car keys lost

Lost my car keys – The cost & How to get Replacement Keys Fast

In Electric by Magnus Sellén1 Comment

car keys lostIf you own a car then at some point you have probably lost your car keys. It can be frustrating losing your car keys when you are in a hurry to get to work or it’s an emergency.

In fact, car keys get lost most of the time when you need them the most. If you want to avoid this from happening the number one solution is to get a spare key.

But, if you are reading this I will assume you do not have one or are miles away from your spare key.

Keyless Remote keys

Keys have changed. In the old days, you needed a physical key to gain entry to your car. Today we have keyless entry locks. All you need is press the unlock button and you have access to your car. The ignition has also been modified and you no longer need a key to turn it on. Just press a “start/stop button”. The keys use some wireless form of communication.

As you approach the car, the internal computer takes note and the doors open. Losing such kind of keys makes it hard to break into the car. This type of keys has become very expensive to replace with replacement costs rising to over $600 for the Toyota Prius.

The keys have a transponder which is programmed to only respond to a particular key. When you lose the key you will have to contact your dealer who charges anything between $300 to BMW $500. The quoted prices will depend on the car model. The cheaper way is to purchase the key from the internet but you will have to wait for delivery and subsequent delivery. If everything fails you will be forced to change the car’s electronics.

Traditional keys

This are pretty easy to make spare keys. Although the car is less secure with the lock system, you can get replacement keys fast unlike the keyless remote keys.

Check your surrounding

Do not get replacement keys the moment you realize you can’t find your car keys. If you search your surroundings while recollecting where you last had your keys the probability of finding them increases. Keys misplacement is very common. It could be your where heading to the bathroom and left them on the sink or in another room. In most cases, if you search well you will locate your lost keys.
One primary place people forget their keys is in the ignition. You are probably in a hurry and after switching off the engine you forget to remove the keys and leave them in the ignition.

Locksmith/Dealer

Once you have concluded that your keys are actually lost your next step is to find a locksmith. This person will make you a replacement key. You will need to give him your car model, year of manufacture and the type of lock. Try to describe it in as much detail as possible. Most locksmiths are familiar with car locks system, so do not be shocked if they already have a preassembled key that resembles your lost one.

Alternatively, your car dealer could also sort you out with a replacement key. If the person making your replacement key is not trustable you may need to change your entire car locking system.

Local garage

While garage technicians are not key experts you can try them out after running out of options. They often do not keep the expensive diagnostic equipment popular with locksmiths. But, they can offer a replacement.

Tips when going for a replacement key

  • The VIN is a special number that is used to identify a car model. The VIN is located on the front engine block, on the side of the dashboard from the driver’s side or on the rear wheel. The locksmith to identify the right replacement key for your car through the VIN. You identify the number due to its 17 digits.
  • For vehicle programming ensure that you carry with you the car manufacture year, make and model.
  • The most affordable for car keys replacement is your local auto locksmith. In some cases they charge almost half what you would get from a car dealer or the manufacturer. Most locksmith stock sophisticated key replacement machines and once they inspect your car they will find you a replacement in no time.
  • For keyless systems check the manufacturer’s manual for instructions on how to reprogram your key. When having your key reprogrammed remember to carry with you the key fobs. This are crucial during programming and the new key may refuse to work without them.
  • When replacing an electronic key ensure that it is covered by the warranty/insurance. In this case you will need to head to the dealership with all your car details and they will give you a replacement.
  • Aftermarket key replacement websites offer keys at a cheaper fee than your traditional dealer. Nowadays there are many websites that offer the service and you should find one that has your key.
  • The downside is you still need to reprogram your car key system.
  • To reprogram your new key simply check the car’s manual. You can do this by yourself without help from the dealer.
  • There moments your car keys are not working properly. You try to press the open button but there is some hesitance. The problem could be that you are operating with dead batteries. A simple replacement should get your electronic working again.
  • To replace the batteries, unscrew the back of the key. Remove old batteries and replace with new ones.

Conclusion

Losing your car keys can be stressing – especially when you are in an area where you cannot find a replacement. Traditional car locks are easy to break in and produce replacement keys. However, when you lose your electronic keys the process is a bit lengthy depending on where you are. The first person to contact for a lost key is your local locksmith. Locksmiths have sophisticated machines which they can use to prepare a replacement key. In addition, the locksmith is capable of reprogramming your car key systems.

Hello I'm Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I'm specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I'm here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.

Comments
  1. Unfortunately for vehicle owners, it is almost no longer possible for modern vehicles to manually program our car keys. Just some old remotes.

    Very good information.

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