BlueOvalTech Logo

Program A New PATS Key

Picture of the Ford PATS key with the security chip inside How to program a replacement PATS key

Please keep in mind....
 This and other how-to articles are provided for informational purposes only. Perform the procedures at your own risk. FordF150.net is not responsible for any damage that may occur as a result of performing procedures outlined in any article. Please be sure to read and understand the entire article before doing this.

These instructions will save you a lot of money. The dealer wants at least $50 just to do this simple procedure.....

To start off, I'll explain a bit about what a PATS key is, what it does, and why this might concern you.

PATS is an acronym that stands for Passive Anti-Theft System (Ford also calls this SecuriLock). It is also called a transponder key. It is a security feature found on most (if not all) new Ford products, and what it does is disable your vehicle's starter unless your specially programmed key is used to start the vehicle. There is a computer chip inside of the key, and without that you will NOT be able to start the vehicle -- even if you have a regular (non-PATS) key with the correct cuts, it will not work.

Ford PATS Ignition Key

For convenience, I'm also including a list of other vehicles that these instructions apply:

Ford Contour '98–up
F-150 '98-up
Ford Crown Victoria '97-up
Ford Escort 99-up
Ford Excursion '00-up
Ford Expedition '98–up
Ford Explorer '98-up
Ford Focus '00-up
Ford Mustang '96-up
Ford Ranger '98-up
Ford Taurus '96-up

Ford Windstar '98-up
Lincoln Continental '98-up
Lincoln LS '00-up
Lincoln Mark VIII '98-up
Lincoln Navigator '98-up
Lincoln Town Car '98-up
Mercury Grand Marquis '97-up
Mercury Mountaineer '98-up
Mercury Mystique '98-up
Mercury Sable '96-up

NOTE: These instructions may apply to more or less vehicles than those listed above. I cannot confirm that these procedures work for every year and model listed. See your dealer if to confirm this.

On-Board Programming Method "B"

for Ford keys (1996 -early 1998 Ford, Lincoln, Mercury)

If you want to initiate a new master key....

1. Insert new key into ignition cylinder and turn it to the ON (RUN) position. The security light on the dash will flash for fifteen minutes.

2. When the security light stops flashing, you have FIVE minutes to start the next step. Turn the ignition cylinder OFF and then back to the ON (RUN) position. The security light on the dash will flash for fifteen more minutes.

3. When the security light stops flashing, you have FIVE  minutes to start the next step. Turn the ignition cylinder to OFF and then back ON (RUN) position. The dash will flash for fifteen more minutes.

4. After the security light stops flashing the third time, the new key has been programmed into the vehicles computer and will operate the car. It has replaced ALL the previous electronic key codes and is the ONLY key programmed into the vehicles computer.

If you want to add a key....

1. Insert an existing key into the ignition cylinder.

2. Turn the ignition cylinder to ON (RUN) and back to OFF.

3. Remove the existing key and, within 15 seconds, insert the new key and turn it to ON (RUN).

4. The security light will light up for two seconds to indicate success in programming the key into the vehicle.

5. Don't attempt to start the vehicle with any key for at least 1 minute.

On-Board Programming Method "C"

for Ford keys (Later 1998-newer Ford, Lincoln, Mercury)

If you want to initiate a new master key....

1. This requires that the vehicle be connected to special dealer equipment. There are two ten minute delays involved while this device erases all existing key programming and sets up the vehicle computer to accept new key codes.  Two new keys should be ready because the system requires a minimum of two keys in the program. After the first two keys are programmed, additional keys can be entered individually by following the instructions for adding duplicate keys (below).

If you want to add a key....

**You must have two original keys to perform this procedure. If you only have one key, you WILL have to take it to the dealer to get it programmed**

1. Insert and existing (working) key into the ignition cylinder.

2. Turn the ignition cylinder ON (RUN) and back to OFF. Ignition should stay on for at least ONE SECOND.

3. Remove the existing key and, within TEN seconds, insert a second working key and turn it to ON (RUN) and the back OFF. Ignition must be in ON for at least ONE second, but no more than TEN seconds. Remove the key.

4. Insert the new key before TWENTY seconds have elapsed and turn it to ON (RUN). Leave it the ON position for at least ONE second and turn back to OFF.

5. The security light will light up for THREE seconds to indicate that the new key has been successfully programmed.

6. To program additional keys, repeat steps 1 through 5

As a precautionary measure for all of the above procedures, you should wait at least one minute after you have performed this until you start your vehicle.