, which started in 2002 with the 7 series and is present on vehicles up to 2013 or 2014. This includes some keyed ignitions as well as most current fobs with PTS. Finally, the newest system out is called FEM/BDC. This is for vehicles from 2013 through the present.
Originally all BMWs with PTS (which it started in 1998) required a rectangular key fob to be inserted into the dashboard. But with the Comfort Access system, you can open the car door and start the engine without having to touch the key. All you have to do is have the key with you, and its sensors will automatically connect to the car’s computer system.
In any case, regardless of the system you have, we can more than likely help you with your key issues. And that is not something that most locksmiths are able to do. Why? Because if your BMW was manufactured before 1995, then the key has no transponder or “chip.” But newer BMWs with chipped keys have certain unique features which pose a particular set of challenges for anyone trying to work on them. If you lose the key to a later BMW which does have a chipped key, then only a dealer or locksmith with specialized equipment and knowledge will be able to make a new one.
This is because every BMW has an immobilizer, which prevents the car from running unless an authorized key is used. A few distinct generations of immobilizers have been produced for different years of BMW, each with different characteristics. When a digital key is inserted into the ignition, the chip turns on and sends an authorization code to the car computer. If this matches the code on the computer, then the engine will start. If not, the fuel system will be blocked, and the vehicle will not start. In addition, BMW uses a “rolling code” system, which means that each time the key is used, a different code is sent to the engine for added security. Because of these features, making a new key requires advanced diagnostic tools which only a dealer or locksmith are likely to have.
Perhaps you want a spare key in case you lose your primary one, or maybe you share your BMW with other family members, and you want everybody to have a key of their own. Maybe your existing key is lost or damaged. It might even have been stolen since thieves often target BMWs! But whatever the situation, we do BMW keys for all makes & models, including chip keys, fob keys, smart keys, and remote head keys. Or maybe you just need to get a new key. We can provide one and program it for your vehicle.
And of course, we can do more than just keys. We can solve many programming issues, including but not limited to CAS or EWS replacement. We can also do DME (the car’s main computer) replacement or re-synchronization, steering lock repair, as well as other security-related programming issues.