How Much Does It Cost To Copy and Replace a Car Key?
Most time we never realize how valuable our car keys really are until we lost them or they start malfunctioning and we could use them to drive our cars. Regardless of what type of key you have – normal cut key or a transponder key, your car key is your ticket to make sure you stay mobile, and if it isn’t around, then you are stuck. And this may lead you to start asking how to replace a lost car key or how much it does cost to copy or replace a car key.
However, losing your car doesn’t mean that is the end to the car, there are a variety of options available to you to replace your lost or malfunctioning car key. While copying or replacing a car key can be really expensive in some cases, that doesn’t mean there are not some instances where you can replace your car key with small money.
In this article, we will be highlighting some simple steps you need to follow when you lose your car keys or when they start malfunctioning. You will also see the cost range of copying or replacing a car key.
STEPS TO FOLLOW TO COPY OR REPLACE YOUR CAR KEY
Steps for Replacing an Older Car Key
It is much easier and cheaper to replace the keys of cars that are old or have a simpler making. If your car doesn’t use an electronic or transponder key, here are the simple steps you should follow to get a replacement for your lost key:
#1: Get the VIN number of the car
It is very important you have the vehicle identification number of the car so you can easily find someone to help you with the key replacement. The VIN is in most cases, located on the dashboard (driver’s side) and you can easily see that through the window. It can also be written on the door jam, the front of the engine block, or on the frame of the car right between the windshield washer and the carburetor.
If you are not sure where to find your vehicle’s VIN, you can also look it up on the insurance information of the car. It is a 17-digit letter/number and doesn’t contain the letters I, O, and Q – so don’t get confused when you see it.
#2: Write down the car’s model and make
All cars don’t use the same type of keys. Car keys vary depending on the make and model of the car. So irrespective of the option you will be using to get a replacement for your car key, you will need to know the make and model of the car. This information will help you get the exact key your car needs to work.
#3: Call a nearby auto locksmith
This is often the most recommended option as locksmiths will generally give you the best deal on a new key. You can get it for about half the amount you will pay to get the key from a dealer or your manufacturer. So contact a professional locksmith to help you out. They are often equipped with the necessary tools and machinery to make a copy or replacement for your key. The older your car, the better chance a locksmith will be able to copy or replace the key.
A professional auto locksmith is able to make you a new key fob if that is what you have lost. They can also reprogram the replacement key.
Steps for replacing a new electronic car key
#1: Check your car insurance or warranty to see if key replacement is covered in it
If your vehicle is a high-end type of vehicle, you may need to contact the manufacturer or distributor to get a key replacement. In this case, your warranty may be able to get you some discounts. Ensure you have all the vehicle’s information, a valid photo ID to the dealership.
#2: Visit your local locksmith
An auto locksmith may be able to program a new electronic key for you, depending on the sophistication of the car. Many new car keys do have a microchip which often makes it difficult to duplicate such keys. Depending on your area, you might get a replacement for a key with a transponder in it at a locksmith between $50 and $120.
#3: Buy an aftermarket replacement car key
If you search on the internet, you will find several options you can explore to replace electronic car keys via aftermarket electronic car keys. Most times, you will be able to get a new key for a far cheaper amount compared to when you use a dealer – you can pay about 75% less. However, even if you buy an aftermarket car key, you will still need to get it cut and programmed. So when going for this option, ensure you consider the prices for that in your area before you purchase one.
#4: Get new keys from your dealer
This is usually a very expensive option and could cost about $200 and more. But if you have the extra cash to spare and you need the keys urgently it is not a bad option to consider. Visit your dealer and get a replacement key almost immediately.
Now that you know the options available to you when you are looking to copy or replace your lost car key, we should now talk about how much it costs to copy or replace a car key.
How Much It Cost To Copy Or Replace A Car Key?
Here are the typical costs of getting your keys replaced:
- Whenever you lost your keys or locked out of either your home or vehicle, you can have a locksmith come help you with a key replacement, but the cost varies depending on some factors. Such factors include your area or location, the type of car it is, the type of key, and what time of the day it is. However, you should expect a minimum charge which is also called a mobile fee of about $35 to $150 for coming to your place.
Evening services or services during the weekend or holidays can go as high as $150-$250, depending on how much time the locksmith spent with you and what area you are located.
- To copy or replace a standard key, a locksmith typically charges about $1.50 to $4, but this cost may go up if it were to be for a specialized key. It may cost between $3 to $20 or more. And if your vehicle is the type that uses keys with an electronic or transponder chip, replacing such keys may cost you around $50-$175.
- Do you need a locksmith to come to your house to re-key your door locks too, you should expect to be charged around $40-$100.
What Should You Look Out For In A Locksmith?
Above all things, you need to make sure the locksmith you are trusting to copy or replace your car key is a licensed locksmith. Locksmith licensing does vary from one state to the other. While some state requires that a locksmith passes an exam before getting licensed, some simply require them to pay a licensing fee. However, a professional locksmith should have a substantial investment in inventory and equipment. He should also have a good experience working with a variety of key types.
What Additional Costs Should You Expect?
It is very important that you ask detailed questions about what is included in your estimates, especially when you are getting such estimates over the telephone. If you failed to do this, you might be ending up with a much bigger bill than you had earlier expected.
For instance, a car owner requested that a locksmith come to his location to replace his car keys because he was locked out due to lack of the key. He was quoted $65 on phone for the job, but he ended up with a bill that amounted to $200. In addition to the service, he was also billed for some extra services which were not earlier included in the quote.
So to avoid this type of scenario, make sure you ask to know every detail about the service a locksmith is about to render to you.
Shopping For a Locksmith
- In a situation where you have lost your car keys and need a replacement, it is recommended that you search for professional locksmiths around you. They often have the right equipment to cut a new key for you and program your car without wasting time, and at affordable fees.
- If possible, call several locksmiths and ask what their individual rate is. But ensure you give all the details they need so they can be fully aware of the type of issue in your hands. Let them know what your car type is – the model and the make, the type of key you use, and whether you lost the key or forgot it somewhere else.
- After deciding to go with a couple of the locksmith – which seem to offer the service at a lower cost, you need to ask about such locksmith’s experience and training. Ask if the company is insured or not, and whether there will be any additional charges for off-business hour services.
- When the locksmith finally arrives, ask for identification and if possible, his license too. The locksmith may also ask to see your ID so he can verify that you are the true owner of the car.