Replacing car keys can be somewhat of a costly affair. If your car keys are the fancy electronic ones, replacing them will cost even more. Before you go to a car dealership to acquire duplicate car keys, consider a few options first that would be a little friendlier to your pocket.
Get the Details First
If your key is lost, record the vehicle’s VIN number somewhere. The VIN number can be found on the dashboard (on the driver’s side), on the frame of the car, on a rear wheel-well, in the door jam, on the front of the engine block, or in the trunk. You could always go online to check for the location of the number on your car.
After that, record the make, model and year of the vehicle where you recorded the VIN number. You will need all these details when looking to duplicate your car keys.
Look for the Cheaper Option
Before you go about scouring the internet and auto locksmiths for replacement or duplicate car keys, check the warranty. Some warranties can cover the replacement of lost or damaged car keys. This is especially true with the very modern and sophisticated key systems. Such keys are tailored in such a way that only the vehicle manufacturer can replace them. When you use your warranty to replace your key, ensure you have all the necessary information pertaining to you and your car.
Car dealerships will always charge you more than auto locksmiths would to replace your car keys. An auto locksmith would usually come to the car for free but will charge you for opening the car and making the key. Locksmiths are not like hardware stores, which essentially just duplicate car keys. Locksmiths make new ones. It is easier for them to make keys for older-model cars than the newer, more complicated ones.
So, obviously, the time, effort and ultimately cost of making a new key will depend on how sophisticated your car key is. Once the key is made, the locksmiths should then assist you in reprogramming it. The vehicle’s manual could also do that.
Another way to go is the online method. When looking to replace keys and/or key fobs, taking the aftermarket option is always a good idea. These tend to cost a lot less than having the vehicle manufacturer replace the key for you. It is tricky, but you could try it and see. You should just ensure that the seller is reputable. You could also find online companies that do exactly this type of thing. In this case, like in the case mentioned above, if you have a very new, sophisticated car, it will be more difficult to find a replacement key than you would with an older car.
Online stores and dealers are generally able to either replace or duplicate your lost key depending on the details that you recorded (VIN number, make of the car, etc). This makes the internet a good place to begin looking for replacements.
You will usually be asked to enter the details of your car and order by following the instructions you will be given. Your key will be delivered to you in a matter of days. You don’t need a technician to program the key to suit your vehicle. If you don’t know how to program the key, instructions will be delivered with it in any case. Also, the user manual should have this information. Many replacement or duplicate car keys can be reprogrammed more or less the same ways.
Fixing Malfunctioning Car Keys
This is a rather simple task compared to replacing or duplicating lost keys. One way to rectify this problem is to simply reset your car keys. There are a few things that could cause the malfunctioning of your car keys (for example, repairing electrical systems). Instructions for resetting car keys can be found online or in the user’s manual.
Another very simple fix is to replace the battery in the key fob. This may be the reason the key malfunctions. These batteries are usually cheap and are easily found online. Replacing these is easy and does not require any real step-by-step instructions.
If there are other issues causing the key to malfunction, you could always contact a dealership or the manufacturer to check the vehicle and/or the key. However, chances are, if the key stops functioning, the issue would be easily rectifiable.