How To Program A Ford PATS Key

Ford’s PATS key system was developed to prevent vehicle theft by using a computer chip within the key. 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.

This feature from Ford was a valuable system for many years. Still, as technology evolved, Ford moved on from the PATS key system. 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, read on as we’ll help you understand how to program a Ford PATS key to your car.

Programming A PATS Key Yourself

To get started, you should have an extra key made, and you can program it as a spare. Always good to have a different key to your vehicle. You can program your spare key at home, you use the tips down below. Otherwise, you could easily spend upwards of $150 trying to get a spare from your local Ford dealer. If you’re looking to buy a replacement key or FOB for your Ford, check out this blog post highlighting what you should know before buying a new key.

How To Program A Ford PATS Key

  1. You need to have one original key for your Ford.
  2. You’ll need a new PATS key cut to match your ignition switch.
  3. Start by putting the original key into the ignition.
  4. Turn the ignition to ON, but don't start the car. Wait until the "theft" light turns off, then remove the key. This should take about three seconds.
  5. Within 10 seconds, insert the new key, and turn the ignition to ON. Wait until the "theft" light turns off, then turn the key to the OFF position. Do not remove it.
  6. Wait 30 seconds. The key should now be programmed. 
  7. Repeat the process above for any additional PATS keys.

Note: this article is for informational purposes only - be sure to check your owner's manual if you have questions before starting the process outlined above. Remember that if you lose a key, it can be difficult to program a new key for your Ford, as you need two keys to complete a program. Therefore, it's strongly suggested you make an extra key now and program it as a spare. That way, if you lose a key, you've already got a spare that's been programmed.

If you have additional problems with your Ford key, check out this article for more help, or reach out to us directly here at Blue Springs Ford Parts! We have more than 30 years of experience selling Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury parts and we can guide you through any key issues you might encounter. C0ntact out to our team of experts at 1-800-248-7760 today!