How Do You Replace a Lost Car Key?

Tetra Images/n/a/Getty Images

Car owners replace lost keys through an auto dealership or an auto locksmith who specializes in cutting and programming vehicle keys. Some websites sell discount car keys and fobs, which need to be programmed either by the owner or by a dealership or locksmith.

The type of key affects the process and cost of replacement. Vehicles manufactured before the mid 90s typically have a basic key that any locksmith or dealership should be able to cut. Vehicles built after this time often include a chip in the key itself or include a key fob. Newer keys combine the key and fob in one unit. These keys cost more to replace and may only be available at dealerships. Some vehicle models allow owners to program keys on their own, while others are more complicated and may require a dealership or locksmith.