What Types Of Keys Does Ford Offer?

Back in the old days, there was only one type of car key. You would only get a physical key to insert into the car door and ignition. These days, there are several different kinds of car keys.

Whether you have a Ford or you're looking to buy one, you may be wondering what type of key you could get. Ford offers several different kinds of keys:

1. Physical Key

Ford key fob

Physical car keys are what you were used to if you had a car back in the old days. They look similar to house keys. The only difference is that they're longer and they have a square or round head, usually with the Ford logo on it.

To enter the vehicle, you would need to insert the physical key into the keyhole on the car. To start the vehicle, you would need to insert the physical key in the ignition and then turn it.

If you buy an older Ford, perhaps one made before the early 90s, you'll get a physical key.

2. Key Fob + Physical Key

Ford key fob

This type of key comes in three different designs:

  1. The key fob is a separate unit from the physical key; both units are usually on the same keychain
  2. The key fob is the head, and the physical key always sticks out
  3. The key fob is a round or square part, and the physical key comes out when you press a button on the fob

The first type is older than the other two types. As Ford transitioned from the physical key to the key fob, it started out by designing the key fob as an individual unit. Next, it incorporated the fob into the head of the key. Later on, it started to design the key fob so that the physical key would come out when you pressed a button.

3. The Ford PATS Key System

How To Program A Ford PATS Key

Another trasitional key system used by Ford was the PATS key system. PATS stands for Passive Anti Theft System. Ford utilized the PATS key system in many vehicles throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. Within the key is a computer chip programmed to a particular code. Your Ford vehicle only recognizes specific codes. If someone made a copy of your key, without the PATS system, the car would not operate. 

If you have a Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury built between 1999 and 2006, the odds are likely that your car utilizes the PATS system. If you need a new PATS key, check out this post for help understanding how to program a Ford PATS key to your car.

4. Keyless Entry And Push-To-Start

Ford key fob

Keyless entry is a more modern and advanced kind of car key. It allows the driver to lock and unlock the car door without needing a physical key. As long as you have the keyless entry fob on you, you can enter the vehicle either by touching a button on the door handle or by pressing a button on the fob. Either way, this will cause one or several car doors to lock or unlock.

This type of key also enables you to start the engine without needing a physical key. In Ford vehicles, there's a button to the right of the steering wheel that reads "Engine Start/Stop". All you need to do is press that button to start or stop the engine.

Ford keyless entry fobs come with a physical key tucked away in the back. While you don't always need the physical key, it's nice to have in case your fob's battery dies or if there's another type of emergency.

Which Type Of Key Is The Best One?

Ford flex remote entry

In terms of convenience, a keyless entry fob is the best one. You don't need to pull out your key every time you want to enter your Ford and/or start it up. All you need to worry about is having the fob with you.

From a security standpoint, all three options are equal. If your keyless entry fob is stolen, anybody could enter your car and start it up. The physical key can be copied easily if you leave it somewhere that somebody else has access to it. And as for the physical key, they're usually precisely that: physical. This means that you can lose it easily or somebody else could find it and use it to open the car door or start the vehicle without your permission.

A physical key is better than a key fob or a keyless entry fob in terms of maintenance. The battery in a key fob and a keyless entry fob can die, for instance. Or you may encounter electrical issues (like we talk about over here in another Blue Springs Ford Parts blog post). You can find some troubleshooting tips for the keypad on your Ford if you have one in this post.

What Type Of Key Will You Get If You Buy A Ford?

The type of key you'll get largely depends on your Ford's age. If it was made before the early 90s, you'll get a physical key. If your Ford was made in the early 90s or later, you'll likely get a key fob and physical key. If it was made after 2010, you may get a keyless entry fob.

It also depends on the model you get. Modern higher end models tend to come with a keyless entry fob. Basic models, such as the Ford Edge, tend to come with a key fob with a physical key built in. If your Ford has an ignition, you would need to use a physical key to start it up. If it comes with a push-to-start button, you'll get a keyless entry fob.