Introduction: 2013 Chevy Silverado Key and Fob Programming

I know “a guy.” He got a sweet deal on a 2013 Chevy Silverado that came with one RKE (remote keyless entry) fob and two transponder keys. Suppose you’re like “this guy,” and your daughter calls from the beach and says she can’t find the key and RKE fob. Maybe you’re like “this guy” who even went with a friend to the beach armed with a metal detector to try to track down said key and RKE in the sand dunes, but to no avail.

Now here’s where the learning curve comes in. With no RKE and only one functioning transponder key, life starts getting a little annoying every time “this guy” wants to get into his truck and the anti-theft system starts honking the horn. Of course, there's a work-around for that, but it's quite a hassle too. Not to mention the $$$ signs that start flashing in his head at the thought of losing the one remaining key and needing to start from scratch. He says, “It’s time to get a new fob and spare key,” so he calls the dealer. The dealer is only too happy to oblige – to the tune of $285!!!

There’s gotta be a better – or at least cheaper – way; and a bunch of research online proved it to be so. I’ll spare you the story of the “guy’s” stress of searching online and skip straight to how I saved almost $200 (true confession time – I’m “the guy”).

I wish I would’ve known right away to look at AutoZone for the key fob. Everything I was reading on the internet said that both the RKE and key for 2011 and later Silverado trucks had to be done at a dealer or locksmith. That’s just not true for my 2013 truck. The biggest investment was $70 for the programmable RKE fob and module at AutoZone. I was amazed at how quick and simple it was to program the remote, and it was available over the counter. The best part is that the module to can be used to program multiple RKE fobs that are available online for even less than the AutoZone kit.


Step 1: The RKE Fob

The instructions are printed on the AutoZone kit, but I'll list them here so that you know what to expect. You'll need a RKE kit specific to your vehicle. For the 2013 Silverado, the CBDI port is under the steering column. It works best to line up the programming module with the port before starting up the vehicle. Once you have that configuration figured out, get in the vehicle and close the door. If you have multiple remotes, you'll need to program them all at the same time. The instructions are printed in the kit,

- Put the key in the ignition and turn it two clicks (dash lights come on, but engine doesn't crank).

- Insert the module into the CDMI port

- Wait for the prompt of a buzzer or LED light indicating that the module is ready to program the remote. The dash message center should say something like, "Ready to learn remote ..."

- Press and hold the lock and unlock button on the remote simultaneously for about 3-5 seconds until you hear the module beep or buzz to indicate it has received the signal.

- If you have more remotes, repeat the step of pressing and holding the lock/unlock buttons on the additional remote(s).

- When the module beeps indicating that it has received the signal for your final remote, you can turn the key off and remove the module.

- Simply test the fobs and make sure that they will lock and unlock your doors. Mine worked flawlessly.

Step 2: The Key

So that took care of my problem of entering the vehicle without setting off the alarm, but I still needed a spare key. These transmitter key blanks are available online, but you need to make sure to get the correct one. Fortunately, my remaining key was a previous copy and had the code on the key itself (B-111-PT), but the site listed one other potential blank (B-111). I was able to get a programmable remote and blank key at for under $45. Since I already had the programming module from AutoZone, I picked up a second remote keyless entry fob for under $25, and was able to program it as well.

Everything I read had said this transponder key needed be programmed by a dealer or locksmith… until I came across one site that mentioned how easily I could program my Chevy key by myself. After all the other sites telling me that I needed a dealer or locksmith, I thought it couldn’t possibly be that easy. But I went down to my local locksmith to get a different key duplicated, and asked them to cut my pre-ordered Chevy key blank at the same time. I’m not even sure my locksmith Nate charged me for cutting the Chevy key, since my total for the regular key and for cutting my Chevy key came to $5 even. Nate assured me that the transponder key was self-programmable, and sure enough, after a total of $90, I had a new spare key and fob. All I had to do to program the new key was to get in my truck, close the door, and start the truck with my functioning key. After turning off the engine, I just needed to insert the unprogrammed key into the ignition and turn it within 5 seconds. Voila!! Done!! That’s a pretty decent discount from the dealer who was quoting me triple that amount!

Since the dealers are there to make money, I can’t blame them. But as Ben Franklin is often attributed as saying, “A penny saved, is a penny earned.” Even though old Ben evidently never actually said it quite like that, he is on the $100 bill, so the dude must’ve known a thing or two about money. I kind of feel like I earned myself a couple of Benjamins while learning a little bit about automotive “locksmithing.”

Step 3: ​FOOTNOTE – 

In my haste to test out my newly cut key, I wanted to verify that it would turn the ignition, but not start the truck. Mission accomplished. It turned, but wouldn’t crank. Unfortunately, in the process it triggered a dash warning light and error message on the control center telling me to “Service Anti-Theft System.” That also triggered a new online search for how to get this annoying light turned off. In the process, I found in my owner’s manual where it actually did tell me how to program a new transponder key. Rather than being in the section on “Keys,” the process was listed under “Immobilizer.” Even after successfully programming my new transponder key, the “Service Anti-Theft System” light remained on. I tried a few different online suggestions to get the system to reset, but the simplest proved to be simply removing the fuse from the immobilizer system. I was able to find in the owner’s manual the location of the “Key Ignition System, Theft Deterrent System” fuse located under the hood. After removing the fuse for a few seconds, and plugging it back in, the light stayed off the next time I started the truck.