Many people fear losing their only car key, and for a good reason. Not too long ago, if you lost the only key to your vehicle, getting it replaced would have been a complicated process. Unfortunately, things haven’t changed a lot, and while Automotive Locksmiths have a laundry list of technology at their disposal, the latest vehicle locking technology is constantly changing. Technical advancements have meant that locksmiths like us need to continue playing ‘catch up.’ It has also made replacing car keys more expensive.
How the key is replaced mainly depends on many factors, including the make and model of your vehicle. If you have the latest vehicle using cutting-edge technology, getting the key replaced can take several weeks. In this article, we’ll take a look at the various types of keys and how they are replaced if lost.
The old-school Car Key
Back in the old days, all car keys were mechanical, similar to that of a padlock. However, those locks weren’t secure, and after a rise in crime, automakers set out to make their keys harder to make. But even then you still need to verify your vehicle’s ownership.
If you still own an old car, getting those keys replaced is easy. Any locksmith can make a mechanical key with a basic set of tools. Also, it takes only a few minutes. Some old vehicles have obscure locking technologies, which are a little more challenging, but making a key for those vehicles is doable and not all that expensive either.
The Key Fob
Not too long ago, the first key fobs made entering your vehicle easier by simply pressing a button on a remote to unlock the car. However, a traditional key was still used to turn the ignition.
However, people who end up losing a fob can still unlock their vehicles and start the engine. Not to mention that key fobs are relatively cheap to replace. You can buy them aftermarket, and they are easy to program.
FOB with a Switchblade Key
In recent years auto manufacturers in the US and other parts of the world have been combining the key fob with the key into a spring-loaded key that folds into the fob. It is touted as compact, but we know from experience that the spring-loaded mechanism can get stuck. However, if you happen to misplace your only key, replacing it is expensive. If anything, it can cost a few hundred dollars. However, many automotive locksmiths and local dealerships are equipped to make one for you.
A Transponder Key
The transponder key has been around since the early 1990s. Today, this security is only found in older vehicles, often with a computer chip. Losing it means that the vehicle needs to be towed to the dealership, after which you prove ownership and the new key is electronically paired to the vehicle.
The Smart Key
It is referred to as keyless ignition. Usually, vehicles with a “push start” button use this technology. The key has a proximity sensor that knows when you’re nearby and unlocks the vehicle.
The vehicle usually has to be taken to the dealership to Replace The Key. Costs are high, and you can expect to pay around $500 for a replacement.
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