Are Car Keys Magnetic? Discovering The Science

Have you ever lost your key in a tight space and ever wondered to yourself, “Are car keys magnetic?” Here is the metal used in them — steel, brass, or maybe even nickel. Are Car Keys Magnetic But can a magnet be used to pull out a car key, or is all hope lost? Dive in as we answer any query you might have regarding the properties of a magnetic key. 

Are Car Keys Magnetic?

A car keys magnetism depends on the type of material used to make them. If a car key is made from nickel-plated steel, it will have magnetic properties. A car key is usually made up of nickel-plated steel, brass, iron, or aluminum.  The reason for this is that steel possesses ferromagnetic properties, allowing it to be magnetized and effectively function as a permanent magnet. On the other hand, if your key is made up of stainless steel, brass, or aluminum, it won’t have magnetic properties since they feature a pretty tiny amount of ferrous metals, which makes it harder to get attracted to magnets. 

What Are the 4 Most Commonly Used Metals in Car Keys? 

Nickel-plated steel is one of the most common metals you’ll see being used to manufacture car keys. Other popular materials for car keys also include brass, aluminum, and stainless steel, which are completely non-magnetic, unlike nickel-plated steel but equally strong. Delve in further to find out what metals are keys made of and if they have magnetic properties. 

– Nickel-Plated Steel

Nickel-plated steel is a highly sought-after material to make car keys due to its magnetic properties and strength. It is created through the process of nickel plating, where a thin layer of nickel is applied to steel using an electric current Nickel Plated Steel Keys The resulting product boasts improved resistance to corrosion and has a shiny silver finish, making it a versatile and practical choice for various applications.

– Brass

Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, showcases a striking yellowish-gold appearance. Although not magnetic, brass is still widely utilized for its attractive appearance. So the question arises; are brass keys magnetic? Being a non-ferromagnetic metal, brass keys lack magnetic properties. But, it compensates for that with its high corrosion resistance, making it a more durable option compared to other metals. Nevertheless, brass keys are not as popular as nickel-plated steel or chrome-plated steel.

– Aluminum

A silver-colored metal known for its lightweight, aluminum is recently being used more to manufacture keys. Despite not being magnetic, it’s a popular choice due to its resistance to rusting. Aluminum Car Keys However, aluminum keys are weaker and wear off way more rapidly than other metals used to make keys. 

– Stainless Steel

Some car keys are also made from stainless steel as well. Although stainless steel keys would be considered metallic, they aren’t magnetic at all. The reason why stainless steel is used to make car keys is that they do not rust and all and are pretty sturdy. 

How To Find a Lost Car Key? 

You can find a lost car key with a metal detector. Regardless of whether your keys are made from a permanent magnet or not, all metals emit some form of a magnetic field which can be detected by metal detectors and narrow down your search area.  However, finding your keys with a metal detector may not be the simplest task. Having prior experience in tuning a detector to detect the type of metal your key is made of can be helpful. The best way to use a metal detector is if you’ve already narrowed down the area where you think your keys may be. Otherwise, you may end up sorting through a lot of unnecessary clutter in search of them. Car keys made from aluminum or a metal/alloy that doesn’t conduct electricity can make it harder for a metal detector to detect it since they don’t omit the same type of electromagnetic field which other materials do. 

Can a Magnet Damage Car Keys?  

A magnet can damage car keys only if your key has a magnetic transponder. However, even then, it would require a pretty strong magnet to cause damage to the transponder or the car keys themselves, since they are protected by the key fob Magnet Damage Car Keys or Not Strong magnets have the potential to demagnetize the transponder chip inside the key, rendering it unable to communicate with the car’s computer system and causing the car not to start. However, this is a rare occurrence and typically only happens when the key is exposed to an extremely powerful magnet, such as a pretty rare earth magnet. On the other hand, keys without transponders are safe from magnet damage. Key fobs might be more susceptible to magnetic damage. However, a normal magnet won’t be able to do any sort of fatal damage to it. While it’s not a good idea to intentionally expose it to strong magnets, your key fob should be safe in normal use.

– Transponder Working Process Explained

It is also essential to know how a transponder inside a car key works so you have an idea of what type of damage it is susceptible to. Most car keys have a transponder chip that holds a unique code that must match the code in the car’s computer to start the vehicle. The chip is powered by a battery, usually found in the key fob.  In addition, there is a metal blade in the key that can be used to manually turn on the car if the transponder fails. This blade is often constructed from brass, nickel-plated steel, or chrome-plated steel.


1. Are Car Key Fobs Magnetic?

Yes, car key fobs are magnetic; however, you don’t have to worry about keeping them separate from magnets since a pretty strong rare magnet would be required to inflict any damage on them.

2. What Are Chevy Keys Made Of?

Chevy Keys may or may not have metallic properties depending on the model you’re purchasing. However, the latest models do come with a transponder fitted in them.

3. Is a Car Steel Key Magnetic?

Magnetic Car Steel Key Yes, a steel key is magnetic and will attract other magnets. So in case your key gets lost in a tight space where you can’t reach it with your hand, a nice idea would be to bring in a magnet.

4. What Metals Are Magnetic in Car Keys?

Any car key that contains iron, nickel, or cobalt will contain magnetic properties. This means that car keys made from steel will be magnetic, while those made from aluminum or stainless steel won’t be. 

Could a Magnetic Key Be Triggering My Ford Explorer Alarm?

A common concern for Ford Explorer owners is whether a magnetic key could potentially trigger the alarm system. If you are facing this issue, engaging in proper ford explorer alarm troubleshooting is essential. By diagnosing the problem accurately and seeking professional assistance if needed, you can ensure the smooth functioning of your vehicle’s alarm system.

Can Home Depot Duplicate Magnetic Car Keys?

Yes, Home Depot offers car key duplication services which include magnetic car keys. They have a team of skilled professionals who can accurately duplicate your magnetic car key, providing convenience and peace of mind. Trust Home Depot for reliable and efficient home depot car key duplication services.


Car keys are made from a plethora of materials that may or may not have magnetic properties. If you’ve lost your car keys in a tight space and are unable to reach them, you can always use a magnet to pull them back. Here are some materials that are used to make car keys:
  • Nickel-plated steel has a magnetic nature and is used because of its resistance to corrosion and strength.
  • Brass is another material used due to its corrosive resistance; however, it doesn’t have a magnetic nature
  • Aluminum keys are also not magnetic but are chosen due to them being lightweight
  • Stainless steel is also being used since it doesn’t rust. However, it also isn’t magnetic in nature.
So whether your keys are magnetic in nature or not, you don’t have to worry about placing them far away from magnetic materials in your home since it would require a very strong magnet to damage them. However, we don’t recommend you rub your car keys with other magnets since it can demagnetize them. 
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