VATS Keys

Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS) Keys

Lock N More has a wide range of VATS keys available. We’ll come to you to replace your key on the spot.

GM VATS Key - Car Key Showing VATS Resistor Along Key Shaft | Lock N More

What is a VATS Key?

The VATS key is an early security car key. Before auto manufacturers included high-level computers in their cars, some manufacturers used VATS keys on their luxury cars to make them more secure. These are not electronic keys like the current transponder or smart keys, but they did use a clever system to increase security in those vehicles. Basically, a VATS key is just an ordinary flat metal car key that has an electrical resistor embedded on the shaft of the key.

How Does a VATS Key Work?

Cars with VATS keys (think 1980s Corvettes and Cadillacs), have a device called a VATS module under the dashboard. This device reads the value of the resistor embedded on the key shaft. When the VATS module sees the correct value on the key resistor, it allows the starter and fuel pump to work. If the VATS module doesn’t see the correct value, it shuts down those components so the car will not start.

What Happens if My VATS Key Stops Working?

Because VATS keys are found on older vehicles, it is not unusual to have one fail. Generally, it is a wear issue. Since the resistor is going in and out of the ignition lock, over time, the parts of the resistor that stick out get worn away, and may no longer make good contact with the reader from the VATS module. When that happens, it’s best to replace the key.