Car key replacement: How to replace your lost car key
Last updated: January 1
Find out what type of key your car uses
Replacing a car key: dealership vs. locksmith
How to replace a traditional car key
Traditional car keys, also known as mechanically cut car keys, are typically seen with older cars. They don’t have a security chip or remote. These keys can easily be recut by a dealership or an automotive locksmith, according to Consumer Reports.
Traditional car key vs. key fob
Traditional car keys are different from car keys with key fobs because they do not have a key fob to control the function of the car. Key fobs can be used to operate certain functions of the vehicle such as unlocking the doors, trunk and hood, or starting the car.
Again, key fobs require programming, so they can be a bit more complicated to replace than a traditional car key. Depending on the dealer, some key fobs can be replaced with aftermarket parts and programmed by a locksmith, says Consumer Reports.
How to replace car key fob
Key fobs, like the car keys themselves, can be replaced by a dealership or with aftermarket parts. It all comes down to the type of key fob you have. Some newer car models may have more complicated security features, which requires equipment purchase and programming to be done by the dealership.
How to replace transponder car key
Transponder car keys use microchips to send a signal from the key to a remote receiver in your car for security purposes, according to Great Valley Lockshop. Though these keys require programming to work, most automotive locksmiths can create an extra key for a basic transponder car key. Alternatively, a dealership can help you replace your transponder key.
Key fob with switchblade key
Like the transponder car key, switchblade keys may also be replaced by an automotive locksmith, according to Carfax. But some switchblade car keys may require programming or key cutting that can only be found at a dealership. If you’re unsure which replacement method to go with, contact your dealership or a locksmith.
Replacing a lost car key for a “keyless ignition” vehicle
Smart key fobs can be tricky to replace. If you don’t have an extra key, you’ll likely need to get a replacement at a dealership and provide proof of ownership, according to Carfax.
The dealership will then program a new key to work with your car. This may take a few days, during which they will need to hold onto the car.