Car key fobs, or electric car keys, have become standard in today’s automobiles. A simple press of a button can lock or unlock your car, trigger the panic alarm, open the trunk, and even start your engine.

While car key fobs have enhanced the automotive experience, the compact device is vulnerable to common wear and tear or being lost or broken. A replacement key fob can cost anywhere from $25 to several hundred dollars. This does not include car key reprogramming costs, which are essential for integrating the key fob with your vehicle.

If you have a working key fob, it is always recommended to clone the electric key. A trusted locksmith can duplicate your key fob for a fraction of the replacement cost.

For individuals searching for how to program a car key without the original, there are 3 options:

  • Dealer programming
  • Self-programming
  • Locksmith programming

Dealer Programming

One way to replace a key fob is through the car’s dealership. However, it’s not always the most practical. The dealer has specialized diagnostic key fob programming tools to integrate the key fob with your vehicle.

Unfortunately, this is the most costly of the three options, typically costing between $300 – $500.


Some vehicles, especially older models, allow you to avoid the dealership and self-program a key fob on your own. The process varies from car to car and typically requires you to follow specific steps outlined in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

While cost-effective, this method is very dependent on the make and model of the vehicle and can be time-consuming and difficult to accomplish.

Many vehicles require you to access the automobile’s onboarding programming system to pair the key fob through the vehicle’s infotainment system or dashboard controls. This process–which is not recommended for automotive novices–can be extremely complex. It requires individuals to navigate various systems within the vehicle, input security codes, and precisely follow on-screen instructions.

Locksmith Programming

Can a locksmith program a key fob? The answer is yes! And it’s usually your best option.

For automotive novices and individuals without a self-programming option, professional locksmiths have the necessary tools and expertise to program a key fob for nearly any vehicle, regardless of make and model.

The best part? Key fob programming locksmiths can get your electric car keys integrated with your vehicle’s onboard program at a fraction of the cost of dealerships.

Crown Locksmith Automotive Locksmith Services

car key fob

For individuals on the outside (of perhaps their car) looking for how to program a key fob, fast and proper programming is a necessity. However, it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Crown Locksmith has provided superior commercial, residential, and automotive locksmith services to residents in and around the Atlanta area for over 12 years.

Let our friendly, knowledgeable, and professional Atlanta locksmiths get you and your family back on the road. CLICK HERE to schedule a consultation.