Program Buick keys made easy. All the information you need to know how to program a new Buick key without the original, how to make a duplicate, which keys you can program yourself, procedures, what you should know before and more.

Buick Remote Key Fobs Replacement Keys - Programming Instructions

Buick Remote Key Fobs Replacement Keys – Programming Instructions

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  • This page is relevant for programming Buick keys and remotes. 

 

 

In this article:

Introduction to programming Buick keys

On-Board Programming – What is it? How does it help us program a new Buick key?

Tips for programming your new Buick key

The actual procedure of programming a new Buick key (Transponder keys)

How to add a duplicate Buick key once you already have a working key?

Buick key fobs or remotes programming – the actual procedure

How to add a duplicate Buick remote key FOB once you already have a working key?

What Can I do to save money on getting a duplicate or a new Buick remote/key made?

What is Buick VATS key, PK3, PK3+ and PK Circle plus keys? Is there a difference between them? Can I bypass the security system? What are the security issues that may occur for these keys?

Buick key programming cost of a replacement key/remote

I already have a programmed key/remote, I just need a duplicate – Buick duplicate key cost

How to program a keyless entry remote for Buick models? All you need to know

 

Introduction:

Making a new key for Buick models takes time and money. While cutting the actual key require help from an outside source like the dealer or an automotive locksmith, programming the key can be done easily. The process of making a new key to start the car involved, basically, two phases:

 

A. Cutting a new key :
"Blank" Uncut Buick Keys

“Blank” Uncut Buick Keys

That means cutting a blank key to match the ignition and will be able to turn the ignition to “ON” or “RUN” position”.  You can call the dealer or a locksmith to cut the key for you. Keep in mind, you will have to provide proof of ownership and the VIN number.

 

B. Program the key –

Most of the Buick models made in the past 20 years are equipped with some sort of transponder security feature.

That security feature requires an additional action (programming the key) to start the car.

Either a locksmith or a dealer can program the key for you if you choose to.

However, the car will have to be towed there.

Alternatively, you can do it yourself. The instruction below shows you how to program the new key yourself without any special equipment or help from an outside source.

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A step by step on how to program a new car key when all keys are lost, how to duplicate an extra key, troubleshooting, what you should know and more.

High-Security Buick Transponder Key - NeedsTo Be Programmed

High-Security Buick Transponder Key – NeedsTo Be Programmed

 

Most of GM models, Buick included, car keys can be programmed without special programming machine.

Therefore, if you have an already cut key for any of these makes or models, most chances are you can program it yourself without calling a locksmith or tow the car to the dealer.

Here we will give detailed instructions on how to program a new key, what you should pay attention to, troubleshooting and useful tips that can save you a lot of money and time.

 

A new master key can be programmed with a method called: “On Board Programming “

On-Board Programming is basically a way to program a new key or to add a duplicate key without a special machine.

All you need is a cut key that matches the ignition, enough battery, and this guide.

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A few tips before you start the process of programming a new car key for Buick models:

A. Once you program a new key, ALL previous keys will not start the car.

In other words, if you find your old key after programming the new one, it will not work.

Therefore, we highly recommend having at least two new cut keys and program them both.

 

B. Programming Buick keys require about 30 minutes of battery life, without the car being on.

Therefore, it is very important to make sure you have enough juice in the battery before starting the process. In case the battery dies during the process, the new master key will not program and you will have to start the procedure all over again.

 

C. While most Buick models can be programmed with this method, we would recommend verifying the type of key with a locksmith or an additional reliable source that it is the right key.

Transponder & non Transponder Buick keys

Transponder & non Transponder Buick keys

 

D. There are a few transponder keys (PK3, PK circle +, etc.) that work on Buick models. You must have the right type of transponder key that matches your model and year.

Otherwise, the key will not program. You can check the right key for the exact make and model here.

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Here is the procedure you should follow to program a new Buick TRANSPONDER  key – without the original:

Program Buick Keys - Procedure and Type Of Keys

Program Buick Keys – Procedure and Type Of Keys

 

  1. Insert the new cut and unprogrammed key you have into the ignition cylinder and turn it to the “ON” position. Make sure you look at the dash as the security light should illuminate as you turn the key. If the security light doesn’t illuminate it means you have a problem with your battery and you should charge or replace it.
  2. Once the security light is illuminated it will stay on for ten minutes. We suggest you have a stopwatch as well because the next step will have to happen within ONE minute and you don’t want to miss that.
  3. After 10 minutes, the security light will stop flashing, within ONE minute, you should turn the ignition cylinder into “OFF” position and then back to “ON” again. The security light on the dash should illuminate for an additional ten minutes and then go off.
  4. Within one minute, turn the ignition cylinder into “OFF” position and then back to “ON” again. The security light on the dash should illuminate for an additional ten minutes and then go off.
  5. Once the security light goes off after the 3rd time (total 30 minutes) the new key should be programmed and start the car. Keep in mind, ALL other keys will not work anymore. Now you can start the car. We highly recommend making a copy of the key.

 

Below, a couple of pictures of Buick transponder key that can be programmed using “on-board programming” :

Buick Key PK3 Type Transponder

Buick Key PK3 Type Transponder

 

 

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I already have a working key, I just want to make a duplicate. What is the procedure of programming an extra duplicate key? (Transponder key ONLY – NOT A REMOTE)

The process of making a duplicate key, when you already have one or more working keys is fairly easy and therefore we recommend doing so.

 

Here is what you will need:
  1. A working key that can start the car.
  2. A cut key that you wish to program – make sure it has the right transponder value as your other key.

 

Here are the steps you should take to program an additional Buick key: (Transponder key, not remote)

  1. insert your original key – The one that currently you are able to start the car with into the ignition cylinder.
  2. Turn the ignition cylinder to “ON” position and right after to “OFF” position.
  3. Remove the original key from the ignition cylinder.
  4. Now you have 10 seconds to do the next step.
  5. Insert the key you want to duplicate into the ignition cylinder and turn it to “ON” position.
  6. Take a look at the security light. It should light up for about 2 seconds which will indicate the new key has been successfully programmed.

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How to program Buick key fobs or remotes? The actual procedure to program a new remote key FOB

Buick Remote Keys - Can Be self Programmed

Buick Remote Keys – Can Be self Programmed

Buick remote car keys, also known as key fobs, smart keys or push to start keys, are the latest generation of security car keys.

GM, and Buick models, of course, included, is the only manufacturer that allows self-programming for remote key fobs.

Professional locksmiths call this process: “on board programming”. This process is also available for PK+, PK3, PEPS keys and more.

There is, however, a difference between programming remote key fobs and regular transponder keys.

Below, we outlined a step by step process how to program your new remote key fob. Simply follow the steps and have your new remote ready to go in no time!

Before you start

Remember – This process will erase all previously programmed remotes!

The process of programming remote key fob: (This process is to program a new remote – NOT A DUPLICATE!)

 

First,

Make sure all doors are closed and stand outside next to the driver side door. Take the emergency key out of the remote and insert into the bottom of the plastic cover, located at the bottom of the door lock cylinder on the driver side door lock. You can see an example below.

Buick Key Fob & Emergency Key

Buick Key Fob & Emergency Key

Step by Step How To Program Buick Remote - Emergency Key

Step by Step How To Program Buick Remote – Emergency Key

Second,

Take the key out and insert it into the actual door lock cylinder of the same door(driver side).

Emergency Key & Door Lock Cylinder Buick

Emergency Key & Door Lock Cylinder Buick

The following step should be done within 10 seconds – turn the emergency key six times to the left – that would be counter-clockwise. If you did it right, a message on the dashboard should say: “remote learning mode” or ” remote learning in progress” (depends on which model you try to program key for). The message usually stays on for about 20 or 30 seconds.

Third,

Once the programming mode is on, you should see a notification: “Press the push to start button” which is the button you use to actually start the car. Push it once. (It can take about 10 minutes to appear, depends on your make and model). The notification will then indicate that “remote learning mode is in progress”. Repeat steps 5 & 6 2 more times.

Fourth,

If you did everything right, the third time, you should see: “ready for remote one”. Put the first remote you would like to program in the cup holder or in the armrest. (It depends on your make and model. If you are not sure, you can ask the dealer where is it located.) Below is an example:

Placing the key fob in the right place is crucial for successful programming Emergency Key & Door Lock Cylinder Buick remote

Placing the key fob in the right place is crucial for successful programming Emergency Key & Door Lock Cylinder Buick remote

Fifth,

Once the remote is in the right place, press again on the push to start button. The first remote is programmed and ready to go. You should see a notification that the car is ” ready for remote number 2″. Place the second remote in the same spot and press again, push to start. In case you did it right, you will see a notification:” ready for remote number 3″.

Finally,

Press and hold the “push to start” button for additional 20-30 seconds. Once the screen has gone blank, its time to test both remotes. Press the lock & unlock button on either one of the remotes. If the car responds, you are ready to go.

Below, a few examples of Buick remote key fobs that can be programmed using this method, but not only:
GM and Buick Remote Car Keys - Programming Required

GM and Buick Remote Car Keys – Programming Required

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How to add duplicate Buick key fobs or remotes? The actual procedure.

Buick Remote Keys - Can Be self Programmed

Buick Remote Keys – Can Be self Programmed

In the article above, we outlined how to program a new Buick remote key to your vehicle. This article will show you how to add a duplicate. In other words, you already have a working remote, you just want an additional one. The process is almost the same with a few minor changes.

Before you start

Remember – This process will only work if you already have a working key FOB!

The process of adding an additional remote key fob:

 

First,

Make sure all doors are closed and stand outside next to the driver side door. Take the emergency key out of the working remote and insert into the bottom of the plastic cover, located at the bottom of the door lock cylinder on the driver side door lock. You can see an example below.

Buick Key Fob & Emergency Key

Buick Key Fob & Emergency Key

Step by Step How To Program Buick Remote - Emergency Key

Step by Step How To Program Buick Remote – Emergency Key

Second,

Take the key out and insert it into the actual door lock cylinder of the same door(driver side).

Emergency Key & Door Lock Cylinder Buick

Emergency Key & Door Lock Cylinder Buick

The following step should be done within 10 seconds – turn the emergency key five or six times to the left – that would be counter-clockwise. If you did it right, a message on the dashboard should say: “remote learning mode/ action required for a remote number …” or ” remote learning in progress” (depends on which model you try to program key for). The message usually stays on for about 20 or 30 seconds.

Third,

Put the first remote you would like to program in the cup holder or in the armrest. (It depends on your make and model. If you are not sure, you can ask the dealer where is it located.) Below is an example:

Placing the key fob in the right place is crucial for successful programming an additional Buick remote

Placing the key fob in the right place is crucial for successful programming an additional Buick remote

Fourth,

Once the remote is in the right place, press on the push to start button. The remote is programmed and ready to go. You should see a notification that the car is ” ready for remote number …”. Place any additional remotes you would like to program, and repeat step three and four.

Finally,

Once you finished programming all your new remotes, press and hold the “push to start” button for about 15 seconds and then let go. Test your new remotes, they should be working.

Below, a few examples of Buick remote key fobs that can be programmed using this method, but not only:
GM and Buick Remote Car Keys - Programming Required

GM and Buick Remote Car Keys – Programming Required

 

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How can I save money on getting a duplicate or a new Buick key/remote made?

As we explained above, the process of getting a new key involves cutting the new key and program it.

When you call a locksmith or the dealer, they will charge you for a service call, the actual key, the labor of cutting the key and programming.

Fortunately, you can save the money of the key by ordering it online, and only have them cut and program it. This alone will save you about $50-$100 as the locksmith or the dealer make a profit by selling you the key as well.

True, it may take a longer time to get the key online but if you are not in a big rush or need a key ASAP, we recommend you do that. This is especially true if you only need a duplicate made.

Bottom line, how and what should I do?
  1. Order your key online – Make sure you get the right key. In case you get the wrong key or remote programming will not be possible. You can look up your exact key for your Buick model Here. Simply choose your model and year and get it online. You can order your key here.
  2. Call the dealer or locksmith – Explain to them you already have the key/remote and would only like it to be cut and/or programmed. Ask them for the quote on this procedure only.
  3. In addition, keep in mind, the process usually cost somewhere between $80-$150, depends on the type of key/remote you have. Remember that if you can program remotes as well by yourself. That would save you also a lot of money. Scroll up to see how to program those yourself.
  4. Finally, schedule a time with them to have it done. Remember to provide them with the exact year, make and model, VIN number and make sure you have a proof of ownership.

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Q: What are VATS keys, PK3, PK3+ and PK Circle plus keys? How they differ from each other? Can I bypass the security system? What are the security issues that may occur for these keys?

Buick PK3, PK3+, PK Circle Plus, Transponder Replacement Keys

Buick PK3, PK3+, PK Circle Plus, Transponder Replacement Keys

A: VATS keys, PK3, PK3+ etc are chipped keys or transponder keys for different years for Buick models.

In other words, all these keys need to be programmed to start the car. They have an additional security feature that reduces the chances of an unauthorized key to start the car.

The procedure for these keys explained above and is most of the time the same and shouldn’t be complicated.

The exception is the VATS key, that doesn’t require any programming, only having the right chip number in them.

How can I know if my key is PK3 or just a regular key?

All PK3 keys are transponder key. Therefore, you will see a black cover at the top of the key. In addition, it will be marked on the key itself “PK3” “PK3+” etc. Here are a few examples:

Buick PK3+ Replacement Keys.

Buick PK3+ Replacement Keys.

Buick PK3+ Replacement Key

Buick PK3+ Replacement Key

What are the security issues that may occur with PK3 keys? How can I know if something is wrong?

The main issue with PK3 is, like with any other transponder key, is programming. There is a very simple indication if you did something wrong during programming and/or if you have the wrong chip key. You will see the security light blinking. Therefore, something is wrong. DO NOT TRY TO START THE CAR!

Make sure you have the right key, wait, 30 minutes, and start the programming procedure again.

 

Buick key programming cost – How much does it cost to program a new Buick transponder key and remote.

As stated above, getting your Buick key online and having the dealer or an automotive locksmith can save you a lot of money. If you need to order your key, you can do it HERE. Remember that you can program any additional key FOB yourself, or even a new one, but you will have to get the emergency key cut first. That can save you even more money.

Buick Key / Remote Programming Cost

Buick Key / Remote Programming Cost

Programming a new Buick key, assuming you already have a blank key, basically involves two phases:

 

1. Cutting the key or remote so it will fit your car’s ignition.

Before the key can be programmed, it needs to be cut to fit your car. The way an automotive locksmith or the dealership do that is by “pulling” the key code, using your VIN from the database. This cost them money and therefore, they charge you for it. (Unlike when you already have a cut key and just need a duplicate)

 

2. Program the key or remote – To actually start the car. (You can save money by programming your key by yourself. See instructions above)

The programming procedure is simply a process to let your car know that the new key is “authorized” to start the car. That being done by connecting a programming machine to your car’s computer.

Both the dealer and an automotive locksmith will have to do the same thing, however, the prices vary:

Buick Key / Remote Programming Cost

Buick Key / Remote Programming Cost

Cost of programming Buick key by the dealer:

These are average costs, as it really depends on the year and model of your Buick car.

Cutting the key: Usually around $85

Programming the key: Usually around $85

In addition, you will have to two your car to the dealer which is an additional expanse of $70(estimate)

Total estimated cost: $240

Buick Key / Remote Programming Cost

Buick Key / Remote Programming Cost

 

Cost of programming Buick key by an automotive locksmith:

These are average costs, as it really depends on the year and model of your Buick car, your location(as a locksmith will come to you) time of day, etc.

We checked the prices during regular business hours, the same as we did with the dealer, and here are the results:

Cutting the key: Usually around $75

Programming the key: Usually around $75

In addition, an automotive locksmith usually charges a service call or a trip charge which is usually about $50

Total estimated cost: $200

In conclusion, as you can see, the price of replacing and programming your Buick key is not cheap and therefore we highly recommend to make an extra key while replacing your key as it much cheaper than making a new one once you lost all your keys.

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I already have a programmed key, I just need a duplicate – Buick duplicate key cost

Buick Duplicate Key Cost - By Dealer & Automotive Locksmith

Buick Duplicate Key Cost – By Dealer & Automotive Locksmith

 

The price of making a duplicate Buick key is cheaper than making an original key when all keys are lost for two main reasons:

  1. You already have a cut key – That means no need to “pull” a code from the database.
  2. Your car’s computer already “knows” that one key is authorized to start the car and therefore we can use that key to add some more. (Note that not in all models and years it’s possible)

 

Here is the average cost of getting a duplicate Buick key by the dealership and an automotive locksmith:

 

Cost of duplicate a Buick key by the dealer:

These are average costs, as it really depends on the year and model of your Buick car.

Cutting the key: Usually around $20

Programming the key: Usually around $85

Total estimated cost: $105

 

Cost of duplicate a Buick key by an automotive locksmith:

These are average costs, as it really depends on the year and model of your Buick car, your location(as a locksmith will come to you) time of day, etc.

We checked the prices during regular business hours, the same as we did with the dealer, and here are the results:

Cutting the key: Usually around $10

Programming the key: Usually around $75

In addition, an automotive locksmith usually charges a service call or a trip charge which is usually about $50 or you can drive your car to the locksmith shop and save this expanse which we obviously recommend.

Total estimated cost: $85

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