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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As you may know, the Mazda3 has a built in security system that utilizes a key with an embedded transponder chip that is read by the car's ECU when you start the car. The ECU is programmed to accept only certain transponder codes. If a key's transponder is not registered with the ECU it will not allow the car to be started.

This is a system that Ford has developed and has so far proven very effective at reducing auto theft, while there is nothing that will prevent a determined, prepared car thief from stealing a car system like this make it nearly impossible to start a car by hotwiring or breaking the ignition.

Mazda North American Operations seems to think that their customers are complete idiots and are incapable of wiping their own nose. They don't include instructions in the owners manual for programming additional keys yourself, instead they instruct you to go to your dealer to have new keys made & programmed. As some forum members have experienced some dealers have wanted over $100 to make & program new keys.

Luckily my last car was a Ford Focus with the same transponder key system, Ford I guess has a slightly better opinion of their customers so they provide instructions for key programming in the owners manual (which I retained in PDF format). I decided to take the risk and attempt to use the Focus key programming instructions to program new keys for the 3.

First I needed a compatible transponder key blank cut physically to match my car's ignition & door locks. My local locksmith doesn't carry the blanks so I had to go to the dealer. The guy at the parts desk warned me that they needed to be programmed but when I told him I was going to program it myself he was like "ok".. 5 minutes and $23.38 later I had a new key physically cut to match my existing keys. I tested the key in the ignition and verified that while it would turn the ignition cylinder it would not engage the starter, it also unlocked & locked the drivers door so I know it's cut correctly.

Now to program the transponder, I have the Focus manual page in hand, here is the basic how-to.

Items needed:
1. 2 pre-programmed transponder keys.
2. 1 new transponder key

The timing is critical to this procedure, please read through the entire procedure before attempting.
Procedure:
1. Insert one of the pre-programmed transponder keys and turn the ignition to "on", leave on for at least one second (I wait until the red key symbol in the instrument cluster extinguishes), remove the key from the ignition.
2. Within 5 seconds insert the second pre-programmed key and turn the ignition to "on" for at least one second but no more than 5 seconds (use the key symbol for this as well) then remove the second key.
3. within 10 seconds insert the new key in the ignition and turn the ignition to "on", if you are successful the red key symbol will illuminate then extinguish after about a second.

If you are not successful the red key symbol will flash repeatedly to indicate that you have inserted an invalid key. Remove the key, wait a minute and try it again, it took me a few times to get it perfect and I had done it before.

To see the applicable pages from the Focus owners manual see
this page

The new key cost me less than $25, the dealer even physically cut the new key for free.

I STRONGLY suggest that EVERYONE go out and get at least one spare key made & programmed for their 3. If you lose one of your two original keys and don't have a spare you won't be able to make any new keys (as you need to programmed keys to program more) and will need to go to the dealer and have them re-program the ECU.

EDIT: This deserves a STICKY!!! (Dinu)

Edit: We now have reports that this procedure also works with the Mazda6.

Edit 2: Now we have reports that this procedure also works for both 2005 and 2006 Mazda3s


Edit 3: Now we have reports that this procedure also works for the Mazdaspeed3 as well as the 2007 Mazda3.

Edit 4: Youtube video for programming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyzWguejp2o#ws
 

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Awesome discovery! I wonder if Mazda uses that procedure to "program" the new key? If so, what a rip off!

Do you think the procedure would work with only one programmed key? I had to give one up for the remote start install...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No it definitely won't work with only a single key, you need to have two as a security precaution, so your valet can't make a copy of your key while you are eating dinner or whatever.

By "give up" a key, what did they do? Did they somehow embed the key, or the transponder part of it in the car so the remote start would work? If so you could probably get any trnsponderless key cut corrently to work.
 

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Yeah, they embedded the key in the dash for the remote start. I don't know if they used the whole key or just part of it, but I'm out 1 key. I bet if I got an unprogrammed key from the dealer, I could use it in conjuction with the remote start b/c I don't have to actually engage the engine with the remote start (i.e. I just have to turn it to "on")
 

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I'm pretty sure that they embedded the whole key in a imobilizer bypass module. What you would have to do is get a new key made at the dealership, AND find out where in your car the installer put the bypass module, because the module itself contains inside your key. Hopefully this makes sense. The only reason I know is because I am getting an alarm installed in my 3 in a few days, and am hoping I will have enough time to head down to my mazda dealership to get a third key before they bury my key into the dash.

Question for everyone...

Has anyone else tried this method of programming a key yet? Just wanted to be sure it works for more than just one person before I buy a new key.

Thanks
 

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I just did that...and now I feel like I can leave my car without being afraid someone will break into it. I have NEVER trusted factory alarms...and having a back up battery in my old car saved my car from being broken into, which factory doesnt have.
 

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well i did pay extra for the alarm from the factory the KARR system, that has low jack system on it sorta, the kill switch where once the alarm has gone off, even with the ORIGINAL preprogrammed key you cannot start the car unless you know how to "reset" the alarm. plus dont they have the etchings on multuple parts of the car? I remember i had to go back to the dealership to get a few more etechings put onto my car,

anyways i need a third key just in case, i usually always try and use a third key rather than my originals so yeah i will go and get this done....thanks!
 

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it sounds like you have an aftermarket alarm - it's not "factory" just because the dealer installed it.
 

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This definitely works, I bought my cut-to-match key (unprogrammed) and used the how-to-guide and I drove around a few blocks to make sure nothing was wrong.

Here are a couple of tips when you purchase the key (for those jerk parts salesman who give lip when you buy an unprogrammed key)

1. Tell them you want to keep a spare door/trunk key around.
2. Or...you lose keys frequently
3. Or...Mazda was stupid to charge competent people $100 to program a
key, when they can do it themselves for free.

Either way, money is money, and they will sell you the key regardless.
Also they will try to get you to pay too much for the key. I paid 24.33 at Autobarn in La Grange, IL. When I first called, the guy said it was 35, no discount. Then I called back 30 minutes later telling him i called around and others are offering 24-26 for the key, cut-to-match. He then coughed and agreed on 23+tax.

Try that if at first they try to fleece you on a key. 35 is way too much.

Hope this helps.
 

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For anyone getting a remote start. The extra key does not have to be cut. As a matter of fact, you are safer if it is not cut. Why leave a perfectly good key in your car all the time? The extra uncut key can be programmed using the above mentioned procedure except the blank would be inserted ito the cylinder and the remote start would power up the ignition for the last step. Just tell your installer it programs just like a Ford key.
 

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Can I go to a Ford Dealer to buy a blank key to be used on my 3? I have a feeling that Mazda dealer will sell the same parts more expensive than Ford.

Philip
 

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I called 3 dealers in San Francisco area and all wanted $35 to $39 to cut a spare key. A speciality locksmith had the Mazda key for $35 and he even programmed the key for me. He did exactly the procedure as described and it's working fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
killer23d said:
Can I go to a Ford Dealer to buy a blank key to be used on my 3? I have a feeling that Mazda dealer will sell the same parts more expensive than Ford.

Philip
Possibly, the Mazda3 key looks just like my old Focus key with a Mazda logo, but I have no idea if the transponders are compatible,
 

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The procedure worked great - first try. Was planning on getting two spares but changed my mind when they were CAN$43 (inc. tax) each. Even the parts guy asked if I needed two at that price.
 

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I've done it too. Saves money and gives piece of mind having that third key. Thanks Raitchison
 
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