How to Lower Your Car Key Replacement Cost

As technology advances, so do car keys. While sophisticated car key technology has made stealing cars harder, it also makes owners shell out more money for key replacement when the current one gets lost or breaks. This article lists some alternative ways that could lower the cost of car key replacement.

Standard Keys and Fobs

The cost of key fob remote replacement depends on the make, model, and year of the car. The complexity of the design also affects the replacement cost. Programming existing key fobs is sometimes free at the dealership, although some may charge for the labor. For the most part, car key replacement service can go between $50 and $150.

Remember, though, that most vehicles’ owner’s manual includes instructions on reprogramming the key fob. The process varies from vehicle to vehicle, but you should be able to do it. Alternatively, you can find step-by-step instructions specific to your car’s make and model on the internet. This is a good way if you want a way around the key replacement cost.

Transponder Keys

Some vehicles integrate the transponder key and fob into one unit that is also the car key, which means if you lose one, you will have to replace both of them. Dual key fobs are not cheap to replace, plus the places where you can have them replaced are limited. The price for replacing a basic transponder key is around $160, with an additional $75 for the fob.

It would be prudent to order an extra basic car key without the transmitter. This spare key can save you a lot of money in case you leave your keys inside the car. You can also save money on programming if you have a third spare key that you can program on your own. This is advisable if you are the type of person who always forgets or loses your keys.

Laser-Cut Keys

Laser-cut keys are more expensive than the standard metal keys because they are created using a high-tech machine and have increased functionality. Laser-cut keys come with built-in transponder chips. Your old key is needed in order to program the chip, which is an added expense.

Additionally, laser-cut keys typically need to be programmed at the dealership. Parts and labor included, the charge can range from $150 to $250. You have the option of contacting a specialist locksmith to cut and program your keys instead, as auto locksmith companies generally charge less than dealerships.

Switchblade Keys

Switchblade key fobs are great because if they get damaged, you can replace the individual components without replacing your key entirely. Switchblade key shanks sell for about $60 to $80 online, and they are readily available at hardware stores. It is a slight advantage but a significant one that would save you money if you run into problems.

If you lose your key, you will need to replace both the key and fob into which it folds. The cost of programming both components can go between $200 and $300. An auto locksmith can replace one, or both components should yours break, but it costs a bit more than basic car keys.

Keyless Entry Remote

Smart keys get rid of the need for car keys by using a proximity sensor or radiofrequency to unlock the car door. They are handy and small, but that also makes them easy to misplace.

The complexity of smart keys makes them difficult and expensive to replace. The cost of replacing and reprogramming smart keys depends on the make and model of the vehicle, somewhere between $220 and $500. Auto locksmiths are known to program smart keys at more affordable rates.

When your car keyfob or smart key fails, call Kardo Lock and Security for auto locksmith services. Their emergency locksmith Los Angeles team is always ready to get you back on the road. Wherever you are in Los Angeles, they will come to your service.

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