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Car Key Replacement Cost

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Meta Description: The average cost for a car key is $75 to $300. For an accurate estimate, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.

The Average Cost for a Car Key Is $50 to $300, Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.

This price range is based on averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance, such as resetting a red key warning light or replacing a key fob battery, may also be required. For an accurate estimate based on your vehicle’s make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.

Get a More Accurate Estimate for Your Car Key Replacement Cost Using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:

Cost at the Mechanic: $50 to $300

Parts: $40 to $250

Labor: $10 to $100

Older vehicles that use basic car keys that don’t require any programming can be replaced in about half an hour. Keys that require programming usually take about an hour to make. Some vehicles will require you to bring all of your current keys to the dealer to get programmed at the same time. Getting a spare key made can keep a lost key from ruining your day, and it can make your car more appealing to potential buyers when you get ready to sell.

Cost To DIY: $10 to $250

While people can’t usually cut a new key at home, they can sometimes save money by programming a new key or key fob themselves. You can look for instructions for programming a replacement key or key fob in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Frequently, though, as auto security systems become more and more advanced, only a dealer will be able to program your new key to work for your car. Sometimes you can save some money by buying a blank key yourself, then bringing it to the dealer to program for you.

What Is Car Key Replacement?

A car key replacement gives you a new key or key fob after the old one malfunctions or is lost. If you only have one key, it’s a good idea to go ahead and get a replacement. That way, you’ll be able to unlock and drive your car if anything happens to one of your keys.

What Does a Car Key Replacement Include?

What a car key replacement includes depends on the type of key your vehicle uses. Many older or classic cars use a traditional key that looks similar to a house key. Getting a copy made at a locksmith or hardware store can cost less than $10 and take only about half an hour.

Laser-cut keys, also called internal or sidewinder keys, are more difficult to copy. They have a groove in the middle instead of notches on one or both edges like a traditional key, and they usually cost around $50 to $100 at many dealerships, locksmiths, and hardware stores.

Some keys also come with a programmable electronic key fob that can lock or unlock your car from a distance. A key fob replacement could cost from $150 to $600 depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle.

A switchblade key combines the key and key fob, and the key releases when you hit a small button on the side of the key fob. These keys can be more expensive to replace, and they usually cost about the same as a laser-cut key and a separate key fob. You may have to go to a locksmith or car dealership to have one cut and programmed.

A transponder key has a computer chip embedded in its plastic head, and the wireless connection between the key and your vehicle enables it to start. Many cars with these keys have a push-button start or remote start. People usually have to order replacement transponder keys from the manufacturer, and they can sometimes take several days to arrive.

What Happens if You Don’t Get a Car Key Replacement?

If you don’t get a car key replacement and your current key breaks or becomes lost, you could need to have your vehicle towed to a dealership or mechanic to get a replacement key made. You might not be able to use your car for several days until the replacement key is ready.

How Often To Get a Car Key Replacement

For a traditional car key without a battery, having a spare is a good idea, but you don’t need to replace your car key regularly. If you have a key fob, test it and make sure it works every few years. You may need to have the battery replaced to keep your key fob working properly. For detailed instructions about replacing your key or key fob, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual and maintenance schedules.

After you get a car key replacement, keep it in a safe place in case you need it.

Common Signs You Need To Get a Car Key Replacement

  • You see an amber or red key warning light.
  • Your vehicle won’t start.
  • The key fob doesn’t always work when you press the button.
  • The key fob only works when you’re close to the vehicle, and replacing the battery doesn’t help.
  • You can see damage to the key or key fob.
  • A lock on your vehicle is damaged.
  • Your key fob receiver is damaged.

Never Miss Important Maintenance Again With FIXD

Get the FIXD Sensor and free app today for a custom maintenance schedule based on your make, model, and mileage. FIXD sends automated maintenance alerts right to your phone. That way, you’ll always remember about oil changes, tire rotations, brake pad replacements, and other routine maintenance tasks. It even tracks your tire, wiper, and battery life to keep your car running smoothly. Get FIXD today to take much of the stress out of car care and keep your vehicle working longer. It’s that simple.

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

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About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

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