The High Price of Losing Your Keys

As technology has progressed, so has the price of replacing a seemingly simple key. Before the year 1990, it was fairly easy to replace a key at your local locksmith or hardware store. The technology has made it more difficult to replicate a key and thus more difficult to steal a car, but it has come with a cost.

A basic key generally costs about $3 from a locksmith. A car dealership charges about $12 for a basic key. An electronic key fob costs about $50-$90 from a dealership. Most key fobs require programming. Some dealerships may do this at no cost, but others charge the customer at least a half hour of labor.

A transponder key is one with a chip in the plastic head of the key. The chip sends a signal to a receiver in the ignition so that the car will start. The chip must be programmed correctly in order for the car to start. At a dealership you may pay approximately $160 for the key and an additional $75 for the key fob. A locksmith might save you $20-30 off of this price. It’s wise to purchase a basic key that only opens the car doors. This is an inexpensive way to get yourself back into the car if you accidently lock your primary keys inside.

Laser cut keys also have built in chips. They have a thicker shank with less grooves. These types of keys require more sophisticated machinery to reproduce so they are often more difficult to replace. The price range for these types of keys is approximately $150-$250.

Smart keys are not actually keys in the literal sense of the word. They are a fob that are inserted into the dash or may even just stay in the driver’s pocket. They must be near the car in order for it to start via a push button system. The car recognizes the signal emitted from the key to allow the car to start. These must be replaced at a dealer and cost anywhere from $220-$400.

Smart consumers will get copies made before they need one. This allows you to shop around to purchase your spare keys, offering you an opportunity to find the best price.



Posted on December 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM