Key Coding (P1,P2,P3 + SPA / CMA)

Including all keys lost situations

**** Different regions use different frequency Keys…EU keys will not work on Japanese imports for instance , Always check what frequency you require before purchase!!! *****

Note – Vdash currently cannot program P1 or P3 Keyless entry keys.  That is Vida / Specialist Only. 


There are key experts in this world , who you find in back streets and grubby sheds who have the equipment to program keys for anything, though it usually involves soldering irons and witchcraft. Most people dont know them or can’t find them. 

And this guide is for those of us who can’t find these wizards.

Anyway, i’ll break this down by platform but I will start with one caveat….P2 and pre facelift P1, just bite the bullet and get to a main dealer and GET A SPARE KEY NOW! not when your only one is lost or broken. Towing a vehicle due to all keys lost will add a big chunk of cost to the problem.

The following is based on my direct experience and “what I understand” .  Where I am wrong please feel free to comment. Where I refer to Vida, it is Genuine subscription Vida. Not Vida2014d / Vida 2015a – as they cannot help.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Let’s begin.

P2 platform cars.

The keyblade has to be cut , so you can turn on the ignition, to program a key.

The ignition key transponder and remote are entirely separate both physically and conceptually.

Starting the car is by means of an ID48 RFID chip in the head of the key that is read by the antenna ring on the ignition barrel.  ID48 chips are single use which is why they cannot be programmed to another car. The Immob data is verified in various places of the car such as CEM and ECM.  This is why you cannot easily swp CEM or ECM.

The remote locking / unlocking is separate to starting.

When programming P2 keys the conventional way with vida it is 2 seperate downloads.  1 for ignition and 1 for the remote. 

P2 remotes when brand new are supplied with special codes that have to be entered into vida (or Vdash) during programming.  This is why used P2 keys are really worthless apart from maybe for rebuilding a broken key….but the RFID chips are formed in the key head, replacing them is really not worth considering.

The remotes are actually registered in the UEM (rear view mirror) not the CEM.  This is why you cannot (easily) swap P2 RVM. 

Is the CEM pin required ?  No (but with a small yes which I will come to later) .

Decoding the CEM pin on most P2 platform cars does not allow you to program a key as the CEM pin code and IMMOB pin are separate (and the remote codes are even more separate)

However Late model P2 cars such as XC90 / S80 V8 or 3.2 actually have a P3 Style CEM and the Immob pin can be calculated from the CEM pin. Joy!

Enough waffle, how do I program a P2 key!

1) Just go to volvo.  Your going to need a NEW in box with packaging CUT key with codes anyway.  The programming part is a small amount of the cost. 

2) Ff you have access to Genuine Vida and have a new cut key with codes, order Ignition key application and remote key application and away you go.  

3) Vdash.   If you have a late model P2 you can decode the CEM pin with modunlock.   or one of the other methods, bang it into Vdash, Vdash can then calculate the immob pin and you can use Vdash to program the key. Remember if you dont have the remote codes you will only be able to program the ignition aspect of the key.

4) If you have a Normal P2 , Vdash will need the immobiliser pin Code.  This is very hard to get.  Really you need to speak with a Vdash Pro / Pro Verified agent such as myself or consult the Vdash dealer map https://d5t5.com/partners

P2 Key cloning.

Very good Auto locksmiths can clone keys.  No not the shit ones in shopping malls or the VAG guys on Facebook.  Good ones!.

But you can also do it yourself.  You can get (for example) a XHorse from the internet for about £90 with a generic key and clone the ID48 chip and remote. And if you google Xhorse Volvo you will go down a rabbit hole of methods of getting immob data directly out of the CEM. (For example )

P2 All keys lost 

As p2 platform have a cut blade to turn the ignition on , you need to have a cut key to turn the ignition on so you can program a new key.

This is where Vdash can be really handy as an alternative to Vida.  No-need to tow to a main dealer.  Buy a new cut key from Volvo.  Get your immob pin, program key. And away, it may be costly, but its convenient.

If you are in a part of the world where you have access to Vida, then this is a suitable alternative.  but not Cheap.  USA Vida subscription is best part of $100, Ignition key application, best part of $100, Remote key application, Best part of $100. 

P1 platform cars

Pre face lift P1 have many of the same aspects as P1 platform, only there is no metal keyblade to be cut. There is an RFID chip in the tip of the key that is read by the Ignition lock .  When they are supplied new they are supplied with codes for the remote to be programmed into Vida or Vdash.

The Remote is read by a dumb sensor in the roof lining that is not coded.  they fail quite a bit, especially on leaky sunroof cars.  PITA to change, but cheap and plug n play. 

Of course for Vdash to Program the ignition aspect of the key, it needs the Immob pin, and for the remote aspect it also needs the remote codes. Vdash will need the immobiliser pin Code.  This is very hard to get.  Really you need to speak with a Vdash Pro / Pro Verified agent such as myself or consult the Vdash dealer.  map https://d5t5.com/partners. This has a cost, but can be done remotely

P1 platform have a single “Master Key” application to download in vida to program the key. 

To my understanding the keys cannot be re-used.

Keyless entry keys can only be programmed by Main dealers / independants 

Facelift P1

Still, we are facing the same hurdles as before only on facelift cars there are no codes to enter for the remote. You still need the Immob pin of course.

P1 platform have a single “Master Key” application to download in vida to program the key. 

Facelift remotes can be made virgin and reused if you know a specialist.

Keyless entry keys can only be programmed by Main dealers / independants 

Late model “Euro 5” P1

I think this is all correct lol…..Like with the late model P2, late model Euro 5 P1 have a “P3” style cem which means the Immob pin can be calculated from the CEM pin code and then you can program a key with VDASH. Yay! 

Keyless entry keys can only be programmed by Main dealers / independants 

P1 All keys lost

Slightly easier than P2 as there is no blade to cut.

This is where Vdash can be really handy as an alternative to Vida.  No need to Tow to a main dealer.  Buy a new key.  Get your immob pin, program key. And away, it may be costly, but its convenient.

If you are in a part of the world where you have access to Vida, then this is a suitable alternative.  but not Cheap.  USA Vida subscription is best part of $100, Master key application, Best part of $100. 

P3 Platform – V40 Specific

Here we are very much like facelift P1.  There are no remote codes to program in , but Vdash cannot calculate the immob data from the CEM pin code.

So it’s a trip to the main dealer  / specialist for key programming or you need to speak with a Vdash Pro / Pro Verified agent such as myself or to consult the Vdash dealer map https://d5t5.com/partners to get your immob pin. This has a cost, but can be done remotely

The  5 button keys are quite cheap, “chinese” keys can be bought for a £20 or so .  I believe P3 keys can be made virgin.  They definitely cannot be used twice without it. 

Keyless entry keys can only be programmed by Main dealers / independants 

P3 Platform – EXCLUDING V40’s

Easy street!  You can decode your cem pin with Vdash or  modunlock.   and then Vdash can calculate the immob pin and you can program your chinese (Or genuine)  5 button key. 

That’s it really lol.

Or you can use Vida of course.

I believe P3 keys can be made virgin.  They definitely cannot be used twice without it. 

Keyless entry keys can only be programmed by Main dealers / independants.

P3 Platform – All keys lost

This is where Vdash can be really handy as an alternative to Vida.  No need to Tow to a main dealer.  Buy a new key.  Get your immob pin, program key. And away, it may be costly, but its convenient.

You may be able to get Vdash to decode the cem pin with Vdash without keys then it can calculate the immob.

You can definitely decode the cem pin without keys with modunlock.

If you are in a part of the world where you have access to Vida, then this is a suitable alternative.  but not Cheap.  USA Vida subscription is the best part of $100, Master key application, Best part of $100. 

SPA / CMA Platform (Sensus)

The immob pin is required for programming keys. Vdash cannot calculate the Immob pin. Blah blah blah you need to speak with a Vdash Pro / Pro Verified agent such as myself or to consult the Vdash dealer map https://d5t5.com/partners to get your immob pin. This has a cost, but can be done remotely

The one upside is that SPA platform keys can be reused with no messing about. They just reprogram.  Great!

So your two options are, get your IMMOB pin or visit a main dealer  . independant. 

SPA / CMA Platform (Android Auto)

The immob pin AND vgm pin  are required for programming keys. Vdash cannot calculate the Immob pin. You need to speak with a Vdash Pro / Pro Verified agent such as myself or to consult the Vdash dealer map https://d5t5.com/partners to get your immob pin. This has a cost, but can be done remotely.

Orbit can calculate the immob pin for some SPA platform cars from the CEM pin code. With this you can then program keys, but there is no definitive guide to supported CEM’s.

The one upside is that SPA platform keys can be reused with no messing about. They just reprogram.  Great!

So your two options are, get your IMMOB pin or visit a main dealer  . independant. 

Keyless entry caveats and other thoughts…..

There are numerous different key types and frequencies, it is of course critical that you buy hardware that is aligned with your car.  I.E. a standard 5 button key will not unlock a keyless entry car, but can start the engine. 

When a key is added through VIDA, that key data is stored on their servers so that if ever the CEM is replaced, the keys are automatically programmed as part of a CEM replacement/reload. Keys added through 3rd party methods are lost after a CEM replacement or reload. Of course you can add it back in, its just something to remember.

There are of course many other avenues and way to go about it. Specialised devices which can read immob data out of the CEM, but I have to set boundaries of this article or i will never stop writing!

2 comments

  1. Thank you Matt! Your contribution to the community is invaluable. Much appreciated!!

  2. Does anyone ever thank you for this stuff? I don’t even need a key but read this, and was very grateful!

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