Remember the days when you could drive to the hardware store and have a new car key cut? Those days are mostly over. Many of today’s cars have a push-button system or keyless entry. The modern key fob is convenient, but it can be expensive to replace.
If you need to replace your car key fob, the information below should help.
What Are The Types Of Car Keys?
Before we dig into how to replace your car key fob, let’s look at the different kinds of keys available:
- Basic key that usually contains a security chip for starting the car and unlocking the door through the lock.
- Ignition key and remote that locks and unlocks the door.
- Key fob with remote to lock and unlock the door, and activate the push-button start.
- Key fob featuring push-button start and keyless entry so you can just leave it in your pocket or purse.
If you work with the dealer, you may pay between $50 and $400 to get a new fob, depending on the vehicle.
Also, you might have to pay another $100 to have the new fob programmed to open and start your vehicle. They also charge extra to have another backup key produced.
If you own a European car, you’ll probably need to pay more for a new fob because they have more advanced key encryption. Bear this in mind when you buy the car so you can get a spare made right away.
How To Get A Less Expensive Key Fob Replacement
It depends on the make and year of the car, but you might be able to do the programming yourself once you have a new fob.
Some car manufacturers give you instructions in the owner’s manual but check online, too. You might need a functioning key fob to do this, which isn’t much help if yours is lost.
That’s why it’s important to purchase and program another key fob in case of an emergency. It also pays off when you sell the car because you’ll get more for your car if you have at least two key fobs.
Another option is to purchase an after-market key fob if the vehicle is at least five years old. This is less expensive than buying a fob from the dealer, but it’s hard to know what you’re getting. Some after-market suppliers are better than others.
Some car owners also contact local locksmiths to see what it will cost. It’s also important to find a locksmith who will drive to you. This option can be less expensive, but find out if they guarantee their work.
Also, the locksmith can’t always program a key fob for every car brand.
Last, always remember to keep a spare key fob in a safe place so you don’t have to go through a huge hassle when you lose your key.
When Should You Go To The Dealer?
Everyone wants to pay less, but this isn’t always the best idea. If you own a vehicle that was made in the last five years, the dealer may be the best way to deal with the issue. Newer cars have more expensive programming needs that some locksmiths and after-market providers don’t have.
For example, a new car from Audi or Suburu won’t work with after-market key fobs. There is a security chip in the Audi fob that you cannot reprogram for another vehicle.
On the other hand, other makes, such as Lexus and Chrysler, say they will try to work with an after-market key fob but there is no guarantee.
If you have lost your key fob and don’t have the spare, the tips above can help you get what you need.