Keyless Transponder Bypass

Keyless Transponder Bypass

StarLine was one of the first aftermarket vehicle security companies in the world to introduce this revolutionary technology – the StarLine iKey technology (remote engine start via CAN-BUS) – and today is the leading provider of innovative remote start solutions based on it. There is a dedicated CAN-BUS research department at our headquarters and our engineers work tirelessly examining CAN-BUS protocols of the latest car models in order to keep expanding the list of iKey-supported vehicles.

Unlike other companies that sell it as a stand-alone product, we have the iKey technology built into all of our 6th generation vehicle security systems and come as part of the package at no extra charge!

StarLine iKey is a technology that has introduced new standards – in terms of safety, user comfort, and simplicity of installation – for aftermarket remote starters.

Learn more about StarLine iKey and its benefits below.


Is This Information Relevant To Me?
The information contained on this page will be relevant to those vehicle owners, who are interested in the engine remote start (autostart) feature, meaning that you can turn the engine on without being physically present anywhere near your vehicle. The engine can be started remotely via factory key, aftermarket keyfob / pager, mobile app., voice command, text message, browser (by logging on to your personal account at the StarLine Connected Car Telematics Network.

All StarLine 6th generation ecosystems support the remote start feature, but not all customers require its activation due to several factors.

Some customers simply don’t need / want the feature, some are put off by the additional expenses associated with it, others are uncomfortable with the level of intrusion to native wiring required to implement the feature, yet others are concerned that having the feature might negatively affect their vehicle’s security.

What Is The Remote Engine Start Feature Used For?
The most common practical application is pre-heating / defrosting the vehicle in winter months, and also pre-cooling in summer.

Those who rarely use their vehicle i.e. travellers or those who are frequently away on business, and also those who simply have a weak battery, use the remote start feature to keep sufficient charge in the battery to prevent it from discharging. When the system detect that the battery charge has fallen below a certain threshold (can be set-up and adjusted by the end user), it will trigger autostart, hence – charging the battery to keep it from going dead.

Is Remote Engine Start Safe?
For many people interested in having the engine remote start feature on their vehicle, this is exactly what puts them off installing it…
If the vehicle is stolen and recovered, and a spare key (transponder) is found inside the vehicle, there might be no insurance payout.

Also, many people assume that keeping a spare transponder within the car makes the car vulnerable and easier to steal***.

And, of course, physical bypass is costly — depending on the make/model and service provider, it can cost anywhere between GBP 70 and 500 to duplicate a vehicle’s transponder i.e. to cut a spare key containing the transponder.

*** The safety of the remote start feature will largerly depend on the quality of product as well as its installation. With StarLine, physical bypass is safe as the transponder bypass unit will only allowed the vehicle to start remotely once and will block the engine unless the vehicle’s native transponder (factory key) is detected upon subsequent acceleration.

What is a transponder, what is it's role in starting the vehicle remotely?
Every modern vehicle has a transponder built into its key / keycard, which is the key component in OEM security. A transponder is the element that prevents the vehicle being started without its native key that’s programmed into the vehicle’s ECU with a unique code that that particular vehicle’s transpoder (contained within its native key) corresponds to.

If the vehicle is equipped with the “Push-To-Start” button, when ignition is turned on and the transponder (the vehicle’s native key / keycard) is present, the transponder’s antenna reads the code transmitted by the transponder and if the code is valid, allows the vehicle to be started. If the transponder is out of range, the vehicle won’t start i.e. pushing the Start button will not result in anything. It is very similar with keyed vehicles, except the transponder recognition range is far more narrow compared to Keyless Entry cars.

Given the above, – in order to start the vehicle remotely, the vehicle’s native transponder (or its copy) needs to present every time you wish to use the feature.

What is a standard (physical) transponder bypass?
Given that a transponder (the vehicle’s native key / keycard) needs to be in range every time you wish to start the vehicle, how does one go about implementing a feature that would allow for starting the engine remotely?

Most remote starters on the market offer a generic solution in form of a ‘transponder bypass’ module, which is basically a unit, roughly the size of cigarette box, with a built-in antenna. A copy of the factory transponder (spare key / keycard) is placed inside this box and the box is hidden somewhere within the vehicle.

So, essentially, a physical copy of the factory key is kept in the vehicle, which allows for the implementation of the remote engine start feature.

What are the cons of using a physical tranponder bypass?
Security concerns:
Obviously, many people are uncomfortable with having to keep a copy of the factory key inside the car at all times.

Extra costs:
The transponder bypass unit itself isn’t costly, but it’s installation can cost between £300 – £900, depending on the vehicle’s make/model. For example, most German-made vehicles are rather complicated to work with in terms of implementing the remote start feature as it is illegal in their country of origin, and many of them will even have some form of protection in place to prevent the installation of such systems; in such cases, more additional equipment might need to be purchased, which will further complicate installation.
If a customer’s insurance company requires them to produce 2 factory keys, they will need to cut a spare one for the bypass, which translates to more extra expenses — it can cost £70 – £500 to duplicate a vehicle’s transponder i.e. to cut a spare key containing the transponder), depending on the make/model/year.

Installing a physical transponder bypass unit is relatively intrusive to the vehicle’s native wiring and various internal components such as the ignition system that needs to be dismentled in order to install a signal booster (for keyed vehicle’s) to ensure that the signal transmitted by the transponder bypass unit is simulated in a way to trick the vehicle into thinking that the key is, in fact, in the ignition. Some vehicles also require a number of resistors, relays, and other non-native components installed in order to ensure that the remote engine start feature works correctly.

For obvious reasons, insurance companies aren’t partial to remote starters that use a physical transponder bypass, and might refuse to insure a vehicle that has such a system installed.
Many companies will want to physically examine the vehicle’s existing keys and require the customer to sign a declaration confirming that they possess X number of spare keys (usually 2). If, after signing such a declaration, the vehicle is stolen, and the owner is unable to produce the X number of spare keys they had declared they had (as one of them is used as a bypass and is still inside the stolen vehicle), the insurance company might refuse a pay out. If the vehicle is recovered and a spare transponder copy is found inside, the customer might incur the same implications as if they had made a claim and received a pay out (i.e. an insurance premiums raise).

What is StarLine iKey, How Does It Relate To Remote Engine Start?
iKey is a feature that allows for ‘virtual’ transponder cloning i.e. no need to keep a physical copy of the key inside the vehicle in order to start the engine remotely.

With iKey, the remote start features works just like it does in brand new cars with the feature already built-in as part of OEM equipment. With StarLine though, the vehicle can be started remotely not only via the factory keyfob (which has a limited range – only a few metres), but also via StarLine mobile app., online – from your personal StarLine account, by voice command, text message, and 2-way pager. All of these, with the exception of the pager, work with no distance limitations.

How Is StarLine iKey Implemented?
The procedure of bypassing the factory transponder in order to implement the remote engine start feature via StarLine iKey is a one-off procedure, usually performed upon the installation of a StarLine vehicle security system, using StarLine Master (programming software for technicians).

The system will obtain the relevant data from the vehicle’s factory key / keycard as ignition is turned on. Then, it will generate a special code, which is programmed to be sent to the vehicle’s ECU every time the owner passes the command for remote engine start. A virtual copy of the OEM key / keycard is generated by StarLine software, and, on some makes/models – those particularly complicated to bypass – with the help of a remote server (StarLine CopyKey).

The procedure described above is automatic and, in most cases, takes seconds to perform.

Where do I get it and what does it cost?
StarLine iKey is a built-in feature in all of our 6th generation ecosystems and comes free of charge with every package.

The implementation of the features is also usually included in the ‘supplied and fitted’ quote provided by your local StarLine-approved technician, who will carry out the installation.

What if my vehicle is not supported for iKey?
If your vehicle is not on this list, don’t get disheartened – keep checking for updates; StarLine engineers are working hard every day to ensure that the list of supported vehicles keeps expanding.

If your car is not supported, it does not mean that you can’t have the engine remote start feature — you can still benefit from traditional (physical) bypass. Please contact us or ask your local StarLine-approved partner in the UK to recommend the best solution for your individual needs.


Regular (physical) Transponder Bypass VS StarLine iKey (virtual) Bypass For Intelligent Remote Start

Remote engine start via StarLine iKey virtual transponder bypass lets the vehicle owner keeps all the factory keys; there is no need to cut a spare copy and keep it inside the vehicle!


There are no additional expenses for the end-user that they would otherwise incur if they were installing a remote started via the standard (physical) transponder bypass, as there is no need for any additional equipment / components when implementing the remote engine start feature via StarLine iKey virtual transponder bypass.


It literally takes from seconds to minutes to implement the remote start feature via StarLine iKey technology, whether a physical transponder bypass can take hours, and, in some cases, even days…


Installing additional equipment in order to implement regular (physical) transponder bypass and get the remote engine start feature working correctly is a lengthy and costly process that involves intense physical labour, it is also intrusive to the vehicle’s native electronic components and wiring.

Using StarLine iKey involves zero intrusion to the vehicle’s native components as the bypass is virtual; it works via the car’s own – inherent – CAN-BUS protocols; just like if the vehicle had the feature built-in as part of factory equipment!


Using a remote starter with a physical transponder bypass can cause major issues with your insurance company as most view these systems as something that increases the vehicle’s risk of being stolen.

Using StarLine’s iKey virtual transponder bypass is 100% safe and will keep your insurer happy!


Since physical transponder bypass requires a number of additional components installed, the chances of this equipment malfunctioning, working incorrectly, or/and causing system errors is relatively high — especially when installed on a modern vehicle with a complicated native on-board electronics network.

Since the StarLine iKey transponder bypass technology works through the vehicle’s native protocols, it’s implementation is always smooth and error-free, and the chances of any post-installation issues arising are virtually zero!


Benefits of using the iKey technology are enormous to both – the fitter and the end-user alike. It is estimated that a fitter can save up to 160 hours annually using StarLine’s iKey technology for intelligent remote engine start for customer cars, compared to installing remote started systems that require physical transponder bypass modules.



Please visit our CAN-BUS data network, find your vehicle make/model and check for the iKey feature on the list of supported features. If there’s a dot beside “iKey” – your car can benefit from engine remote start via virtual transponder cloning!

If you need further assistance or have any queations regarding your vehicle’s compatibility with iKey, or the remote start feature in general, please feel free to contact us or approach your local StarLine-approved Partner.



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