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How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car Key in 2024?

Car loan application with car keys

If you lose your car key, you may have to replace it. How much will this cost you? Are there different costs for replacing a car key? If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’ve come across the right place!

It is common to lose their car keys or misplace them at some point. Or perhaps they don’t work anymore due to advanced age and wear.

Car key replacement prices vary depending on the car model, location, and more! We’ve compiled the average prices of replacing your car key in this article. Also, we’ll provide some insight into the various aspects of replacing your car keys. Keep reading to learn more!

divider 7 Why Do You Need to Replace Your Car Key?

There are several reasons for needing car keys replacement. Some of them include:

1. The car keys are damaged

A damaged car key will not function as it should. It’ll not start your car when you need it to.

Car keys can become damaged due to general wear and tear. They can also get damaged because they have been forced into a lock. If the pins’ positioning is altered, it’ll affect its ability to ignite your vehicle. You will need to replace that key.

Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

2. Your car key may be lost or stolen

If your car key is stolen, you need to think of the security and safety of your vehicle. If someone has access to your car key, they will have access to your car.

That’s why it’s crucial to replace your vehicle key as soon as possible.

3. You want to beef up your vehicle’s security

Since 2019, there has been a slight increase in automotive theft. Many new car models were equipped with sophisticated transponder keys that could be duplicated easily.

It led to a spike in “car cloning.” Thieves would steal one car, and then they would use its key to gain access to other vehicles of the same make and model.

Replacing your key with a new one with an updated security chip can protect you from this risk. It’s true if you own an older model that came with keys that don’t have security chips.

car keys in hand with blue shirt
Image Credit: kaboompics, Pixabay

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Car Key?

While many factors affect pricing, the cost of replacing a car key can range from $25 to $400. Some models require the service of a dealer to reprogram the vehicle’s computer module. It may lead to additional costs depending on where you live.

Here’s a breakdown of car key replacement costs depending on the type of car keys

  • Remote Car Keys: Remote car keys are common in newer vehicles. They have an electronic chip that is programmed to work with the car. You can use them to lock and unlock car doors. Remote keys use a battery in the key fob to operate. Once this battery dies, the lock mechanism will stop working until it’s replaced. Replacing a remote car key costs between $50 and $100. Usually, it depends on the car model and the complexity of the design.
  • Keyless Entry: Keyless entry allows you to unlock your car without inserting the key into the door. The fob transmits a coded signal, usually via radio transmission. A receiver in the car picks up the transmission. It deactivates the car’s central locking system, allowing you to open the doors using handles. Some keyless entry systems will only unlock or lock your doors. Others may need you to press and hold a button for several seconds after unlocking or locking to disarm the alarm. Replacing a keyless entry will cost you around $25 to more than $150.
  • Laser Cut Car Keys: Laser-cut car keys are a high-security type of car key which is used in newer model vehicles. They are also called sidewinder or internal cut keys. They have notches around the side that act as a wafer. Also, they’re cut with a laser instead of traditional milling machines. The primary purpose of these keys is to prevent the theft of high-end cars that use transponder systems and chip keys. The wafer acts as a buffer between the tumbler pins and the cylinder. This way, it makes it more challenging to pick the lock. You only need to contact the brand dealership to replace this type of car key. The replacement cost of laser cut keys is $150 to $250.

Car Key with Transponder Chip

Many newer cars have transponder chips built into their keys. The transponder chip sends a code to your vehicle’s computer when you attempt to start the engine.

The computer cuts off the fuel if a suitable code isn’t received. It makes it impossible to start the car. A car key with transponder chip replacement cost starts from $120.

Car Key
Image Credit: kaboompics, Pixabay

Switchblade Car Keys

Switchblade car keys have a unique design. It makes them easy to use while still having advanced security features.

With this type of key, press a button on top to pop out one end of the key. This way, it looks like a blade. If you want to replace switchblade car keys, be ready to part with $200 to $300.

Here is a summary of the replacement costs of these car keys.

Type Of Car Key Replacement Cost
§  Remote Key $50 to $100
§  Keyless Entry $25 to $150
§  Laser Cut Car Keys $150 to $250
§  Car Key with Transponder Chip $120
§  Switchblade Car Keys $200 to $300

Point to Note:

These car key replacement costs include the cost of labor and programming for car keys that need to be programmed.

car and road divider

Factors Affecting the Cost of Car Key Replacement

Car key replacement costs can be expensive depending on the type of vehicle. Many factors affect how much a car key replacement would cost. So, what are the factors affecting the car key replacement cost?

hand holding car keys
Image Credit: Pixabay

Vehicle Model

The more sophisticated the vehicle model, the more expensive the cost of a replacement key will be. Car keys for older models are easier to cut and program. You pay less than you would if you were replacing a more sophisticated key.

Type of Car Key

The type of car key you have is one factor that affects the cost of replacement car keys. Transponder keys and smart keys are more expensive to replace than simple car keys. It’s because they have complex electronics and computer chips embedded in them.

salesman giving car keys to buyer
Image Credit: 89stocker, Shutterstock

Extra Features

Some vehicles come with extra features such as push-button start, proximity unlocking systems, and remote locking systems. These features add to the overall cost of replacing your car key.

Where you go for Car Key Replacement

You can get car key replacements at a locksmith, dealership, or an online retailer. Each option has its price range and its pros and cons. A locksmith may come to you and complete the service on-site. It can save you money in the long run.

representation of car loan
Image Credit: create jobs 51, Shutterstock

Car Key Replacement Options

Did you know that there are several ways to replace your car keys if you lose them? If you want the hassle-free experience of replacing car keys, you must know some of the most common techniques.

Auto Locksmiths

These professionals specialize in cutting and programming different types of car keys. They can cut any car key including transponder chip keys, switchblade keys, and remote head keys.

Besides, they can program your new key. This way, it works with your vehicle’s alarm system and central locking system. Auto locksmiths provide replacement keys for almost all car makes and models.

They can also repair broken keys or extract jammed ones from the ignition lock if you cannot turn the ignition on.

red toyota corolla car
Image Credit: Goodfreephotos_com, Pixabay

Car Insurance

Call your car insurance provider first. If your car keys have been stolen, your insurer may arrange for a replacement through your breakdown cover.

It pays to know what kinds of benefits you’re getting from your car insurance policy. If you need help replacing your car key, check if your car insurance policy offers coverage for lost car keys.

Some policies even cover the cost of replacing lost keys, provided you have comprehensive car insurance coverage.

Brand Dealership

If you want to get your car key replaced at the brand dealership, the make of your car matters. It’s because different makes and models of cars need different keys. It is also an expensive option because it requires a lot of technicalities.

You would have to visit the dealer with proof of ownership of the car to replace your keys. The advantage of this option is that you will be sure you are getting genuine keys for your vehicle.

red compact car
Image Credit: Piqsels

Local Garages

Maybe the best place to get a replacement for your car key is at your local garage. Some local garages have their key cutting service, where you can get a copy of your car key made at a discounted price.

In some cases, you can even ask to have the locks changed on your car. But some garages are not equipped to make new keys. Most modern vehicles come with specialized keys that are challenging to duplicate.

In most cases, you’ll need to go back to the dealer who sold you the car in the first place or try one of the mentioned options.

divider 7 Conclusion

Car keys are crucial on your key ring. Usually, they cost more to replace depending on various factors as discussed above. If you need a new car key, look at this list of the average car key replacement costs by type.

You can make sure that you’re not over-charged for any replacement costs by ensuring that your locksmith is a reputable company.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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