Best Ways to Get Replacement Car Keys
While replacing a lost car key before 1995 was easy, fast and cheap, when cars keys used no transponder chips nor were they programmed to specific car models, today it’s an entirely different story. You can’t just have a spare key made at your local key cutter for less than $20, as car keys have advanced technologically.
Technological advances in these modern car keys provide so many advantages over regular keys. The transponder technology offers additional security, remote unlock of the doors and ease of starting the car (keyless start on more recent models). Advantages like these can certainly make owning a car an enjoyable experience, but only until you damage or lose your car key and find out how much that sloppiness of yours could cost.
On top of all that, car key replacement is also one of the most frustrating experiences for car owners, especially for those who have no spare key. You have to postpone any plans you may have had for the day, even if you were planning to go on a road trip or summer vacation with your car. Then you have to look for someone who will fix it for you and fix it at a reasonable cost.
We all get sloppy at times. The only difference is, some of us lose a cent and others their car key. But worry not, even if you belong in the latter group. No matter how frustrating and expensive it can be, what’s most important is that there are several different ways to replace car keys. We list the 4 best ways to get replacement car keys for both old and new car models, without spending a fortune.
Buy a New Set from the Car Dealer
If the price does not concern and you want the best of quality, the ideal solution would be to buy a new car key set from the car dealer. While car dealers can make it easy and fast to forget you’ve ever lost your car key, the service bill can surely be unforgettable as they could charge you over $200. The reason for their expensive service is because they will do a lot of reprogramming and re-coding in order to allow the key to work with your car. And if $200 were not too big of a cost for a car key replacement, the cost for keys for more recent models can go up to $500.
Call a Local Auto Locksmith
Buying a new set from your car dealer is certainly the most expensive solution, but thanks to auto locksmiths, you can get a new car key at a greatly reduced price. In addition to being one of the cheapest ways to replace your lost key, locksmiths can do the job the quickest. Most locksmiths are equipped with highly advanced equipment, so they are prepared to open any car and make a new key for just about every car, as well as reprogram it.
Although there may be instructions on how to reprogram your car key in your car’s manual, locksmiths may offer you their assistance. However, you need to provide the year, make and model of your car, the VIN (vehicle identification number) as well as to prove ownership of the car before the locksmith can take any action. If you believe that your car key has been stolen, tell your locksmith so they can make sure that the old key won’t work.
Buy a New Replacement Key or Key Fob Online
Another way you can replace your car key is to look for key replacement on the Internet. There are countless of sales pages and websites that offer heavily discounted replacement keys. Try to find an auction at eBay or a good deal at Amazon, and you may get your car key replacement for a very low cost. When you find one for your car model, you will need to find someone who will cut and program it, unless you program it yourself. If you don’t know how to program it or have no instructions provided in your car’s manual but you want to do it yourself, try searching online for instructions and tutorials. This can be the cheapest way if you do it yourself.
Check if Key Replacement is Covered by Your Car Insurance
Speaking of recent models, most of them come with a high-tech car key that is impossible to be replaced by anyone, save for the car’s manufacturer or official distributor. The good thing about new models is that their car insurance or warranty usually covers a key replacement. However, while some policies provide replacement keys as standard with fully comprehensive cover, some do only partially and others do not at all. If you were lucky to have it covered by your car insurance or warranty, you’ll have a replacement key at a heavily discounted price or at zero cost.
Four Different Ways, Four Different Prices, What Should I Do?
As you have probably noticed, these four ways to replace your car key we have listed all come at different prices, although they provide same or identical results. So how can you know which way is the right for you: the do-it-yourself method, to call a local locksmith, to purchase online or to purchase from your car dealer? It depends on your skills and abilities as much as it depends on your budget you’re willing to spend on new key. Each option has its own pros and cons, but if you want to make the deal that provides a great balance between trust, quality and value for your money, go for a locksmith.
“What makes locksmiths a preferable car key replacement choice?”
First of all, locksmiths offer much better and more competitive pricing than car dealers. Second of all, they sell quality equipment and protect you from devious third parties who may try to benefit during your times of distress. And lastly, they can finish the job much quicker, as some car dealers may have you waiting for up to 10 days.
“Do I need my original key?”
No, it is absolutely irrelevant whether you have your original key or not, as locksmiths and car dealers can provide key replacements without it. What you do need is proof of vehicle ownership. However, if you have your original key, you will speed up the key replacement process.
“Do I need to contact my car dealer to request new car key?”
Yes, you can, but you don’t have to. If you want more competitive pricing, a locksmith can do the job as well as your car dealers. Most locksmiths can purchase key blanks for any car make and car model available on the market.