The days of stepping into a hardware store and having duplicate car keys produced for cents on the dollar are long gone. Many modern drivers have never seen the older metal car key that resembles a home key. The simple black-headed transponder chip key to the far more complicated keyless remote proximity fob is all used in today’s automobiles. Electronic components in newer keys perform anything from operating the door locks to disabling the car’s immobilizer. Of course, all of these devices will eventually wear out. As a result, you may need to repair or replace your auto keys at some point.
Types of car keys
To begin, it should be mentioned that not all automobile keys are costly to replace. Many places will copy or replace a basic key for as little as $50. The price is determined by the type of automobile key and the brand. The higher the cost, the more advanced the key (or vehicle company). Here is a general summary of the various sorts of automobile keys available today, in order of how expensive they are (with ballpark cost estimates):
- Mechanical keys: basic keys used in older cars or to just open the door or trunk. These are the most affordable to reproduce and replace.
- Programmable remotes are buttons that you use to lock and unlock your automobile, sound the alarm, and/or open the trunk. These are usually comparable in price to mechanical keys.
- Transponder keys: the most prevalent type of automobile key, these keys feature electronic components in the head that connect with the vehicle to certify that the key is authentic. These are more expensive than mechanical keys due to their extra complexity.
- Laser-cut transponder keys provide an extra layer of security. Extra security implies extra complexity, so these are the next expensive tier up.
- Remote/key combos, often known as switchblade keys, are a combination of a remote and a key. Due to the dual functionality of these devices, the cost of duplication or replacement climbs by a tier.
- Proximity FOBs are remote-like devices that can start the automobile or open the doors when you are near it. While all of these upgrades can vary substantially in price depending on the make and model, proximity FOBs have the most variation among vehicles. Your best bet here is to acquire an estimate for your exact vehicle.
What impacts the costs
The cost of replacing a car key is affected by several factors. They include the key’s kind and complexity, the vehicle’s year, make, and model, and who you choose to produce the key for you.
Physical automobile keys and remote fobs, as previously stated, are small electrical devices. As a result, the key contains a circuit as well as a battery to power the key’s functionalities. As a result, the actual car key replacement might be fairly costly on its own. That is before any work is done to cut or program it to fit your specific car.
A genuine BMW car locksmith can key fob can range in price from $170 for a normal ignition key to $1,000 for a radio remote control display key. These keys are programmed to your vehicle’s VIN, but the chip inside still has to be programmed. So, even before you begin, the component is pretty costly.
A replacement key fob for a 2015 Lexus ES350 costs around $160.00. These keys are available in less expensive variants that are not manufactured by BMW or Lexus. However, the quality varies greatly, and many are poor knockoffs of the original. Because of the high failure rate, many other car locksmiths in your area will not even cut or program these keys.
To program the key, a specific key code must often be obtained in addition to the cost of the actual key. This code might cost anywhere between $10 and $60.
Cutting the blades of your replacement vehicle keys necessitates the use of complex and costly technology. Remember that to stay profitable, all firms factor their overhead into their rates. As a result, the cost of that machinery will be reflected in the cost of replacing your key. Furthermore, in the case of vehicles such as Mercedes and BMW, unique machinery that is exclusive to these manufacturers is necessary. As a result, the cost of cutting certain keys will be considerably greater, because only the owners of these vehicles will be paid for the special equipment needed to cut those keys.
The labor process for most automotive keys (including proximity key fobs without a visible key blade) consists of two parts. Cutting the key to operating the locks and ignition (if necessary), as well as configuring the electronics so that the key communicates with the computer in your car.
In most cases, it takes around an hour to cut a key to your vehicle and program and test the key, so you will pay for one hour of labor, provided no problems arise along the way. The amount you pay for labor will vary depending on where you go to get it done. Automotive locksmiths near you will typically charge less for labor than a dealership.
Best ways to replace car keys
If you lose all copies of your car keys, the cost is more than any of these alternatives. If this is the case, you may need to replace the locks, which can easily cost $1,000 or more. Your best bet is to have many copies of your keys, as well as backups of them. You should also consider hiring a professional auto locksmith instead of going to a dealership since you’ll be able to acquire a low-cost yet high-quality product. However, you can contact Desert Locksmith in any such situation.