Car Keys Replacement Cost (2020) – All You Need To Know. Average Prices at The Dealership, From the Locksmith, or Online. Market Research on Different Makes & Models, Tips & More.

Car Keys Replacement - Estimated Cost for 2020

Car Keys Replacement – Estimated Cost for 2020

 

One of the very first questions we are being asked when people are calling for help about replacement keys is: “how much does it cost to get a replacement key for my car”

Well, as you might imagine, the price varies and depends on the year, make, and model of the car (Ford, Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, etc). That being said, prices can also differ between vehicles of the same year, make and model. For example: for a 2017 Ford F150, there can be two different key options.

Replacement Keys - Different Years - Different Prices

Replacement Keys – Different Years – Different Prices

Moreover, where you get your replacement key, whether at the dealership, from a locksmith, or online, can affect the price as well. Even your current location and the time of day that you order key replacement service can affect the price you pay. More will be discussed about that later.

Automotive locksmith coding new key fobs on-site (Ford)

Automotive locksmith coding new key fobs on-site (Ford)

Regardless of which key you need, when, how, or from where you choose to buy it, we include professional tips to save you money and time, making the process faster and cheaper.

Finally, we recommend you check out our blog posts: How to find your car keys, car keys replacement insurance coverage and how to get a replacement car key for some useful information.

The newer the car is - The more expensive is to get a replacement key

The newer the car is – The more expensive is to get a replacement key

 

To give you a better idea of the costs to replace a car key, we have divided all car keys into three main categories of their corresponding automobiles:

Audi Q7 2019 Key Fob Replacement - High End Car Keys Cost More

Audi Q7 2019 Key Fob Replacement – High End Car Keys Cost More

  1. Most Common Makers (Not high-end)– Having the largest number of manufacturing brands, this category will be relevant to most people. Ford, Toyota, Chevy, Chrysler, Nissan, Lexus, Infiniti, Dodge, Hyundai, Kia, etc. fit this category.
    Key coding (Toyota)

    Key coding (Toyota)

  2. High-end car keys – This group includes many German car manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. Here you will also find other luxury cars, such as Jaguar, Maserati, Lamborghini, etc. As the keys and the cars’ computers themselves have additional security features, replacing car keys for models in this group is more costly than doing so for most other models. In addition, it may take longer to get your replacement key, and the availability of keys is not as vast.

    Key fob replacement and an emergency key (BMW)

    Key fob replacement and an emergency key (BMW)

  3. Car keys for very old or discontinued models — In this group, we include vehicle models made by now-defunct companies, or those old enough that there are no longer codes available for them. Scion, Pontiac, Eagle, Hummer, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Saturn, exemplify this category. In this case, the solution is either to replace the ignition or read the cuts manually. More about this situation later on.

    Chip key (Pontiac)

    Chip key (Pontiac)

 

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Now, let us discuss the factors that affect the price, regardless of your car’s manufacturer:

2020 Car Key Fobs Replacement Cost - Graph $ Amount

2020 Car Key Fobs Replacement Cost – Graph $ Amount

  1. Time of day
  2. Your location
  3. The company you choose and availability of locksmiths nearby
  4. Whether it is a holiday or weekend.
  5. Original ignition or not
  6. The year the car was made
  7. Type of key you had (remote key fob, transponder key, or non-transponder key)

 

Let us review each one of the factors mentioned above:

 

Time of day:

After Hours Replacement Key Service Can Cost Up To 50% More

After Hours Replacement Key Service Can Cost Up To 50% More

Like with any other service provider, there is a difference in price if you call for service during business hours or at 11 PM.

How much of a difference? It is usually about 50% more outside of business hours. During business hours you will pay somewhere around $50 for a service call. Whereas,  after hours, you can expect to pay around $75.

Tip:

Unless this is an absolute emergency and you need to start your car asap, wait until tomorrow morning at 8 AM and then call a locksmith.

You will be surprised at how much money you will save. You can usually expect to save somewhere around $100-$150, just for waiting until normal business hours to call for service.

Furthermore, after hour codes may cost the locksmith more money. That means you will have to pay more. Try to wait until regular business hours.

 

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Your location:

Depends Where Your Car Is Located May Affect The Price

Depends Where Your Car Is Located May Affect The Price

Most locksmiths offer mobile service for replacement car keys. They realize that  you cannot drive your vehicle, and will therefore come to you, and make your replacement key on site. Of course, there will be a considerable price difference between a service call to downtown Philadelphia, for example, to one 50 miles deep in the woods, with no locksmiths around.

The more remote your location is, the more you will pay for someone to come and make you a replacement key on site.

Programming new key fob on-site (Infiniti)

Programming new key fob on-site (Infiniti)

Finally, remember that sometimes, even if you are located in the heart of the big city, you will pay more than usual due to traffic, weather conditions, etc.

 

Tip:

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to do your homework, and call a few locksmiths for a quote.

 

Here is why:

Like any other service provider, automotive locksmiths have busy days and slow days.

Imagine if you decide to call only one locksmith company, which just happens to be having a very busy day, with an already fully booked schedule, and you request emergency replacement car key service.

CALL A FEW LOCKSMITHS FOR A QUOTE - NOT ONLY ONE!

CALL A FEW LOCKSMITHS FOR A QUOTE – NOT ONLY ONE!

They may be able to help you,  most likely in a few hours, and they will probably charge you more, as they have to delay their other customers, who already have appointments. Help will come, but with a much higher price tag on it.

Alternatively, there may be another locksmith, sitting at home, doing nothing, having a slow day. He or she might prefer to offer a lower price, and make some money, than to stay idle. 

Copy of a new transponder chip key by an auto locksmith (Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac)

Copy of a new transponder chip key by an auto locksmith (Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac)

This situation is more common than you might think. Businesses have good days and slow days. To take advantage of this, it is crucial to call a few companies for a quote.

Make sure you do your research. It will pay off. Call at least three or four locksmiths near you for help. Do not forget to have the pertinent information available, such as the year, make, and model of your car.

 

Which company you choose and availability of locksmiths nearby:

The larger the company, the more you should expect to pay. This unwritten rule is true more often than not.

Large companies have to spend a fortune on advertising, and therefore will tend to charge more. A small, recently opened, family-operated business or locksmith, with fewer clients, will usually charge less for the very same services.

Tip:

Once again, you should call a few locksmiths in your area. Keep in mind, most locksmiths will travel to within at least a 15-mile radius. Therefore, do not just call locksmiths within one or two miles from where you are located. Expand the search. It may be worth it!

 

Holiday, weekend, etc.

In Holidays & Weekends Price Can Go Up To 50% More

In Holidays & Weekends Price Can Go Up To 50% More

Same as when you call for service after hours, weekends and holidays are times when the price goes up to get a replacement key. in addition, keep in mind that you may not have all the options as you would on a regular business day, such as availability of locksmith nearby or the open dealership.

Therefore, if you can wait and this isn’t an emergency, that could save you a lot of money.

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Original ignition or not

Original Ignition - a New Key Can Be Made with Key Code

Original Ignition – a New Key Can Be Made with Key Code

This is an important factor and the reason is simple. Locksmiths, like dealers, use a code to get the cuts of the key for the ignition cylinder. In case you have had to replace your ignition before, that code will not be relevant and they will have to figure out the cuts for the new ignition in a different way, called “impression”.

Ignition replacement - Chevy

Ignition replacement – Chevy

Unfortunately, most locksmiths do not know how to accurately use this method and do not use it much as it requires great skill and time. As a result, most of them simply replace the ignition altogether, and you pay a higher price.

Finally, remember that unless you rekey your ignition cylinder to the original key, this also means you will have a different key for the ignition than for the doors.

 

The year the car was made

Replacement Fob Keys - The Newer The Car, The More Expensive It Is To Get a Replacement

Replacement Fob Keys – The Newer The Car, The More Expensive It Is To Get a Replacement

 

The first thing you should know is that the newer your car is, the more expensive it is to get a replacement key, regardless of the make, model, location, etc.

In addition, especially with the new 2020 models, such as Hyundai Kona, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford F150, etc, we see that there are a few more new keys out there. This means there may be a problem for some locksmiths to make you a new car key on site, as they may not have the new key blanks yet.

New key fob (Honda)

New key fob (Honda)

Therefore, we always recommend having the VIN number handy, so you can provide it to the locksmith, and they can check if they have the key available. If not, the dealer may be your only option.

There is, however, another factor to consider when it comes to older cars. More specifically, cars that are older than 10 years.

Why is that?

Because of the key code database.

Non Transponder Car Key Cost - Depends on Availability Of Codes

Non Transponder Car Key Cost – Depends on Availability Of Codes

The car key code database is a huge database that gathers all the information about cars for most makes and models in the U.S.

Car dealerships use this database to get information about a vehicle’s history, accidents, previous owners and more.

One piece of information that is available for them is the car key code. These codes are available for about 10 years or so, depending on the manufacturer.

This code is used by locksmiths and dealers to cut a new key when all keys are lost. After 10 years or so, the code is no longer available for dealers, and therefore they will not be able to provide you with a new replacement key. In this case, a locksmith will be your only option.

Locksmiths who can cut you a new key for these types of vehicles, usually charge more for this type of job, as is costs them much more to get the code. If no code is available, then disassembling the door to access the cylinder is the only option left.

For this type of job, you should expect to pay twice as much, as there is a lot of labor involved.

 

Type of key you had:

Maybe the most important factor of all is the type of key you had.

Most car keys, for models made after 2008, use key fob technology, also known as “a smart key” or “push to start”.

Key Fob Replacement Cost - Toyota Key

Key Fob Replacement Cost – Toyota Key

This type of key is the most expensive one, as it contains a variety of security features and has to be coded to start the vehicle.

The older version is the transponder key, which also has to be coded by a special machine, as shown below.

Transponder Car Key - Ford and Coding Machine

Transponder Car Key – Ford and Coding Machine

Finally, we have the non-transponder key, that has no security features whatsoever, and does not have to be coded. This type of key is used for vehicles made before 1996.

Here is an example of a non-transponder key:

Non Transponder Key - The Cheapest type of key to replace

Non Transponder Key – The Cheapest type of key to replace

As we have the 2020 models in the market, chances are that you had a key fob to start your vehicle.

 

Bottom line, how much should you expect to pay for a replacement key:

 

Car key replacement cost for common models: Ford, Toyota, Chevy, Jeep, Chrysler, Kia, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, etc

From an automotive locksmith:

Car Keys Replacement Cost - 2020 - Automotive Locksmith Prices

Car Keys Replacement Cost – 2020 – Automotive Locksmith Prices

Key fob/remote key/smart key: $200-$400

Transponder key: $150-$250

Non-transponder key: up to $100 (limited availability)

In case you need service after hours, the ignition was changed or any additional factor mention above expect to pay 25%-50% more for a replacement key.

 

From the dealer: (not including towing your car there which usually cost about $100-$150)

Car Keys Replacement Cost - 2020 - Dealer Prices

Car Keys Replacement Cost – 2020 – Dealer Prices

Key fob/remote key/smart key: about $200-$250

Transponder key: $100-$150

Non-transponder: Most chances the dealer cant make you this type of key as its too old and there are no available codes. However, it’s worth trying.

If the dealer does have access to codes, you should not pay more than $50.

 

Online: (Click to order)

Click To Order Online

Click To Order Online

Getting a new key online is pretty easy these days. There is one thing to keep in mind before you do get a new key:

For remote and transponder keys, you will still need an automotive locksmith, or the dealer, to cut and program it for you, which will add to the total price.

Most remote and transponder keys cannot be programmed manually. A special machine is needed.

Key fob/remote key/smart key: about $50-$125

Transponder key: $10-$50

Non-transponder: About $1

 

Car key replacement cost for high send cars: BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, etc

BMW High Security Car Keys - More Expensive To Cut & Program

BMW High Security Car Keys – More Expensive To Cut & Program

From an automotive locksmith:

These types of car keys are usually high-security keys that require a special cutting & programming machine to make. Not all locksmiths who make car keys, have these very expensive machines. Therefore, you may have to make some extra calls to find someone who does, and can cut you a new key.

Key fob/remote key/smart key: about $300-$1000

Transponder key: $200-$450

Non-transponder: Up to $200

Audi Car Keys Replacement - Same as Other High End Cars, They Cost More To Replace

Audi Car Keys Replacement – Same as Other High End Cars, They Cost More To Replace

In addition, in case you need service after hours, or any additional factor, as mentioned above, you should expect to pay 50%-65% more for a replacement key.

For cars that have had the ignition changed before, or keys that have already been lost a few times, the process may be even more complicated, as the car’s computer may need to be replaced. This is the case with some BMW & Mercedes models.

If this is the first time you have lost the key, there should not be any problem getting a replacement.

 

From the dealer: (not including towing your car there which usually cost about $100-$150)

Car Keys Replacement Cost - 2020 - Dealer Prices

Car Keys Replacement Cost – 2020 – Dealer Prices

Key fob/remote key/smart key: about $200-$800

Transponder key: $100-$300

Non-transponder: In most cases, the dealer cannot make you this type of key, as it is too old and there are no available codes. However, it is worth trying.

If the dealer does have access to codes, you should not pay more than $50.

 

Online: (Click to order)

Click To Order Online

Click To Order Online

You can get high-security car keys and remotes online. However, there are two things to keep in mind:

  1. There is limited availability for those keys, especially for remotes.
  2. Even if you do find your remote, you will still need to have a locksmith or dealer cut and program it for you.

Key fob/remote key/smart key: about $100-$250

Transponder key: $10-$75

Non-transponder: About $1

 

Car key replacement cost for discontinued models such as Hummer, Scion, Pontiac, Eagle, Mercury, etc.

Older Car Keys Replacement Cost

Older Car Keys Replacement Cost

Replacement keys for these models can be made by:

  1. Keycode – chances are it is no longer available.
  2. Finding the code on the door/ignition cylinder.
  3. Cutting a key by “impression” or tryout keys.
  4. Replacing the ignition cylinder completely.

This one is a tricky one, as the only option you have is to use an automotive locksmith. A mechanic can replace the ignition, but cannot make a new key.

 

Lets review each option:

 

Keycode

This is by far the easiest and cheapest. The only problem is that keycodes are nott available for most models in this category. If you can get the key code from a dealer, and give the locksmith the code to cut you a new key, that would be your best option.

If the key code is available, you should pay no more than $100.

 

Find the code on the door/ignition cylinder

Cutting car key by code manually - Punch machine card

Cutting car key by code manually – Punch machine card

This method involves a lot of labor, which will result in a higher fee.

 Not too long ago, before 2008, key codes were not available for locksmiths to cut replacement keys.

What they had to do then was to get the code by disassembling the door cylinder, glove compartment cylinder, or ignition cylinder, where there is a key code which tells them the cuts needed for a replacement key.

That took a lot of time, and most locksmiths do not do it anymore. This is the most common way to cut keys for these models. However, because of the labor involved, you should expect to pay somewhere around $300 for a replacement key.

 

Cut a key by impression or tryout keys

Tools to read the wafers of a cylinder to make a replacement key

Tools to read the wafers of a cylinder to make a replacement key

Cutting a key by impression is a way to cut a new key by guessing the cuts by trial-and-error. Unfortunately, it is a very hard task and not many locksmiths possess this skill.

Alternatively, for some models, like older Fords, there is a set of keys (usually about 200 or so keys), also known as tryout keys. One of those keys will likely be the right key for the doors and the ignition.

As you can probably imagine, locksmiths may have to try up to 200 keys until they can find the right one.

Once again, lots of time is spent getting a replacement key,  and this is no longer a very common option.

If a locksmith can cut a key by either one of these options, expect to pay about $250.

 

Replacing the ignition cylinder completely

Most locksmiths we spoke with offered to either replace the ignition or to tow the car to the shop, where a mechanic could replace the ignition. (Remember, this will result in having different keys for the doors and the ignition).

In addition, remember that MOST keys for these models are non-transponder keys and therefore no programming is needed.

 

So, based on that here are the best estimates we could come up with:

Older Keys May be More Expensive To Make - GM Older Key

Older Keys May be More Expensive To Make – GM Older Key

By an automotive locksmith, where codes are available: Up to $150

Finding a key code by disassembling the cylinder: Up to $300

Impression or tryout keys: Up to $250

Having the ignition replaced by an automotive locksmith: Up to $200

 

We hope you find the information here useful! Need more help?

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