Identifying Stand-Alone Keys and Key Fobs with the EL-52545 TPMS and RF Tool

The EL-52545 TPMS and RF tool offers the ability to quickly identify a key fob (Fig. 1), making it easy to match the fob with a vehicle in the dealership’s inventory or a vehicle in the service department for service. However, the EL-52545 tool also can identify many stand-alone keys by reading the VIN from the key.


Fig. 1


The EL-52545 tool works with the new Vehicle Intelligence Platform electrical architecture on the 2020 Corvette, CT5 and CT4 as well as with electrical architectures on 2008 and later GM models. Many GM models starting in 2010 featured a milled key with the VIN encoded in either the key fob (all pushbutton start models) or the key (on keyed ignition models). Many of these models have the key integrated into the key fob.

The EL-52545 tool can identify the VIN for the following key fobs and keys that have a milled key (Fig. 2):

  • All milled key fobs on Passive Entry Passive Start (PEPS) vehicles
  • All milled key fobs with integrated keys
  • All milled stand-alone keys, but not the associated key fob


The following key fobs and keys cannot be identified (Fig. 2):

  • Edge cut keys and the associated key fobs. The VIN is not encoded on edge cut keys.
  • Circle + keys and associated key fobs. These milled keys used on late model Express and Savana vans are the only milled key that cannot be identified by the EL-52545 tool.


Fig. 2


The process for identifying keys with the EL-52545 tool is the same as with key fobs.

To determine the VIN associated with a key-integrated fob or stand-alone key, select the Signal Detect function on the EL-52545 tool. From the Fob/Key ID screen, the tool will instruct to place the key or fob on the small pocket on the back of the tool and press OK. The last eight digits of the VIN and the fob part number will be displayed on the tool.

TIP: A key fob that does not have a matching VIN to a vehicle should not be submitted as a warranty transaction. Claims submitted for key fobs not matching a vehicle will result in a feedback to the dealership.

Along with reading the 8-digit VIN, the EL-52545 tool (Fig. 3) can monitor and display the frequency and signal strength for key fob output. It also can be used to help with the diagnosis and repair of other systems that rely on Radio Frequency (RF) communications, including the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Passive Entry and Pushbutton Start.


Fig. 3


For questions about the EL-52545 TPMS and RF tool, visit or call 1-800-GM-TOOLS. For additional information about the EL-52545 TPMS and RF tool, check out the GM Service Know-How Emerging Issues seminars available on the GM Center of Learning website (U.S.). In Canada, review the TAC Talk Programs.


– Thanks to Mike Waszczenko

Illuminated Accessory Power Outlet Ring
FSE Technician Recognition Awards – 4th Quarter 2020

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