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Replace car keys

replaceReplacing a Car Key

When a car key stops working or is lost, the cost to replace the key can be surprisingly expensive. Since time is of the essence when a car cannot be driven due to the loss of a key, understanding the best options when a car key needs to be replaced is essential.

What To Do Before Ordering a Replacement Key

Anyone who needs to order a new key for their car will need to prove that they are the owner of the car, so the locksmith or online company supplying the key will ask for the VIN. This number is typically visible on the dashboard without the need to enter the vehicle.

Replacement car keys can be ordered online, from a car dealership or through a locksmith who specializes in car keys. Costs and wait times vary according to the source of the key. Ordering a key online may be convenient, but the wait time may be unreasonable for someone who does not have a second key to use while waiting for the replacement.

The Cost of a Replacement Car Key

The exact cost of replacing a car key will depend on the type of key. Simple keys that are used for older vehicles can cost under $10, but most cars use a key fob that electronically locks and unlocks the vehicle. Because of the additional labor costs and materials associated with replacing these types of keys, the cost to replace a modern key fob will be more expensive.

Dealerships tend to charge more for replacement keys than locksmiths. For example, replacement of a transponder and fob at a dealership can run over $200 between labor costs and the key itself, but a locksmith will likely charge approximately 10 percent less for the key and service.

Ordering a basic key to save money is an option, but this takes away the safety feature of the transponder chip.

The decision ultimately rests on what a driver can currently afford. A basic key can be purchased immediately if finances are tight, and a more modern key can be made when the driver can afford it.

Ensuring That a New Key Is Needed

If a key is presumed broken and is not lost, it is possible that a new key is not necessary. The cost of a new car key makes it worthwhile to make absolute certain that the key cannot be fixed before purchasing a new one.

• The issue could be as simple as a dead battery in the key fob. The solution is an inexpensive replacement battery. The battery that is used in a key fob is very specific to the fob, so information about a particular key will need to be found online. Locksmiths can also answer questions related to batteries in key fobs, and batteries can be purchased online or from a locksmith who specializes in car keys.

• Repairs to the vehicle itself that involve the electrical system in any way could cause the key fob to malfunction. Information about resetting the fob after the electrical system has been altered can be found in the owner’s manual.

• Sometimes a reprogramming is needed instead of a brand new key. As with resetting, the instructions for reprogramming a key fob will be found in the owner’s manual. It can be a confusing process, so some people prefer to seek assistance from a Bakersfield locksmith.

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