How Do You Get a Replacement Key Made for Your Car?

replacement-key-made-car Credit: John Loo/CC-BY 2.0

Replacement keys for a car can be made by a locksmith or purchased from a dealership. Basic car keys and aftermarket fobs can be made by a locksmith, whereas other key types must be purchased at the brand dealership.

Old car keys are easily replaced by locksmiths, as they do not require special machinery or programming. The car key shank can be replicated by copying the grooves from the original key. However, modern car keys are equipped with pre-programmed, electronic key fobs. Replacing a modern car key is expensive due to the programming aspect and can cost up to $90. Aftermarket fobs sold by locksmiths are inexpensive and of average quality.

For transponder car keys, the fob unit and transmitter chip can come as a single unit or two separate units. If it is a single unit, the spares are usually available only with the brand dealers, but can be expensive. If they are separate units, the transmitter chip can be discarded and a simple replacement car key fashioned by a locksmith.

Laser-cut keys are primarily replaceable at dealerships, as they require special cutting equipment. Switchblade keys have attachable components, and the spares can be bought separately at the locksmith’s or programmed at the brand dealers. Smart keys can be replaced and reprogrammed only at the dealerships, as they require specific code grabbers with advanced programming features.