Replacing Lost Car Keys Can Turn Out to Be a Costly Affair

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Replacing Lost Car Keys Can Turn Out to Be a Costly Affair

Despite knowing how valuable car keys are, many car owners often realize their worth only after losing them. Most car owners and drivers just do not have any idea how much it can cost for a car key replacement. It is true that it will not cost you a bomb, but it will surely make you raise your eyebrows.

You have to bear the inconvenience of not being able to use the car until replacement keys are available only after you shell out a few hundred dollars. It can take at least one full day for the making of new keys that include cutting the key and coding it.

If the cost of a single key replacement is high, just imagine what you would have to bear should you lose many other keys!

Why is car key replacement costly?

Car security systems have evolved with time and technology, and become quite sophisticated, which ensures better security for vehicles. The quality and characteristics of car keys have changed too as it has become technology driven.

Gone are the days when you could go to the hardware shop or call any locksmith to fabricate a car key that was similar to any padlock key.

It is not easy to copy a key that incorporates several technological features including computer programming. It has pushed up the cost of car keys considerably.

Alternative key suppliers

Car dealerships are not the only place for buying replacement car keys although their names cross the mind first when you search for places for replacement keys. Auto locksmiths are alternative and legitimate sources for authentic car keys that work as well as the keys you can source from dealers. The locksmiths are experts in manufacturing and repairing all kinds of car keys that replicate the original ones in looks as well as functionality.

Locksmiths who exclusively deal in car keys are experts in their field, and besides arranging for replacements, they can also repair damaged car keys. While malfunctioning of car keys can occur on its own, the damage mostly takes place when there is any attempted theft.

The locksmiths have proper technical knowledge and skills to handle all kinds of car keys. In this article, you will come to know about different types of car keys.

Electronic key fob

Most modern cars have electronic key fobs which are also known as a transmitter or remote that forms a composite unit with the key set.  It is the lowest form of car key in modern vehicles. The fobs are programmed for enabling vehicles to recognize the keys.

Unless the vehicle system can identify the key and respond to the signal of the fob, the key will not get activated, even though you might insert it in the slot.

Transponder keys

Car keys went through further improvement in the late nineties when vehicle manufacturers began using transponders in car keys. Transponder keys use a small transponder chip, which is placed in the plastic head of the key, to send out a signal to the receiver in the ignition circuit.

The receiver acts as an immobilizer because if it detects a signal which indicates that a wrong key has been inserted into the ignition slot, the vehicle will not accept the signal and not start.

The shank of the transponder key is either a laser cut key or a basic cut key, but its specialty is in the programming that helps to recognize the key and activate it. The specialist locksmiths have capabilities of programming car keys, and they charge much less than the dealers.

Laser cut keys

Laser cut keys have thick shanks with a fewer number of carved out grooves. The winding cut on the shank gives a distinctive look to the key, also known as sidewinder key. Expensive key cutting machines are required for making laser cut keys, and this makes the keys expensive too.

Only specialized locksmiths are equipped to handle the keys that have built-in transponder chips that need programming to make the key work. Locksmiths who are qualified for making and repairing laser cut keys are often members of Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA).

Smart keys

Unlike the traditional keys that we are all used to, smart keys are not keys at all, at least from the appearance. These are key fobs that you keep in your pocket or insert it in the dashboard. To operate the key, you just press a button that activates the rolling security codes.

The system is capable of using random methods of identifying the correct code that reduces the chances of hacking by thieves. The vehicle will start only when the computer system of the car verifies and recognizes the code.

However, only dealers are equipped to replace smart keys, at least in the case of Mercedes Benz.

The more sophisticated the locking system is, the higher will be the cost of replacing the keys.

Editorial Team
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