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What is the CHEAPEST way to add Toyota smart keys?

September 28, 2018 by 3635OBD2  


There are optional solutions to make new keys to Toyota with Techstream software or some auto key programmers. Some by the dealer, some diy. Here, you will get the cheapest way to make it.


The Options

A.) Pay the dealership.

This was quoted at ~$400. I called 2 local dealerships (I’m in the GTA) and was quoted 2 different prices, with the second dealership referring me to an agent (which I had previously found online).

B.) Pay an agent / locksmith

This was quoted at $250 but I’ve only found 1 so far. I was told it was an OEM part and would have 6 months of warranty. Any referrals in the GTA would be much appreciated.

Edit: After a number of calls, the cheapest I could find was $180 and $200.

C.) Partial DIY

I see that I can buy the Smart Key online for about $110 and bring it to a dealership or agent/locksmith to have it programmed into the car. I was quoted $50 by the dealership. Any referrals to purchasing OEM Smart Keys online would be much appreciated.

Edit: This option can be very highly “YMMV” as each dealership’s policy may differ regarding used keys (some may do it, some may do it but fail, and others may opt not to do it at all)

D.) Full DIY

If you have a laptop, Techstream software, a connecting cable, and the Smart Key, you can DIY. Its unclear whether the “Ignition Key” portion can be DIY with Techstream (someone please clarify). If you cannot, this seems to defeat the benefit and would seem more beneficial to pursue the Partial DIY option above.

The Techstream software is referred to as $20 or less on the obd2 shops like http://www.obdexpress.co.uk/wholesale/cheap-mini-vci-single-cable-for-toyota-26728.html ($20 around to get “Techstream” and “Mini VCI”)

The website for Techstream shows a subscription model with varying options. I’ve looked at few posts in the forums but overall am lost on the full DIY option.


Confirmed possible! Requires a SEED code calculator which is another $15 for 1 code.

E.) Ski-Mask Approach

According to this post: https://www.rav4world.com/forums/96-4-3-general/185994-scary-news-smartkey-owners.html, all this can be avoided for the low low price of $17. (joking)


The cheapest should the fourth solution: full do it yourself to make a new key.


Here is the how-to’s for reference.


You should have:


Smart Key: The circuit board # inside the to-be-programmed Smart Key matches your existing key(s).

Techstream: You should be able to run the program without an error appearing. There is typically a manual step to have the program launch properly (modify IT3System.ini, “TISFunction = 1” to “TISFunction = 0”)

MVCI Cable: When you plug it into your PC, you should hear the iconic “ding” sound. If you don’t, it would suggest a lose connection (I experienced this and had to open up my cable to get it working). You should also launch the “XHorse Firmware Update Tool” (it comes with the cable’s drivers) and click “Device Info”, which will confirm whether it can communicate with the cable or not (for this check, it does not need to be plugged into the car, only to your PC)


Here you go…



Once you have everything ready to go, start your car and launch Techstream. Leave the driver’s door OPEN for the entire duration.

Click “Connect to Vehicle”

Note: As the procedure I’m running through takes about 20 minutes total, its recommended to have the car running to ensure the battery doesn’t drain out. If you can’t start the car, its mentioned in other bulletins to have the car hooked up to a backup battery

Techstream should automatically detect your car (mine was a 2010 RAV4, ignore the details in the image, its just for reference), except for an option or two (I had to indicate “/w Smart Key” functionality and that my car was “2WD”)

After a while, you will arrive at the System Select page. I suggest you copy-paste your VIN# to Windows notepad so that you have it handy later (applicable for used Smart Key registration only)

All of the ECUs will be yellow. You can click “Health Check” to have Techstream go through each of the ECUs and determine its status, which takes a few minutes and will change their colour. If you decide to skip the “Health Check”, you can still click on the individual ECU you’re looking for and it will read only that specific ECU (you’ll be waiting a few seconds instead of minutes, its basically the same as the “Health Check”, but only for that ECU).



The ECU I needed was labelled “Smart Key” (2010 RAV4, if your vehicle differs, so may your options)


Once in there, select “Utility” on the left-hand side and you will arrive at this screen.




Now, if you had a NEW Smart Key, the process is relatively straight forward. You can simply click on the “Smart Code Registration” option, which there are 2 of. Both options work, the Classic is older and has less explanations, while the new one has more text and is more user-friendly.

The steps basically consist of; 1.) only have 1 Smart Key in the car at a time, 2.) first start with the Master Key (existing key) and tap it on the ignition button, 3.) remove the key (more than 1 meter from the car) and bring the NEW Smart Key inside, tap it on the ignition button. 4.) Place the NEW Smart Key on the passenger seat until prompted otherwise. 5.) Done.

All of the steps need to be done within 30 seconds of each other, as indicated on the screen (there will be a counter counting down).


The only option that appears to work is the “Smart Code Reset” function. I tried a number of different things but I couldn’t get the used Smart Key to register under any of them except this one (which requires a SEED code, $)

Within the “Smart Code Reset” function, you will arrive at this screen.





You can click on the “Get Pass-Code” button, which will take you to another screen that allows you to copy the 96-digit SEED code (the first one doesn’t seem to let you copy, despite being able to click on it).


Do not close the Techstream window that has the SEED code displayed (the first one).Techstream generates a new SEED code every time you enter the function, so if you close out of it, you lose that session. If you re-enter it, a new SEED code will be supplied and any SEED passcode you received from a calculator will be useless (you can’t re-open a previous session).

NOTE: While you may read in Techstream that its recommended to avoid having wireless devices such are cell phones or your PC’s WiFi on when registering Smart Keys, I had my laptop with WiFi turned on for the entire process and didn’t encounter any issues or interference. With respect to supplying a calculator with your VIN# and SEED code, I would highly recommended that you do all of it through copy-paste instead of manually typing. This would help you avoid any unintentional typos (as that would end up costing you money for a new SEED passcode).

You now need to go to one of those “calculator” websites I mentioned