This is the first of a two-part article on key programming. Depending on how wordy I get the series could expand into three parts.

Before tooling up for factory programming, if anybody had told me 20% of my workload would be security related, plus replacing and programming keys, I’d have asked what they were smoking. Key replacement and initialization requests seldom came our way at Motor Works. This was fortunate because our answer would have been the one thing you never want to tell a customer, “I’m sorry but we don’t do that here.” Further explanation on the perils of saying no is undoubtedly not necessary.

Maybe it is a function of the famous quotation from the movie “Field of Dreams”; “Build it and they will come.” Indeed, the key replacement and programming requests have come and multiplied.

Security work and key programming, in particular, has several hurdles one must overcome to avoid the dreaded “No” word. These include the need to have:

  • Factory diagnostic and programming tooling, and/or
  • Factory “Like” diagnostic and programming tooling, and/or
  • A dedicated key programming tool
  • Access to key and security pin numbers
  • A source for keys and remotes
  • Support for the occasional problem
  • Optionally, registration with the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), to obtain inclusion in the Locksmith Identification (LSID) Registry as a Vehicle Security Professional (VSP). Man, there ought to be a law about using that many acronyms in the same sentence.

Factory Diagnostic and Programming Tooling


There is not too much to say here. If you’re reading this article, you either already have a collection of factory scan tools or are considering it. Factory tools are the only certain way to turn “No” into “You Betcha we can” when it comes to security work and key replacement/programming. If you want to be a consistent hero, factory tools are the answer.  

Factory “Like” Diagnostic and Programming Tooling


Key programming is available in limited degrees in the new breed of factory “like” scanners now available. Hearing about the strong capabilities of the Autel line of scanners, I recently consulted Louie Nelson, President of Advanced Training Systems, Inc. and Carquest Technical Institute trainer since 1999. Authors note: I have trained personally under Louie’s steady hand, and consider him an automotive mentor, friend and one of the brightest minds in the automotive industry today.

Louie has personal experience with the Autel Scanner, using it to programming keys for Fords, Hondas, and Nissans. He remarks that the Honda programming abilities of the Autel tool are amazingly faster than the factory Honda equipment.

Louie also wants me to pass on the tin foil “Top Hat” trick for getting cars with new ignition switches started and moved to where programming can take place. This will come next month.
Those readers interested in the many abilities of the Autel scanners can call the AE Tools staff for an enthusiastic and knowledgeable discussion…913-856-6678.

The Autel MaxiSYS Elite is a premier aftermarket scan tool. It can also program keys for Fords, Hondas, Nissans and more. Receive a quote for the Autel MaxiSYS Elite, click here.

A Dedicated Key Programming Tool, The Advanced Diagnostics MVP Pro:


Let’s face it, factory scanners are expensive. I currently can’t name a single top shop or mobile tech who can justify the expense of the many factory scan tools needed for lower volume marquees like the Subaru SSM, Mitsubishi MUT, and others. J2534 devices will not perform Subaru and Mitsu security and key programming. Cloned units exist, but programming with a clone is a great way to “brick” expensive ECU’s.

Motor Works can't justify a factory Mitsubishi MUT scan tool, but the MVP Pro quickly makes us look like heroes on this Diamante.

Motor Works can’t justify a factory Mitsubishi MUT scan tool, but the MVP Pro quickly makes us look like heroes on this Mitsubishi Diamante. Receive a quote for the AD MVP Pro, click here.

So how do you push the “You Betcha we can” envelope? Motor Works uses a dedicated key programming tool, the MVP Pro by Advanced Diagnosis. Sold and supported by AE Tools the Advanced Diagnostics series of programmers provides key, transmitter, and immobilizer services for 33 different vehicle manufacturers.

Just a few of the functions the Advanced Diagnostic Key Programmers provide are:


  • Programming of OEM and aftermarket keys and transmitters (fobs)
  • The ability to pull hidden pin codes
  • Read and clear fault codes
  • Pictures of diagnostic socket locations
  • An overview of the general operation of each manufacturer’s security system.
  • Extensive website services including technical information, forums, online pin code services, and training videos.

You can get details about the MVP Pro on AE Tool’s website here.

More information is also available on the MVP Pro at the Advanced Diagnostics website here

Are the MVP Pro’s services 100% complete, no. Does the MVP-Pro on rare occasions mention the need for the factory scanner, yes. But, for an aftermarket tool, its abilities and coverage are amazing. Motor Works considers it a key tool (yes, that’s a pun), in our inventory.

Well, like Einstein, I’m running up against the cosmic realities of space and time, so I must close here. I look forward to continuing this article next month.

Thanks for stopping by.

See you soon,

Marty, out-

P.S. Try to watch this and not laugh.

P.P.S. What kind of articles would you like to see from Marty? Any topics of interest? Click Here to submit your recommendations.

P.P.P.S. If you’re not on the email list yet, you should be. Just enter your email below.