How Much Do Car Keys Replacement Cost? Major Factors To Consider

Local dealership auto mechanic with car key and tools
Publish at Nov 03, 2022 By: Isaac Bell
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Losing the car keys is utterly frustrating, and it's not uncommon either. Whatever precaution you take, your car key will find a way to get lost by hook or crook.

Before the 1990s, losing a car key wasn't that big issue. There was a great chance you had a spare key in an emergency. Or, even if you didn't have a spare key making a new key wasn't much costly in that period. Making or replacing those car keys was simple as they had a simple structure. Any nearby locksmith shop could do this. Things got changed after the 90s.

The car manufacturing companies started to use newer technologies. With upgraded technologies, car keys also got a complex and robust structure. These keys added an extra layer of security but also made it complicated to replicate. Thus, car key replacement became costlier.

Here's a breakdown of the cost if you ever need a key replacement. This will give you a brief idea of what cost you can expect and what steps to follow in replacing a car key.

What Factors Can Impact Car Keys Cost?

Key cutting machine for car key replacement

Several factors can affect the cost of key replacement. These factors are:

  • Car model and year of manufacture
  • Different variations of car keys
  • Existing key availability
  • Car's location

Car Model And Year Of Manufacture

Cars manufactured before 1990 will cost less to replace the car key. At the start of the 199o, car manufacturing companies started implementing various computer chips and programming to enhance the key's security. These made car key replacing difficult and much costlier. Also, the cost varies depending on the car brands.

A key replacement for newer cars can cost up to $600, depending on how complex technologies they have applied. Older car models have much fewer security features and will cost significantly less. Older car keys will cost between $10 to $30.

Different Variations Of Car Keys

A wide range of keys are available, and they all cost differently.

Basic key And key Fob cost

A standard key fob is fairly easy to replace and costs little. These key fobs are a fundamental part of most modern cars. The basic key Fob is also known as a transmitter. All the key fobs have programming functionality. The cost of basic car keys depends on the complexity of the functionality and design. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 to $100.

You can replace and program basic keys by an auto locksmith. Sometimes programming instructions for basic keys are also provided in the manual.

Traditional key cost

The traditional car key is the standard type for old cars. These are mechanical keys that need to be put into an ignition cylinder. These keys have a simple, straightforward structure and cost around $10 to $30.

Any local auto locksmith will make you a new key as a replacement for these keys. Though sometimes, the ignition lock cylinder must be replaced if the car model is too old.

Transponder keys cost

Transponder keys attracted a lot of attention after the mid-90s. A transponder key is a regular type of key but with a computer chip at the top of the keys. This chip is known as a transponder chip. This chip establishes a wireless connection between the key and ignition.

The chip of a transponder key needs to be programmed properly in the car. It is important as your car's engine will start by detecting this program.

Replacing a transponder key costs around $150 to $230. This includes the programming setup.

Laser-cut keys cost

The laser-cut key is distinct from basic car keys. This car key has a thicker edge and also possesses side ways carvings. Laser-cut keys are similar to transponder keys as it has programmed transponder chips set into them.

Local dealership auto mechanic with car key and tools

This type of programmable chip makes the replacement complicated for this key and also expensive. The complex structure of the laser-cut key is too big of a task for a local automotive locksmith to replicate. It would help if you went to a car dealership for the duplicate car key. The complex mechanism of laser-cut keys makes them a reliable choice, but duplicate car key cost is high for this key.

The average cost to replicate a laser-cut key will be around $150 to $300.

Switchblade keys cost

The switchblade keys are foldable keys that fold into a key fob. They pop back out from the foldable state by pressing a button.

Among other benefits, one unique benefit of switchblade keys is that they have separate parts. If the key stops working, you can repair or replace that particular part. You won't need to replace the whole key. It is cost-efficient.

In case of a lost cause, you must buy the full keys. In that case, you will need to spend around $200-$300.

Keyless entry remotes cost

The keyless entry remotes are not like traditional car keys. These don't work like other regular keys, which must be ignited to start the engine. These are smart keys that work remotely.

The newer vehicles that use these smart keys don't have the usual ignition hole; rather, they have a push button. You can start the vehicle by pushing this button without help from the key.

A key like this is known as a high-security key and has several security features. One security feature is that it has a very complex code system that is difficult to duplicate.

The replacement key for this type of key is very high. The key duplication cost for a keyless entry remote will be around $250 to $600.

Existing Key Availability

The key duplication process gets easier if you already have a copy of the original key. Most locksmiths can easily make a duplicate key if you have key copies of the working key. It will significantly reduce the cost of replacing.

It's much harder for locksmith services when they need to make a new car key from scratch. This will increase the car key duplication cost. Making duplicate car keys from any local hardware store will cost around $120 to $220. The cost will vary depending on the availability of a previous key's copy. Be aware of providing the wrong key. It will make the cost double.

Car's Location

The cost will go higher if any local locksmith or locksmith service is unavailable near your car. Usually, the service area of all local locksmiths and hardware stores is fixed. If your car key needs to be fixed outside of this area, the hardware store people will charge more.

Gets The Best Service In The Most Efficient Price By Choosing Armor Locks Co.

There are various kinds of keys, including chipped, proximity, and other types of keys. It isn't very clear when you need to have a key duplication. Moreover, the cost also varies depending on the different key duplication. That's why you need to choose a reliable locksmith company that can efficiently make your key replaced.

Armor Locks Co. can be your best bet in this regard. Armor Locks Co. has a long experience in the automotive industry. This company can help you in any car key duplication process. Call at 832-481-5030 to contact Armor Locks Co. regarding any queries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Is A Car Key Replacement So Expensive?

Ans: Modern car keys have various high technology integrated into them. Sometimes the keys have complex programming settings that can only be replaced in car dealerships. That's how the cost of keys gets higher.

The Cost Of A Original Key?

Ans: The cost of an original key depends on the car model. For older vehicles, the cost is between $3 to $7. Generally, new keys are cheaper for newer model cars.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Key Fob Made For Your Car?

Ans: From the information from consumer reports, the replacement costs vary between $50 to $400. This cost depends on the brand and is only for the Fob. You will need to add anything under $300 for a replacement fob.

How Much Does It Cost To Make A Key From A Lock?

Ans: Different key service providers take different rates to make duplicate keys from locks. But a key cut duplication will cost no more than $400.

Article written by: Isaac Bell
I'm Isaac Bell, founder of Armor Locks Co. I founded the company in 2014, and we've been growing. We're a Houston-based locksmith and security services provider, and we're dedicated to providing quality service and helping people in emergencies. We still uphold our founding ethos of putting customers first, which is why we're one of the most trusted names in security. Thank you for considering me for your next project!