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Ignition Keys


Richard S
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If you don't still have the blank key code in your leather owner's portfolio, just take a key to your local Buick dealer. They were able to match up new keys for a Buick I had.<BR>Good Luck!<P>Mike Book BCA # 9202<BR>Reatta Club # 407<BR>BDE # 109

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If you put a ohm meter on each side of the key pellet metal (plastic piece with metal strip) and take a reading I may be able to tell you the VATS key code. I have 13 of the 15 VATS key codes. The codes are based on resistances. Besides dealers most locksmiths and some hardware stores can read the VATS code and make a key. I don't know of any cheap sores for extra keys. The GM dealers can also cut you a key just from the cars VIN number. This can take a bit more time and does not allways work from errors cutting the key to not the orignal lock.<P>Tom<P><BR>Tom

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Just to echo what Tom says above. Most good key shops can duplicate that key without you having to pay Buick prices. I just had a local show do one for me for a 90 corvette that has a similar "chip". It works fine.<P>------------------<BR> My Topless Reatta<A HREF="http://hometown.aol.com/drbuch2000/TheReatta.html" TARGET=_blank>http://hometown.aol.com/drbuch2000/TheReatta.html</A>

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What is the reason for the 'chip' in the ignition key? Mine doesn't have it and I had a duplicate key made at a Chevrolet dealer and it works fine. Am I missing something?

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Guest Stan Leslie

THe 'chip' is a resistor that is part of the VATS (vehicle anti theft system). Without the correct chip (15 different ones), the car will not start. I think this system is unique to the 90 and 91, since the anti theft system changed for 1990. Maybe someone with an 88 and 89 could verify that part.

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The 1988 and 89 models use standard ignition keys. In the late eighties the "Pass-Key" system was adopted by GM to enhance security and lower insurance rates on their high theft rate models (Camaro and Firebird as examples) the theft rates declined significantly for those cars so equipped, so the system was rolled out for GM's expensive models (Reatta, Riviera and Cadillacs). Your local dealer or a good locksmith can make you copies, but expect to be pay a great deal more than a standard copy costs.

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The VATS system fixed a problem GM had with the steering columns. That basic design column has been around sence the early 70's. A lot of criminals knew how to break the column quickly any easilly to start and drive the car. GM vehicels were on the top of the stolen car reports. Last report I seen the late 80's GM's are still near the top. The difference is around 1990 more desired GM cars had the VATS system then later new style columns. Some companies made steel plates to protect the column. <P>Tom

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Thanks for the info guys, mine is a 89 so that explains why mine doesn't have the chip. I learn something everyday on the Forum.

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Tom was right on with the code. Took the info to a Locksmith who made the key for $25. He bothered to point out that we should take some care with the weight of our key rings. As the car bounces around, heavily laden rings put a good deal of pressure on the tumblers. When they get sloppy enough, the VATS can lose contact and the car will stop. Haven't heard of it happening, but there is a certain logic to it.

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