How to Order New Car Keys
Car keys are important. They unlock doors, open trunks, and allow you to get where you're going. But sometimes, we lose our keys. And even worse, we forget where we left them. Panic might set in when you realize you lost car keys!
It's not fun losing your keys, especially if you're driving somewhere. Luckily, there are many solutions available to help you find your keys. In this article, we will cover the steps you need to take to order a new key and answer if it's better to get it at the dealership or local locksmith.
How to Get Key Replacement for Your Car
Replacing car keys isn't usually difficult. However, there are some things you need to consider before you start looking for replacements. You don't want to spend money on something that won't work. So let's take a look at the different types of car keys and what you'll need to do to find one that works for you.
There are three main types of car keys: mechanical, electronic, and transponder. Mechanical keys are still used today because they're reliable and durable. Electronic keys are becoming increasingly popular now because they're easier to use and less expensive than mechanical keys. Transponders are newer technology and are replacing mechanical keys. They're smaller, cheaper, and easier to use.
- Traditional Mechanical Key - Mechanical keys require a lot of maintenance. To make sure your keys work properly, you'll need to clean them regularly and lubricate them once every few months. If you keep up with this routine, you shouldn't have problems with your keys working well for many years.
- Electronic Key - Electronic keys aren't quite as simple to maintain. Your battery needs to be replaced every 2 years. If it dies, you'll have to buy another set. Also, most batteries wear out over time. After a certain number of uses, the battery becomes weak and doesn't hold enough power to operate your vehicle.
- Transponder Fobs (Remote) - These keys are small and lightweight. They're very convenient to use and are virtually maintenance free. But they come with a price tag. A transponder costs anywhere from $200-$400. And unlike mechanical keys, you'll probably have to pay for each replacement.
If you've lost your car keys, you might be able to purchase a replacement key online. Many companies sell replacement keys for around $20. But keep in mind that these keys are generic and won't fit every specific make or model. So it's important to check the brand name of your car before buying a replacement.
You can also try searching for your car keys online. Most manufacturers post pictures of their keys. If you can identify yours, you can purchase a replacement online.
Benefits of a Traditional Car Key
A traditional car key works well if you don't lose it. But what happens if you misplace it? You might want to consider one of these options.
There are many ways to replace lost keys. For example, you could make a spare key that matches the lock type and make a copy of the original key. Since there are no electronics associated with the key, it's easy to replace IF you have another key to copy. You could buy a replacement key online but you will need to provide proof of ownership.
This way, you always know where it is. However, this option isn’t very practical because you’d need to carry around a physical copy of the key.
Another option is to cut a hole in the door or have a locksmith open up your window. Then, you could put a piece of paper over the hole and tape it down. When you need to open the door, you can pull the paper away.
The next thing you could do is call a locksmith. They could come out and install a new lock. This costs money but it's a worthy investment.
Safest Route but Most Expensive: Your Local Dealership
While a locksmith charges less than the average dealership, the Dealership usually charges a premium for services because they make up a good portion of their revenue from their service department. You will be requested to show proof of ownership in order to request a key replacement. This is usually in the form of the registration or the title of the car.
But if you do purchase it there, you might find yourself paying more than what you would have paid at another location. But this is the safest route if you are not too familiar with cars.
Head to a locksmith
On the other hand, you can save money if you choose to hire an independent locksmith. Many dealerships advertise themselves as being able to provide everything from car keys to high-end security systems. However, many of those services aren’t actually offered by dealerships. An independent locksmith offers a full array of services, including installing deadbolts and door knobs, repairing broken locks, rekeying locks, and even replacing lost keys.
Most locksmiths are honest, hardworking individuals. They want to earn a living just like everyone else, and they understand that customers expect good customer service. So, they work hard to ensure that every job goes smoothly, and they always try to exceed expectations.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Key Fob?
Replacing a lost key fob isn't cheap. Depending on the model year and type of the key fob, replacement costs range anywhere from $50 - $200. If you're looking to replace a key fob, here are some things to consider.
The most common types of key fobs include push button models or electronic fobs with blades. All electronic fobs use a small battery to power the device. However, some newer display key fobs require charging the unit weekly.
These fobs usually come with buttons to lock and unlock your car. More advanced fobs can start your car and have it self park. Some models even allow you to program up to four different codes.
Key Fob Programming
Every dealer I spoke to said that they wouldn't program a key fob without proof of ownership. This is exactly what your dealership will tell you. You will need to bring your vehicle's registration.
Regarding independent locksmiths, some locksmiths may program a key, but they'll need to see a working remote to do it. If you're buying online, the seller will typically ask for a high resolution photo of your key in order to make a copy from it. The programming can be done with a local locksmith or with DIY solutions like Tom's Keys or Maxxis Key MK908P Autel scanner.
Key Fob Battery Replacement
Most key fobs come with a standard set of batteries, but it’s important to keep one or two extra batteries on hand. The typical battery sizes are CR2032 and CR2025. These are readily available at your local Dollar Store if you want to save a little cash.
If you don’t have a spare battery, you can buy one online or at most auto parts stores for around $10-$20. You’ll want to make sure you know how to change the battery yourself, though, because many people end up damaging their vehicles by trying to do it themselves. Here’s what you need to know.
STEP ONE: Remove the old battery
Look at your key fob and there should be a back door. You can quickly search YouTube for How to replace a battery for your make can model. Once you remove the cover, you will easily see the type of battery your fob takes.
STEP TWO: Replace the battery
Once you’ve removed the door, remove the old battery and be sure to pay attention to the orientation. Since the fob has a memory, you will want to quickly replace the battery with the new one. Ensure that it's secure and check for the polarity.
Replace the cover and head to your car. You can now test the lock and unlock buttons. Most of the time, the fob will work as usual. If not, you might have to reprogram your fob to your car. You can also YouTube this process as well.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Car Key Copy Made?
Getting a copy of your car key made is usually pretty quick. Most companies offer same day service, and it takes less than 24 hours to receive your replacement keys. But what happens after that? How long does it take to get your new keys made?
Depending on your make and model, you might have to wait a few days to a week to get your replacement. For example, I had to wait a week to get my replacement key from Germany since it comes directly from the manufacturer. However, Toyotas and Hondas can be made pretty easily since these are common cars.
What Will Your Locksmith Need to Know?
Locksmiths are always busy, especially during the holiday season. If you're looking for one near you, here are some things you'll want to know ahead of time.
1. What Should I Expect When Calling Them?
A good locksmith will arrive within 30 minutes to an hour of your call. They will ask questions about what type of lock you have, how many keys you have, and whether you've lost access to your vehicle. Most will offer to help you find the key you need. Some will even come out to look at your door.
2. How Much Does it Cost?
The cost depends on where you live, the complexity of your job, and how much work needs to be done. A basic repair could run $50-$100; a replacement key runs around $150-$200. More complex jobs like rekeying or replacing deadbolts might cost several hundred dollars.
3. Who Can Do This Work?
Most reputable companies offer 24/7 emergency service, meaning they can respond to calls at any time. However, most won't do routine maintenance unless you pay extra. You may want to check reviews online before hiring someone.
Gather your information
Locksmiths need to gather certain information before they start working on your vehicle. This includes the make, model, date built, year, VIN number, and other details. Before you hand over your keys, ask your locksmith what he needs to do to ensure your safety. If it’s not clear, ask again.
Final Thoughts on Lost Car Keys
It can be very frustrating in terms of getting a replacement key for your car, especially if you are in a pinch and need your car asap. Your best bet is to go to your local dealership to get an official replacement. You could try places like Home Depot but they are limited in their capabilities in reprogramming the fob. You can get a key cut but most cars need the fob to communicate to the ECU.
Again, if you lost your car keys, don't panic. There are many ways to replace them, including calling a locksmith, using a replacement key finder, or even buying a new set online. But before you go down any of those roads, first check your pockets, purses, and glove compartments. And if you still can't find them, try the options we covered.
In an emergency the best bet is a locksmith. They're usually very affordable, and they'll come right over to your house and get you resolved quickly.