Car Key Replacement Costs

Car Key Replacement Costs

June 24, 2022

Car keys get lost so often you might start to think they could sprout legs and run off. If you have found yourself the unlucky victim of vanishing car keys or damaged car keys, you might be frantic to figure out how to get back on the road.

Older model vehicles are usually a simple fix. These types of keys can be recut fairly easily. But what if you have a newer model car with a programmed key fob? This does get a bit trickier, but thankfully there are talented locksmiths here to assist you. The next question on your mind might be how much this is going to cost you. Let’s take a look at the expense involved in getting a replacement key if your key was lost, stolen, or damaged.

Types of Keys

The price you will pay to have your keys replaced will depend heavily upon what type of key you had. Let’s look at some different types of keys:

Electronic key fob- Many newer model cars have what is called an electronic key fob. This is a specially programmed remote transmitter. Key fobs often allow you to start vehicles without inserting the key at all, remotely. Replacing an electronic key fob can cost from $50 to over $100. The price will depend on the automaker and, of course, how complex the design and programming are. A key fob will need to be programmed. If you’re lucky, your dealership may provide this service for free, but others may charge for the labor of reprogramming.

You can avoid this extra expense if you know how to reprogram the fob yourself. Some vehicle owners’ manuals will explain a specific series of button pushes and key turns in the ignition which will program the fob.

Another option that could save you money, would be to buy an aftermarket fob from a locksmith. Most locksmiths are capable of creating and programming a fob for your vehicle.

Transponder Keys- Another type of key is the transponder key. These are similar to key fobs, but the difference is this type of key has a chip inserted inside. The chip is programmed to communicate with a receiver in the ignition. If the chip is not present, the car will not start.

To get a transponder chip properly programmed, you can visit a dealership. They will have the necessary equipment to create and program a key for you. Another option is to contact a local locksmith to see if they provide this type of service. If they do, it will probably be much more affordable than going to the dealership. At a dealership, this often costs between $150-$200, whereas a locksmith may charge less.

Laser-cut Keys- The third type of key is the laser cut key. The laser-cut key is distinctive due to the way the shank is cut. Laser-cut keys sometimes also have transponder chips as well that will need to be programmed. If you need a laser-cut key, it is a good idea to seek out a certified automotive locksmith or a certified dealership. Laser-cut keys can be somewhat more expensive due to the type of equipment needed to cut them. This type of key may cost between $150-$250 at a dealership. If you can find a locksmith that provides this type of service, you might get a better price.

Switchblade Keys- A switchblade key has a shank that will fold into the key fob when you are not using it. These can either be basic or laser cut. Switchblade keys are made of two components. You can purchase a replacement component separately. For instance, if the fob still works but the shank is damaged, you can just buy the shank. But in case you lost your key altogether, you will likely pay $200-$300 for a replacement at the dealership.

Keyless Entry Remote- This type of key is also known as a smart key. It is basically a remote that will allow you to open doors and start the ignition without even being in the car. In many cases, the only way to replace a smart key will be to go through the dealership and you could look to pay $200-$500 for some top-of-the-line luxury cars.

Bottom Line on Key Replacement Costs

Replacing your lost or damaged key can cost quite a bit at a dealership. You can get a better deal by contacting a local locksmith. At Express Locksmith, we provide key replacement and emergency locksmith services in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas. Contact us today!

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