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Replacing Motorcycle Keys from scratch

Making motorcycle lost key replacement when all keys are missing, lost or stolen can be a lengthy process. If your bike has an immobiliser or Engine Control Unit (ECU), physical access the ECU is needed to obtain the data required to program your new keys to the bike. Many bikes made in the last 10-15 years have immobilisers, but this varies greatly between makes and models. If your bike does not have an immobiliser, you are in luck. Creating new keys is much simpler and cheaper process for you.

Many riders of newer motorcycles are unaware of what is involved (and the cost) in making replacement bike keys from scratch. Read on for details of the process, using an example of a job where a bike’s keys were stolen from their home. Unfortunately the burglar then had the keys and knew the address of where the bike was located. In this case we created new keys from scratch and also rekeyed the ignition (ie changed the lock) so that the stolen key could not turn in the ignition or start the motorcycle.

Click here to get in touch with us today. If you need a motorcycle key replacement, you’ve come to the right place.

The process

Removing the ECU

Firstly our mobile car locksmith need to locate your bike’s Engine Control Unit (ECU) and remove it from the bike. Often the ECU is tucked away somewhere in the bike and can be difficult to remove. Sometimes this step requires other parts of the bike to be taken apart in order for us to access the ECU. This is a major part of the job and can be quite time-consuming if the ECU is hidden deep within the bike. In the case of the stolen key, much of the front of the bike had to be pulled apart.

Once we have removed the ECU, we access the electronic board inside it in order to obtain information from your bike about it’s key and programming codes.

Accessing the ECU Data
Motorcycle ECU soldered for reprogramming
Wires soldered to ECU board connected to programing software

When we have access to the ECU board, we use soldering techniques to connect wires to the electronic chip. The wires connect to our progamming software. This gives us information about the key and programming a new transponder into the bike. Using this information we can then program a new transponder to your ECU. After programming, the motorcycle’s ECU recognises the chip as one of its own, and allows the new transponder to start the engine on your motorcycle.

Cutting your new key

Once the electronic work is complete, we can go ahead and cut your new key so it turns in the ignition. If the new key is going to be the same code as the old key, we can simply find the code using your ignition and cut away. By ‘same code’ we just mean the same pattern of cuts along the key’s edge. If the new key is going to be different, we can rekey the bike (ie. change the locks) to have a completely new key code. More on that below.

When cutting and programming procedures are complete, you now have a new working key to your bike! All that’s left to do it put the bike back together.

Same Key or Different Key?

It is up to you (the bike owner) whether you would like a new key to be the same or different to your previous key. Keeping the key the same means the lost/stolen key will still turn in the ignition, luggage compartment and fuel cap locks, but will not start the engine. Changing to a different key code means the old key will no longer turn in any lock, or start the engine. This is a good option if you are concerned about the lost/stolen key being used to steal the bike. With a rekey, the bike cannot be rolled away or steered, eg for easy loading onto a truck to be stolen.

Rekeying the Bike
Motorcycle ignition inside view

In our stolen key case, our client wanted the new key to be physically different from the old key. To make a key different and have it still turn in the ignition, we completed an ignition rekey. This involves removing the ignition and replacing the wafers inside the ignition in a new pattern. The result is that the old key no longer fits and therefore won’t turn in the ignition. This is the highest security option after a theft.

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