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Here are some of the most common lost car keys replacement questions. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us anytime. We are here to help!
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Q: I lost my car key, don’t have a spare and need a new one made. Can I get a new car key without the original?
A: Yes. Depends on the type of key you had, you can have a new car key made. In addition, some key required programming and some don’t. Click here to see if your key needs to be programmed.
Q: What to do if you lose your car key, where and how can you get a new one without the original?
Many people who lost the only key for their car and have no spare are faced with a few options about how to get a new car key made. The question is relevant for all type of car keys, including chip car keys and remotes.
Here, we will give an explanation about how to replace your lost key or remotes, the options you have, estimated cost, time, pros and cons of each option and more.
Generally speaking, you have three options:
- Call an automotive locksmith who offers mobile, on-site key replacement services.
- Tow the car to a local dealership or locksmith shop.
- Order a key online and have a dealer or a locksmith cut and program it for you.
1. Call an automotive locksmith who deals with replacement car keys.
An automotive locksmith can make most car keys on site, including chip keys or remotes.
Most automotive locksmiths offer a mobile service since most car keys after the year 2000 needs to be programmed to the car. Therefore, the car has to be present.
In addition, please make sure that the locksmith carries the necessary equipment to make a replacement key and the blank.
Tip: Don’t forget to have the VIN number available in case the automotive locksmith needs it. Many times locksmiths can cut car keys by code, just as the dealer would. In addition, the locksmith can and should be able to program the car key on site if necessary.
Very convenient – Most automotive locksmiths offer mobile service and will come to your location, making you the key on-site at your location.
Fast – a locksmith is usually available 24 hrs. a day.
Price – Most often the cheapest way to go as car key replacement cost is a huge factor.
Availability of keys – Not all automotive locksmiths carry all the key blanks for all makes and models.
In addition, not all of them carry the equipment to program the new car keys. Especially for high-security models.
What to ask when calling an automotive locksmith:
A. How much does it cost for a new car key? – specify the exact year make and model.
B. How long does it take to make a new replacement key, their availability, and form of payment.
2. Order the key online – You can do it right here from Amazon!
Unlike car key replacement services offered by an automotive locksmith, where you don’t know the actual total price, ordering a key online is a good way to handle your budget.
You know exactly how much a new key will cost, including all taxes and fees.
Price – Most chances that this is the cheapest way to get the actual key.
Cutting & Programming – Since the key is a “blank key”, meaning not a cut key, the key that you get still needs to be cut and programmed to start the car.
You still have to call a locksmith or the dealer to do that which will result in an additional charge.
Time – Takes a few days to get the key, plus the time to schedule an appointment or tow the car.
3. Replace your car key at the dealer –
A dealer is a good option if you are in no rush. Most chances it would be a bit more expensive than the locksmith, but you can be sure that you get a new key once you tow the car there.
Availability of car keys – The dealer will have the key for your car. In addition, you can be sure that they will have the necessary equipment to program and cut the key.
Price – The dealer usually charges more than a locksmith to cut and program the key. In addition, the car will need to get to the dealer somehow, which means an additional cost for towing.
Availability – unlike most Locksmiths, the dealers only work at certain hours. Therefore, if you need a replacement key ASAP, this may be a problem.
What is a transponder chip key? Why is it important to know if I had a chip key?
A: A transponder key is a key that has a security chip in it and therefore will have to be programmed to start the car.
Most makes and models, from the year 2000 are equipped with electronic chip key for extra security. The chip is usually located inside the cover at the top of the key and therefore in most cases you will not be able to see it.
However, if you try to start the car, you will not be able to unless the key was programmed before.
This is a security feature that prevents theft by simply copying the key. Hence, an automotive locksmith or the dealer would need to program the key for it to start the car.
In addition, keys that are ordered online will have to be programmed to the car’s computer and for most keys, only a locksmith for cars or the dealer can do that.
Below, a few examples of different transponder key:
Which car keys and key fobs require programming?
A: Most makes and models made after 1998 require some type of programming.
Depends on the make and model, some can be programmed without special equipment. however, most keys and fobs for the car made after 2005 require special programming tools like MVP programming machine to program the key. For more information please visit: https://lost-car-keys-replacement.com/car-keys/
How long does it usually takes to get a replacement car key?
A: To get a replacement key by an automotive locksmith, the process usually takes about an hour, if everything goes well. In addition, if this is a chip key, then a little longer, depends on the make and model of the car.
How can I know if I had a chip key or just a regular key?
In most cases, there is a simple way to determine which key you had. If it was a metal key, probably it was a non-chip key. If you had a key with a cover on the top, most chances you had a transponder/chip key.
In addition, most makes and models car built after the year 2000 have a chip in the key.
Fob car key –
Fob chip car key: Usually looks like some sort of remote. It has a chip in it and therefore will need to be programmed.
Chip car key / Transponder car key
Transponder chip car key: Usually has a black cover at the top of the key. This is where the chip is located and therefore will need to be programmed.
Regular car key –
Non-chip: Usually a simple blank metal key and therefore doesn’t need to be programmed.
How much does it cost to get a new key made for a car or to replace my original key without the original?
A: That depends on the year, make and model of your car. Generally speaking, to replace a car key ranges between $90-$400.
However, that price may vary depends on the availability of code, type of key (chip, fob, “push to start”, remote), your location, time of day and more.
In addition, in case you call an automotive locksmith, make sure they have the necessary equipment to cut and program the key. Alternatively, If you call the dealer, keep in mind the car will probably need to be towed there, which may result in a higher cost overall.
What is a laser cut car key? How can I get a replacement?
A laser-cut key is a term used for high-security car keys. In addition, these keys require a state of the art cutting machine to cut them. Furthermore, they require specific programming that only some locksmiths can do.
Q: Can you explain why there is a difference in cost of replacement keys between different models? What would be the price for a newer model at the dealer VS an automotive locksmith?
A: The price for car key replacement vary depends on the year, make and model. There are mainly two different type of car keys when it comes to replacement key cost:
- Non-transponder chip key – No need to program the key.
- Transponder chip keys – Need to program the key / Remote / Fob
Here we will give an example what the expected price for a key replacement would be:
Non-transponder replacement key cost –
Since these no programming is needed, you can call the dealer to cut you a new replacement key and pick it up at your convenience.
However, in case the ignition was changed before, as may happen with older models, the codes the dealer has on file will not work and therefore the key won’t turn in the ignition.
In addition, important to remember that the dealer has only codes for the original ignition and up to certain years on file. In case the car is too old, it may be a problem to get a replacement key from the dealer.
Estimated cost: Usually around $75 for a new key.
A locksmith usually charges a service fee plus the cost of the parts and labor for a replacement key.
Therefore, you should expect to pay more than the dealer would charge. However, since the cost of a non-transponder chip key is minor you shouldn’t pay much more than the dealer charge and you have the convenience of a solution at your location as many locksmiths offer mobile service.
Estimated cost: Usually around $135.
Transponder chip / “push to start” / fob / remote car replacement key cost:
These type of keys have to be programmed in order to start the car and therefore the car will have to be towed to the dealership which will result in an additional cost.
The estimated cost for a transponder key: Usually around $150 for a new key.
An estimated cost for a remote key: Usually around $350 for a new key.
A locksmith usually charges a service fee plus the cost of the parts and labor for a replacement key. Therefore, you should expect to pay more than the dealer would charge.
However, an automotive locksmith that offers a mobile service can make you the key on site and therefore save you the time, money and hassle of towing the car to the dealer.
The estimated cost for a transponder key: Usually around $250 for a new key.
An estimated cost for a remote key: Usually around $400 for a new key.
Q: What is a fob car key, remote car key, Proxi or “push to start” key? What are the security features and advantages of such key?
A: Key fob or keyless entry remote car key is the latest generation of car keys as far as it concerns to convenience and security.
It allows you to start the car without an actual key that you put in the ignition cylinder. Whenever you are close enough to the remote and the car can communicate with it, it signals the car that it can be turned on simply by push a button that usually looks like that:
In addition, these type of keys contains security features that require programming and therefore it is harder to duplicate those keys.
Furthermore, fob car keys also give you the option to lock and unlock your car without an actual key as they have buttons, just like a remote to lock and unlock the car.
Below, an example of fob/remote/push to start/proxy car key:
Q: What is a “blank” car key?
A: All car keys need to be cut in a certain way to turn the ignition cylinder. A blank car key is an uncut and unprogrammed key.
In addition, blank car keys are usually purchased online. Therefore, the key will have to be cut and in most cases programmed to start the car.
Furthermore, while blank keys are much cheaper than fully operated keys made by a locksmith or a dealership, it is important to keep in mind that if you do purchase a blank key, it still will have to be cut and programmed.
Q: Who can program car keys?
A: All car keys that are equipped with a transponder system, such as remotes, fobs, and most models made after 1998 needs to be programmed to start the car.
In case you had a chip key and you need it programmed your best bet would be either calling an automotive locksmith or tow the car to the dealer.
Automotive locksmiths usually have the necessary equipment to program most car keys.
The dealership should have it as well.
You can get more information here.
Q: Are lost car keys covered by insurance companies such as Geico, State Farm, Allstate or Nationwide? How can I claim lost car keys on my insurance? What type of insurance coverage is necessary?
A: Many times, even though we are not aware of that, our insurance policy may cover the cost or at least portion of the high cost of getting a new replacement car key.
That is, of course, depends on the type of key you had and your insurance coverage.
We did a research and found out that most insurance companies do offer a partial reimbursement for lost car keys, usually up to $150-$200 of the total cost.
In addition, we found out that AAA also cover up to $100 with certain memberships.
Therefore, we would highly recommend calling your insurance agent before deciding how to replace your car keys. The reason is that some insurance companies work with a specific provider and if you choose to do it on your own, it may result in failure to get reimbursement for your expense.
Moreover, even if your insurance policy doesn’t cover replacement car keys it may cover lockout services under emergency roadside assistance coverage, most of the time up to $100. And since most of the time losing your car keys means you are also locked out of the car, there you go, you can get reimbursement!
Furthermore, always, get an invoice for the money you spent and submit it to your insurance company, even if you didn’t call them before. Many insurance companies will reimburse you nonetheless!
In conclusion, it is always a good idea to call your insurance agent in case you lost your car keys. It may save you a lot of time and money!
Here are some useful links:
Q: What are aftermarket car keys replacement? Are they safe to use? How can I know if my key is an original key or an aftermarket key?
A: Aftermarket car keys are key blanks, or remotes, that are not original from the manufacturer. Therefore, they may not have an original logo on them, and if not bought from a trusted source, may cause some issues with the car’s security and more.
However, that doesn’t mean that they are not a good quality keys and you shouldn’t be afraid of using them, depends of course where you got them from.
First, let us understand when will we use those keys and how it may affect the safety and security of our cars.
When you lose your car keys and need a replacement, you have three options and mention above. Order the key online, go to the dealership or calling a locksmith.
When you go to the dealership most chances are they will use an original key or remote so there shouldn’t be any problem there. A problem may occur when you order the key online or using a local locksmith service to get a replacement.
What are the risks of using an aftermarket key VS an original key?
Like anything that is not original, especially with newer transponder keys and remote which requires programming, an aftermarket key that is not of a good quality may not start the car.
In addition, it may start the car for a month or two and then won’t function anymore.
Moreover, we have received confirmation from our locksmiths that sometimes a key may cause problems with the car’s computer and alarm.
Therefore, before you are ordering a key online or use a locksmith it is better if you make sure the following:
- What brand is the aftermarket key – Using a licensed locksmith or a reputable one may significantly reduce the chances they use keys that are not of a good quality. In addition, you can ask them if they use an original key or a trusted aftermarket brank like Ilco. It may cost a bit more, but well worth the price.
- What warranty do they offer if the key won’t work in a week or month time – A seller on Amazon.com or a reputable locksmith should offer at least two months warranty of the keys or service.
- What is their refund policy in case you have an issue with the key blank – Please keep in mind that once the key is cut, they may not be able to refund you your money.
Please keep in mind that all of the issues that may occur will be with transponder car keys and remotes, as those require programming. Older models, made before 1996 do not require programming and you shouldn’t be worried about the aftermarket key.
Second, after we figured out how and from who we may get the aftermarket key, we have to make sure programming is done accordingly as it may cause issues if not done right.
Who should program the new key?
- The dealership – They should have all the machines and necessary knowledge to do that. The only downside is that the car will need to be towed there.
- A locksmith – Locksmith should have the necessary equipment as well to program the new key or remote. However, it would be wise to ask before calling for service.
Q: Does Home Depot or Lowes make car keys? Can I get a new car key or a spare made there?
A: Home Depot and Lowes, as well as other department stores, can make some duplicates or spare keys for cars. However, it depends on the make and model, or more important on the type of key you had.
Regular car keys for older models, usually before 1996, can be duplicated without the need for programming the key and therefore can easily be duplicated at the department store.
However, remote keys, transponder keys, chip keys, push to start etc require programming and therefore cant be made at the department store.
Finally, before spending your time and money, make sure your car key doesn’t require programming. In case it does, the dealer of a local locksmith is your only option.
Q) What is VIN number of the car? What does it mean? Can I use it to get a replacement key and how?
A: VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number and it consists of series of number and letters, 17 altogether.
It is located on the driver side on the dashboard near the mirror and you can easily read it even if the car is locked from outside through the windshield.
The VIN gives us useful information about the car such as the year it was made, the country it was made and more.
When we want to get a replacement key, the dealer or locksmith will probably ask you for it so they can know if the key you had was a transponder key, regular key, and whether or not it needs to be programmed.
Two numbers and letters are especially relevant:
The first character represents the country of origin.
The 10th character represents the model year, or when it was made.
These two characters are important since they will indicate whether or not the replacement key needs to be programmed.
Therefore, when you call around or want to get information about a replacement or spare key, make sure you have your VIN handy, as you will need it.