How To Get A Replacement Car Key
It can be incredibly frustrating to lose your car keys. If you lose your car keys, first try to find them and then call a local locksmith to find out whether they can make a replacement key for your car. Car key replacement can be a frustrating and messy experience. Sometimes the key might break, while at other times it can wear down or bend until it doesn’t function correctly any longer.
Losing a key can be quite frustrating with the constant worry being that part-way through the process of securing the replacement, you will find the original key somewhere obvious such as inside the pocket of a misplaced jacket. Whatever the reason, your car keys are critical to proper car use, so each car needs at least one properly functioning key.
When to Get a Replacement Key
The first step is deciding whether you require a new key for your car. There could be various reasons for this, but some of the most common ones include:
1. Lost Key
Losing your car keys is quite frustrating as previously stated. It is always possible for you to find your lost key unless you lost it in the ocean or while traveling. Fortunately, if there was just one key to begin with, the problem all along would be the lack of a spare key. In such a situation, replace your lost key without having to worry and hoping to find the original to act as a spare.
2. Malfunctioning Key
The key may sometimes wear down such that its shape becomes compromised. It could also bend or snap, this making it of little to no use. Some of the more high-tech keys are laser-etched or have wireless codes scanned by the car to ensure that they are the right keys. While this can be a great security feature, damaging such codes can make an otherwise perfectly functioning key useless. A problem that’s becoming increasingly common each year is the issue of having a broken remote built into a properly functioning key. You can use the key to lock and unlock car doors and turn it on, but a malfunctioning remote reduces convenience. A malfunctioning remote is also likely to unlock the door unpredictably from afar in some instances. Always check the remote’s battery first to determine whether that is the problem. For security purposes, any issues with locks or keys should be addressed without delay.
How to Get a Replacement key for Your Vehicle
It is important to first determine what kind of key is needed before anything is done about acquiring a replacement key. The process will help you determine the kind of key that’s needed.
Step 1: Obtain the VIN
Get the VIN number of the vehicle that requires a replacement key from the engine bay or the dashboard. Next, record the exact, make, model, and year of the vehicle. If you are unable to find the VIN, check the vehicle’s title of insurance paperwork.
Step 2: Contact a Locksmith If It is an Old Model
If you have an older vehicle, especially one made by a non-luxury manufacturer, get in touch with a locksmith since such vehicles have the easiest keys to replace. Calling your local locksmith is all you have to do to solve the problem in some instances. This option works for several vehicles, and a locksmith can actually help you save more money compared to a dealership.
Step 3: See Whether a Locksmith Can Replace It If It is a Modern Vehicle
If the key is more modern, its shape might be too complex for your local locksmith or it might have to be programmed for it to work properly. As long as it uses digital programming and there’s no code laser-etched onto it, a good car locksmith should be able to handle it. Since there’s a lot of variety among car keys, this step may be easy for some models but very tricky for others.
Step 4: Take the Key to the Dealer for Programming
If the key need programming, find out whether the locksmith can program it to work with your vehicle. If they are unable to, the next best step would be to have a local locksmith make it and then take it to the dealership for programming. The module that requires programming can be quite expensive through the dealership, so check around for cheaper options.
Step 5: Have the Dealer Replace It If It is Too Complex
If none of the options here are viable, it is highly likely that your key is far more complex for security purposes. The replacement key may only be available through the manufacturer and it can take one or two weeks if you order the key. In such a situation, go to the dealership where you bought the vehicle and check whether the warranty covers the cost or whether the dealership provides discounts to satisfy clients.
Step 6: Consider Price Vs Reliability
Today, fully electric keys have become increasingly popular and they often barely resemble a real key. If you were to break one of these, and the batteries are not dead, then you might have to order a new one. It is sometimes cheaper to get such online, but a safer bet would be to go through a dealership. You can even program some yourself at home. Others have to be professionally programmed. In some instances, the key is factory programmed and sent out to the customer. However, this is only the case with just a handful of very high-end vehicle manufacturers.
Security is paramount, and an unlocked door may ruin your car as fast as a seized engine under the ideal circumstances. Key replacement can be costly, so be ready (and if it is actually a cheap fix, you will be pleasantly surprised). It is always advisable to try using a locksmith whenever possible. Doing proper research ahead of time can help save you frustration later on.