If you own a car, you have probably lost your car keys at some point. It can be frustrating to lose your car keys when you are in a hurry to get to work or in an emergency.
In fact, car keys are usually lost when you need them most. If you want to avoid this happening, the number one solution is to get a spare key.
But if you are reading this, I assume that you don’t have one or are miles away from your spare key.
Keyless Remote Keys
Keys have changed. In the past, you needed a physical key to access your car. Now we have keyless entry locks. All you have to do is press the unlock button and you have access to your car. The ignition has also been changed, and you no longer need a key to turn it on. Just press a “start/stop” button. The keys use a wireless form of communication.
When you approach the car, the internal computer notices this and the doors open. The loss of such a key makes it more difficult to break into the car. It has become very expensive to replace this type of key, with the replacement cost for the Toyota Prius having risen to over $600.
The keys have a transponder that is programmed to respond only to a specific key. If you lose the key, you must contact your dealer, who will charge between $300 and $500. The prices listed depend on the car model. The cheapest way is to buy the key over the Internet, but you will have to wait for delivery, and the connection might not work so smoothly. If everything fails, you will be forced to replace the car’s electronics.
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It is quite easy to make spare keys for traditional keys. Although the car is less secure with this type of locking system, you can get replacement keys quickly, unlike the keyless transponder keys.
Check Your Surroundings
Do not get a spare key as soon as you notice that you cannot find your car keys. If you search your surroundings while trying to remember where you last had your keys, the chances of finding them increase. Misplacing keys is very common. It could be that you were on your way to the bathroom and left them on the sink or in another room. In most cases, if you search well, you will find your lost keys.
One of the main places where people forget their keys is in the ignition. You may have been in a hurry and forgot to remove the keys, leaving them in the ignition after turning off the engine.
Once you have determined that your keys have indeed been lost, your next step is to find a locksmith. They will make you a spare key. You will need to tell 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. So don’t be shocked if they already have a pre-assembled key that resembles your lost key.
Alternatively, your car dealer might sort you out with a spare key. If the person who makes your spare key is not trustworthy, you may have to replace your entire car locking system.
Although workshop technicians are not key experts, you can try them out if you run out of options. They often don’t have the expensive diagnostic tools popular with locksmiths. But they might offer a replacement.
Tips when going for a replacement key
- The VIN is a special number 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 use the VIN to identify the correct spare key for your car. You can identify the number by its 17 digits.
- When programming your car, make sure you carry the year of manufacture, make and model of your car.
- The most affordable way to get a replacement key for your car is to contact your local car locksmith. In some cases they charge almost half of what you would get from a car dealer or the manufacturer. Most locksmiths have sophisticated key replacement machines in stock, and once they have inspected your car, they will find a replacement for you in no time.
- For keyless systems, check the manufacturer’s manual to see how to reprogram your key. If you have your key reprogrammed, remember to carry the key fobs with you. This is crucial during programming, and the new key cannot work without them.
- When replacing an electronic key, check to see if it is covered by the warranty/insurance. If this is the case, you must go to the car dealer with all vehicle data, who will give you a replacement key.
- Aftermarket key replacement sites offer keys at a lower fee than your regular dealer. There are many websites offering this service these days 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 consult the car’s manual. You can do this yourself without the help of the dealer.
- There are moments when your car keys do not work properly. You try to press the unlock button, but there is a certain hesitation. The problem could be that you are working with flat batteries. A simple replacement should get your electronics working again.
- To replace the batteries, unscrew the back of the key. Remove the old batteries and replace them with new ones.
Losing your car keys can be stressful – especially if you are in an area where you cannot find a replacement. Traditional car locks make it easy for someone to break in to your car, but making a replacement key is also easy. However, if you lose your electronic keys, the process can be a bit lengthy, depending on where you are. The first contact person for a lost key is your local locksmith. Locksmiths have sophisticated machines that can produce a replacement key. The locksmith is also able to reprogram your car key systems.
Hi, I’m Magnus, the owner and the writer of Mechanic Base. I have been working with cars for 10 years, specialized in diagnostics and troubleshooting. I created this blog because I was tired of finding false information on the web while looking for repair information. I hope you enjoy my content!