If there is one thing about my new truck I don't like, it's the key. It's unwieldy, sort of ugly, and in a world of $50,000 window stickers and keyless econoboxes, it's just plain stupid. It simply won't do. Folks like us should be able to have a hard-working truck and
a good-looking key that can take a beating.
So, as a long-time VW guy, I appreciate the flip key/switchblade key. It's clean, it's small, I think it looks nice, and it doesn't poke holes in your pocket. The one I had for my Jetta lasted 11 years and still worked fine. I replaced the battery once.
Initially, I didn't know if I could even get an extra key, so I started Googling, and Google led to eBay, and eBay led to Rugged wheel liners and, but I digress.
If you have thought about an upgrade like this you probably encountered the same issue I did. There are lots of auctions with lots of keys, and some have 2 buttons, or 3 buttons, and all of them say they work with some cars, but don't go up to 2012. The specific key I wanted was for a 4-button remote with remote start. Note: I didn't care if remote start worked, I don't think I'll use it a lot. I just wanted a switchblade key and have the main functions work.
So, I looked at the offerings, and decided to contact a seller about their key. The first person responding said it wouldn't work with my remote start remote. I sent a follow up message asking specifically if the remote would work with my truck, but the remote start wouldn't work, or if it wouldn't work at all. The response was that the key and transponder would fit all Ford models for 2012, but there was not a remote start button, so that would not work.
I went ahead and ordered the key. It was not the cheapest, at $55, but the other sellers were less clear about the key and whether it would work for a 2012 F150. (This is actually cheaper than most places will sell you a basic transponder-only key.)
I bought the key Thursday night, and received it Monday. Pretty good, considering it came from NV to MA. The key looks like a genuine Volkswagen keyfob. Holding it next to a genuine VW keyfob, I see no obvious differences. It is a quality piece. It is, however, about half a gram heavy on the back end (anyone?) because of the lightness of the Ford key. VW blades are cutouts, so they are substantial.
Here is where the fun begins. I took the key to Lowe's. They wouldn't cut it. They said they could only cut their own keys, and for $70 they could cut one. Then I went to Home Depot. They also wouldn't cut it. They said they couldn't, because they didn't want to be responsible when the new key would turn the ignition but wouldn't start the car. I told them that I could program it myself, but alas, they wouldn't come around. However, for $70 they would sell me their key and cut it. (Um, but then, it still wouldn't start the car.) They suggested I go to the dealer or a locksmith. I was rather frustrated.
As I drove home, a light came on. I pulled into Walmart, and went to their hardware department. They guy there didn't know a lot about the keys, by which I mean he didn't know that he shouldn't be helpful and refuse to cut my key. He was reluctant to cut my key in case it didn't work, but he agreed to do it. He let me play around with blanks, looked up what he thought was the right blank, and finally pulled a cutting cassette and cut a basic blank. It looked good, so I had him cut my key. I paid the $1.89 for the cut key(he didn't charge me to cut mine) and headed out.
When I got to the car, I put the key in and turned the ignition. It turned. So I programed the key:
Insert Admin Key 1: Turn to On, Turn to Off. Remove Key.
Insert Key 2: Turn to On, Turn to Off. Remove Key.
Insert New Key: Turn to On. Wait a few Seconds. Turn to Off. Remove Key.
The instructions are in the manual. Anyway, it worked.
Now, for the remote features. Insert any working key. I have read that you should have the door open and unlock all doors before doing this. Turn the key on and off 8 times finishing in the On position. The truck will lock and unlock the doors to let you know it's ready. Now, press any button on each of your keys. The horn may honk to let you know it's working. Make sure you do this with every key or else you may accidentally deprogram existing keys. You cannot add keys; you are programming all of them. Or so I have read.
Anyway, the final product(original key on left for reference):
The key starts the truck, the lock/unlock/arm buttons work, and the panic button works. I don't think that remote start works, but I am not worried about that.
For those of you interested in doing this upgrade, it works, and I think it is well worth it. Be mindful that you may have difficulty finding someone willing to cut the key, but once you get past that hurdle, this is a simple, fairly inexpensive upgrade to your vehicle, and your pocket.