Is It Expensive To Replace Car Keys?

Like most other small items, car keys have a tendency to vanish; and while this might not have been the biggest issue a few decades back, what with the simplicity with which one could obtain spare keys at a local hardware store, recent advancements in automobile technology have complicated the problem.

The features that have augmented the security of today’s vehicles have also brought about a hike in the cost of car key replacement.

Is It Expensive To Replace Car Keys?

When it comes to replacing car keys the question of cost will come down the type of car key in question; different car keys will constitute different technology, hence a nuance in the processes involved with replacing them when they are either lost or damaged:

-Basic Keys

The most basic car keys have no noteworthy security features to speak off; often little more than a piece of metal with cuts and grooves, there is no additional equipment required to make copies of keys such as this, this being the reason the job can be done for $3 or less.

When it comes to modern vehicles though, one must take into account the presence of an electric fob attached to the key, for which one can expect to part with up to $90 to replace, this including a fee for any programming required.

-Transponder keys

Transponder keys possess a special chip within the key’s plastic head which is designed to emit a signal detected by a receiver in the ignition, purposed to ensure that only the right key will start the vehicle. A transponder key is typically a basic key with a chip in the fob. The chip will require programming, bringing the price up to $200 to replace a transponder and electronic fob key unit for high end car models.

It is often cheaper to deal with a locksmith than a car dealership. Some people have been known to order replacement transponder keys without the chip; the basic key will do everything you need it to do besides actually starting the vehicle.

It is possible to purchase a transponder key and instead program the chip yourself using the vehicle’s manual, saving you the $10-$20 you would have to cough up to a car dealership to program the chip.

-Laser Cut Keys

Laser cut keys have thicker shanks than the typical basic key, and will often boast less curved out grooves as well; laser cut keys require special machines to create, the kind the typical locksmith doesn’t have.

And because they have inbuilt transponder chips, they will require programming before they can execute their task effectively. Laser cut keys are enjoying a considerably amount of popularity, despite the fact that they are quite expensive, no matter the car model in question.

Taking into account labor costs and the special machinery required. Replacing a laser cut key will cost anywhere between $150 and $250.

-Switch Blade keys

Like a switchblade knife, the shank of a switch blade key can slide into the fob, popping out with the press of a button; whether laser cut or basic, switch blade keys do not come as a unit and can be purchased separately; which means in case of damage, one can purchase the shank to fit into their surviving fob at $60.

Though in the case that you need both shank and fob the cost leaps to $200-$300; this including the cost of programming.

-Smart keys

These are not keys as the term is understood; rather they are just fobs that can be inserted into a designated area to achieve their purpose; though many times even this is unnecessary, with many smart keys capable of starting or stopping the car with the press of a button.

By utilizing rolling security codes, smart keys provide an additional layer of security designed to complicate the lives of hackers. Each smart key emits a signal with a code that the vehicle must recognize and verify before allowing the wielder of the key to start the engine.

Most high end models of vehicles today utilize smart keys; the most efficient method of replacing one’s car keys today is to visit their local locksmith. The prices are often cheap for the reliable services provided.

This option isn’t available with smart keys; one will have to visit a dealership, and they can expect to fork out up to $400 to acquire a replacement.

Sameeha