I lost my car key! What do I do? It’s a stressful situation to find yourself in. When you need to replace your car key it isn’t always obvious what you need to do next.
The process has more complexity and expense now than it used to. The keys to older cars may not need anything more than a quick visit to the hardware store, assuming you have a backup key. However, newer cars often don’t come with a traditional key. Often electronics are involved. Additionally, if you don’t have a key to copy, the solution isn’t as simple.
It just depends on your circumstances. In this article, we’ll go over car key replacement, key fob replacement, how to get a car key replaced without the original. We’ll also quickly cover a scenario that might save you from needing to replace your key fob at all.
The first thing you need to determine is the type of car key you have.
How To Get A Car Key Replaced
What Kind of Car Key Do You Use?
There are four basic kinds of car keys. It’s easy to tell which one you’re dealing with by considering how it works. (Geico)
- Traditional keys have no electronics or gadgets incorporated. They are as low tech as they come.
- Transponder keys have a tiny microchip often built into the plastic handle of the key. The microchip creates a layer of security that makes it more difficult to break into and steal your car.
- A Switchblade key, a fob/key and key fob are all configurations you might have. A switchblade key folds inside the fob, which is the remote most newer cars come with. There are also traditional keys paired with fobs. Additionally, combination fob-and-key setups provide the security and convenience of a fob within the design of the key.
- You might also just have a fob. Some newer cars don’t come with keys at all. Car manufacturers have opted for a setup that requires the driver to have the car’s fob in their possession in order to start the vehicle. In this case, you usually are starting the vehicle with a push button.
Different kinds of keys bring different amounts of difficulty and expense when you need to replace them. In most cases, you will need to provide the original key or fob to get a replacement made. However, there are exceptions.
So, how to get keys replaced? We’ll break it down by the type of key.
The simplest and most inexpensive kind of car key to replace is a traditional key. If you have a copy of the original key, you can get a replacement key made at most hardware stores. You can take your key and purchase a key blank for usually just a few dollars. They can copy your key onto the blank with a key-cutting machine. It usually only takes a few minutes.
The process to replace a transponder key is a little different. This is because your key has a microchip that will need to be programmed. In this case, you can call a mobile locksmith who can cut and program your new key.
Key Fobs/Switchblade Key Fob Combinations
Generally, when it comes to replacing either switchblade keys or fobs, you will either need to visit the dealership where you bought the car or call a locksmith. This is because fobs need to be programmed. So, even if you find a fob you like online and order it, you’ll need to have a locksmith program it for you. Keep in mind that while dealerships can replace and program your fobs or key/fob combinations, they are often much more expensive than a locksmith.
Quick note: you might not always need to replace your key fob. If your key fob no longer works, it might just need a new battery. Most key fobs take watch batteries, which are readily available. (KelleyBlueBook) Therefore, be sure to try that first. However, if you need to replace your fob, it’s best to call a locksmith.
Can I Get a Replacement Car Key without the Original?
Okay, but what if you’ve lost your key and don’t have a spare? If you don’t have your original key, it might be a little more difficult. However, no need to worry. It’s not time to get a new car just because you need a new key.
Replacing your car key and fob when you’ve lost the original requires some proof that you own the car. And you will either need to go to a locksmith or to a dealership for your make of car. Bring your registration and possibly the title. The locksmith or dealership will need to confirm you own the vehicle. They will also need the VIN. With that information, the locksmith or dealership can look up everything they need for a replacement.
Typically replacing a key and fob like this will cost a few hundred dollars. That’s better than the alternative, though.
Car Key Replacement Near Me
It is always wise to know of quality car key replacement services near you. Losing your car key or finding out you need to replace it is frustrating enough. However, it’s easier when you know where to go when a problem arises.
When you need your car key replaced by an Atlanta Locksmith, call Crown Locksmith. Crown Locksmith holds a 4.8-star rating due to high-quality service and integrity. Reach out at any time with any lock or key-related questions. Call us the moment you need a replacement key. We can replace your transponder key or fob.