What are a VATS or PASS key? VATS stands for Vehicle anti-theft system; they can often be named PASS keys, which stand for Personal Automotive Security System. These keys have an embedding on the blade of a resistor that is supposed to prevent the vehicle from theft should the wrong key be used. GM vehicles had begun implementing the VATS keys in their more luxury models (beginning with the Corvette). After realizing how well it prevented thefts, they were able to add this feature to their newer vehicles, such as the Cadillac.

When generating a VATS key there are two required steps. First is the actual cut of the key (which will be done on a mechanical key first before the final key), and second is the programming of the key to the vehicle. Programming the key is completed by “interrogating” the vehicle in order to retrieve the correct resistor value. Once the correct resistor value is calculated, and the key is cut correctly, we are able to make the final key to start the vehicle.

Although the VATS keys are not implemented in GM vehicles anymore, it is important for our locksmiths & our clients to know about their vehicles. Although GM stopped producing VATS keys back in 2003; these vehicles are still around the GTA and there are still several clients that will need keys—whether they are spare keys or completely new keys generated. If you aren’t sure whether you have a VATS key, contact our office to better assist you at 416 629 5636. You can also email us a picture of your current key at and one of our representatives can further assist you.



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