As automotive design has become more sophisticated, the technology has made it more difficult for thieves to break in and steal cars. "Smart keys" that cannot be easily duplicated are rapidly replacing the old style metal key. The downside of this is that replacement car keys are becoming much more costly. For the consumer, it's helpful to know the different types of car keys in use and how to replace them with as little expense and inconvenience as possible. top
Where do I start?
Use Replacecarkey's unique search database to help connect you with a locksmith in your area that specializes in car key replacements. Provide the locksmith with the make and model of your vehicle. Immediately, the locksmith should know whether they can meet your needs or not. It is helpful to have your car registration, VIN (vehicle Identification number) and driver's license handy as often that information is needed. In addition, you may be asked to show proof of ownership.
How much will it cost?
For newer makes and models, the car key is often part of the vehicle's security system. If you lose the key you may have to get the system re-coded. If the key is damaged, and needs to be replaced, you should be able to get a replacement key from your local dealer. If you lose the key, but it's unlikely to be used by anyone else-for example, you drop it over the side of a boat while fishing and you still have the master key, you should be able to get a replacement from your dealer. Replacing your care key can range from $80-$350 depending on your cars system.
Why can't I just go to any local locksmith?
Not all locksmiths are able to reproduce car keys due to the technology involved in replacing Smart Keys. Only licensed locksmiths have necessary codes.
What if the locksmith's in my area can't replace my key, then what?
If the locksmith's in your area are unable to help you, you'll need to contact a dealership. Dealers charge anywhere from $80-$350 to replace a new key. According to a Washington DC survey, using 50 different makes of car, the average cost of replacing a car key is about $150.
What if I have an electronic fob?
Some cars such as Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Prius, use an electronic fob instead of car key. The Prius fob costs around $300. It may not be possible to get the dealer to make replacement keys. If this is the case, you may need to contact the manufacturer directly to replace car keys.
How long will it take to have the key made?
In most cases the customer can wait while the key is duplicated, in general it takes between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the complexity of the key and transponder system.
So does this mean I can't drive until I have a new key?
Basically, yes. You can have a simple metal copy of a smart key made in order to unlock your vehicle, however, you will not be able to drive it without a duplicate smart key. Consider investing in a backup smart key immediately. It will save you time, stress, and money, if you have a back up handy.