Toyota/Lexus Reflashing ECMs and ECUs
Today since the used car market is thriving due to the economic melt down besides sticker prices of the used vehicles also come some other hidden prices that you can encounter. For most used car buyers this is the first time they discovered that when they go to a new car dealer, hardware or locksmith to get duplicate keys made they are educated that their key has a electronic chip in it which is called a transponder which means it is going to cost more then couple of bucks. They also might encounter that the keysmith or locksmith might not even be able to make the duplicates since they did not invest in the equipment or training. What is more depressing is if you lose all of your keys it can cost hundreds into thousands of dollars depending on the make, model and year of the vehicle. Transponder Keys were first introduced on BMW’s in 1995, Lexus started in 1997 and today most car manufacturers in the USA have transponder keys of some form on most of the vehicles that they make. Today I wish to focus on Lexus and Toyota
History of Reflashing Lexus and Toyota ECU or ECM
If you lost your keys to a Lexus or Toyota it can be very expensive.
At Neff’s Safe Lock & Security in Lancaster Pennsylvania we pioneered the process of Lexus and Toyota Reflashing Service since 2001 and have done literally thousands of Electronic Control Modules known as ECM, Electronic Control Units known as ECU which is nothing less then little computers in the Lexus and Toyota Immobilizer Systems. On the internet you will see terms like reflashing, reflash, reset or reprogram ECU, ECM or computers which all mean the same. Where the expense kicks in is especially on Lexus and Toyota models in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. These years is where you have to replace the ECU, ECM or computer because the car manufactures did not allow the transponder key (Note:also known as a chip key) to be programmed in through the common OBDII Port instead the ECU, ECM or computer had to be replaced. So in August of 2001 the Manheim Auto Auction which we serviced since 1975 was paying $2,800.00 per vehicle for lost keys for Lexus and Toyota. Bill Neff, CPP, PSP, CML founder of Neff’s Safe and Lock develop a process to reuse the ECU, ECM or computers on the Lexus and Toyota Transponder Key Systems saving hundreds of dollars for the Manheim Auto Auctions which is not only cost effective for the consumer but also mitigating toxic electronics being dump into the landfills.
Better Replacement Key Remote Shells for Lexus and Toyota
Since the inception of this ECU, ECM reflashing process Neff’s Safe Lock & Security also tooled up and manufacturers replacement shells for cracked integrated remote keys which also is a big cost savings for the Lexus and Toyota customer which in the end gets a better product because the design of the replacement remotes because a better grade of plastic is used then that on the original Lexus and Toyota remotes.
Valet Keys for Lexus and Toyota
Valet keys on Lexus and Toyota automobiles are also have a electronic chip embedded into the key head known also as a transponder key, however what makes this transponder key different from the master transponder key which usually is a integrated remote key is that the valet transponder key can not open what is called on board programming which allows to program additional transponder keys into the automobile without the use of special equipment, however the master transponder key is the valid electronic key that allows the onboard programming procedure to be performed. Without a valid master transponder key on models that were in the years between 1998 to 2002 the Electronic Control Module (ECM) had to be replace at a costly expense. There are several was to identify if you have a valet transponder key instead of a master transponder key. First the plastic of the head of the key will have a grayish color to it instead of black. Second the valet transponder key mechanically will not open the glove box or trunk and thirdly when you insert a valet transponder key into an ignition and if you observe the immobilizer security light it will continue to go solid for a second or two before the immobilizer security light goes out unlike the master transponder key when inserted into the ignition the immobilizer security light immediately goes out.
If my Lexus or Toyota Transponder Key is a Valet can I still have new keys made without replacing the costly Electronic Control Module?
They answer is yes you can get new Transponder Keys made using just the valet transponder key by taking it a locksmith that has special equipment known as a key cloner. Note not all locksmiths have invested in the equipment so it is best to call before going to their lock shop. This method is an alternative and is less expensive then replacing or reflashing the ECM or ECU. This is good method provided you still have a transponder key. If you lose all your keys then you have no choice but to have the ECM or ECU replaced or reflashed.