In 1986 General Motors introduced the Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS) on the Corvette. This system quickly made its way into many other General Motors vehicles as a standard feature. The VATS system can be easily identified by looking at the key. In VATS equipped vehicles there is a visible black resistor called a ‘pellet’ in the center of the key blade.
Due to the troublesome and fragile VATS system, General Motors started putting transmitter-responder (transponder) chips into their keys in 1997, but didn’t become mainstream until around 2005. In 2004 The Pontiac GTO debuted with high security laser cut keys known today as sidewinder keys. In 2010 Chevrolet and Buick started using sidewinder flip keys in their cars. These keys are easily identified by the way the key is cut. These sidewinder keys appear to have a squiggly line milled into the center of the key blade. In 2014 GM introduced sidewinder keys into the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks which we believe shows that sidewinder keys will be a standard feature in most if not all GM vehicles very soon.