Car key replacement

Lost your car keys? Auto Locksmiths will connect you with genuine, trustworthy local automotive locksmiths operating in towns and cities across the United States. No matter whether you’ve lost a spare set of car keys or you’ve lost your original key fob, we’ve got locksmiths that can replace car keys at competitive prices.

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There are many problems you may encounter with your vehicle, some of which won’t completely prohibit you from driving. Losing your car keys can severely limit your mobility since you might not be able to even enter the vehicle or start it up. It’s important to know about your options if you’ve ever lost your car keys and what you can do to get back on the road again.

Car key replacement near me

Why do drivers need car key replacement services? There are many possible reasons, such as damaged or broken car keys, lost or misplaced car keys or key fobs, theft and burglary, or simply due to wear and tear over time.

If you’ve ever lost or misplaced your car keys or if you’ve locked them accidentally inside of your vehicle, the whole situation can be pretty frustrating. Fortunately, the best solution is often just a quick phone call away. Call a local car key locksmith to get a cheap car key replacement near you, anywhere in the US.

By using Auto Locksmiths to find a trustworthy car locksmith near you, you’ll get quick service, competitive prices and a no-obligation quote over the phone.

Car key replacement

Table of contents:

Lost car key replacement near you

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as its age, the type of car key can vary quite a bit. Knowing the type of car key is important if you ever need to have it replaced, since car key locksmiths need this type of information as well as the make and model of your vehicle to create a working replacement.

Generally, car keys can be broken into three main types:

  • Traditional car keys: physical car keys common on older vehicles, especially before the mid-1980s. Today’s physical car keys are often used in conjunction with RFID chips and even these are steadily going away, but they are still used on millions of vehicles on roads and highways today.
  • Transponder keys: since the mid-1980s, car keys gradually began to include an electronic transponder within the head of the key, starting with the GM Corvette in 1986 and gradually becoming the norm. In the industry, these are called VATS keys and although they were phased out in 2003, the technology has evolved and locksmiths still typically refer to these keys as VATS keys.
  • Smart keys & keyless entry: most modern cars in the United States nowadays come with either a remote key fob or some other form of keyless entry, e.g. keypad, app-based locks, etc. As of 2019, it’s estimated that nearly 91% of vehicles in America either using a key fob or are completely keyless.

Car key replacement options

If you’ve lost your car keys and need a replacement, you have a few options to go about getting them replaced. For most people, the first instinct might be to head over to your nearest dealership to get the job done. There are other alternatives that may be more convenient and/or more affordable. Below are the three most common ways to replace your car keys:

  1. Automotive locksmith: an automotive locksmith near you can duplicate car keys, create new car keys (even without the original), and program duplicate keys for just about any make or model. This includes replacing car keys on older models as well as creating keys for rare or foreign makes and models. We believe that the most reliable and affordable way to duplicate car keys is by choosing a local car key locksmith through Auto Locksmiths.
  2. Dealership: your car dealership can provide you with duplicate and replacement car keys for your exact vehicle model, but generally this can cost anywhere from $100-$500 more than going to an automotive locksmith. Moreover, your key generally needs to be no more than 10 years old as the key codes are often discontinued. The only upside is that dealerships can provide you with OEM car keys, whereas locksmiths may use aftermarket keys.
  3. Online retailer: nowadays, many drivers are choosing to purchase replacement car keys online through popular retailers. This can save you a lot of money on parts, but the key will most often still need to be programmed by a qualified automotive locksmith.

Best methods of replacing your car keys

What is the best way to replace your car keys? Some of the main things you should consider are: cost, convenience, time and security. Of the three main methods of replacing your car keys mentioned in the previous section, your best choice will have to balance out these factors.

For most of us, having access to a vehicle is crucial for everything from going to and from work, college, grocery shopping or socializing with friends and family. This means that you often need replacement car keys straight away, without delay. If you’re in need of quick and dependable replacement car keys, the best option is to call an auto locksmith near you.

Cheap car key replacement in the United States

Along with convenience, one of the most important factors to consider is how much it costs to replace car keys near you.

In terms of cost, the cheapest option is to order replacement car keys online from a retailer. A transponder key might cost you anywhere from around $5-$50 online, but you still need to take it to a locksmith to have it programmed. The most expensive option is almost always to go to your dealership.

A car locksmith can replace lost car keys for almost any make or model, no matter the age of the vehicle or the type of key needed. The average cost of replacing car keys can range from around $90 for traditional car keys up to around $220 for replacement key fobs. Expect to pay more for emergency services and for luxury foreign car models.

At the end of the day, considering cost and convenience and balancing them out, your best bet is often to simply call an automotive locksmith to replace your car keys.

What to do after getting a replacement car key

Once your car keys have been replaced, there are a few things you must do to ensure that you’re back on the road again safely and to avoid the need to replace them again in the future.

Firstly, you should always test the key to make sure that it works on the doors and in the ignition. Just because the key fits doesn’t mean that it’s properly programmed to work with your vehicle’s transponder. If you’ve hired a locksmith, they can help you test it out to make sure that it works properly.

Next, although optional, you should strongly consider paying for a spare set of keys. Whether you leave them safely at home or with a family member is up to you, but having a spare set of keys can save you in the future if your replacement keys break or if you lose them.

Lastly, make sure that your dealership or your locksmith, whichever you choose, has properly updated the key code for your vehicle.

Frequently asked questions about car key replacement

Is it possible to replace a car key without the original?

Yes, auto locksmiths can provide you with a replacement car key without access to the original. Depending on the type of lock and key system as well as the age, make and model of your vehicle, an auto locksmith can provide you with a working replacement of a physical car key or a reprogrammed key fob.

How much is a replacement car key for an old car?

Replacement car keys for older cars might only cost around $5-10. Generally, cars manufactured prior to 1981 have a standardized physical key with no electronic components, so a qualified auto locksmith can do the job quickly and with little effort.

How much is a replacement car key for a new car?

Replacement car keys for newer car makes and models can cost anywhere from around $50-$100 or more. Since 1981, car manufacturers began implementing many new electronic lock and key systems. Transponders, key fobs, and keyless entry are all relatively standard, which requires more labor and skill to produce a replacement car key.

Do I need to show my VIN for a replacement car key?

Generally, you will need to produce your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) as proof of ownership of the vehicle before a locksmith provides their services. For most cars manufactured after 1990, the vehicle’s key codes are stored in a database with the key code corresponding to your VIN.

How long does it take to get a replacement car key?

It depends on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the type of key required. Generally, a replacement key should only take around 20-30 minutes for a qualified and experienced locksmith to cut. It can take around 5-10 minutes for the locksmith to determine the proper key code for your vehicle, with the remainder of the time being the cutting itself.

Can I program a replacement car key myself?

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, you may be able to program a replacement car key yourself. In most circumstances, you will need to insert the key into the ignition cylinder and wait around 15 minutes, often repeating this process 2-3 times for the key to be programmed for your vehicle. For most newer vehicles, however, it is strongly advised to seek out a local locksmith near you instead.


Auto locksmith near you

Get a replacement car key today with Auto Locksmiths

Need replacement car keys? Get in touch with a reputable auto locksmith nearby. We work with a network of auto locksmiths across the United States that provide replacement car keys, key fob programming, and much more.