If you have ever been on the wrong side of a car lockout situation, you know how important it is to have more than one car key. If you haven’t yet found yourself in this situation, count yourself lucky because it happens more often than most of us would like to admit. It is better to be prepared and have an extra key you can use than to be locked out of your car.
But this begs the question, how much does it cost to have your car key duplicated?
Many factors will affect the cost of getting your key duplicated. This can be a small expense or a much pricier one, depending on certain things. However, if you are locked out of your car without an extra key, the cost of fixing that issue and the stress of the situation can easily surpass the cost of having a duplicate made.
The first factor to consider is that this is a preventative measure. We are not discussing what to do if you have lost the original key. In that situation, you would need a car key replacement or re-keying. To have a key duplicated, you will need to have the original. This applies no matter who or where the duplication occurs. Also, note that if your key is broken, it may not be possible to replicate it.
Type of Key
The next factor to consider when determining the cost is to find out what type of car key you are dealing with. Most modern car keys are no longer basic traditional keys. Car keys most often now have programming codes, transponder chips, and key fobs. Also, many keys are not cut using a basic key cutter anymore. They are cut with lasers and other more technical methods. You also have new types of keys, such as switchblade keys, and you can see where this can get confusing.
Therefore, it is so important to do your research beforehand. You should know what model of the car you have and check the manual. It should list inside if you have a basic key or something more upgraded. This is so important because if you get the wrong key made, you may be able to unlock your doors, but the key won’t start the ignition. This is a common problem if you get a basic key duplication and need it programmed with a transponder chip. So, arm yourself with as much knowledge about your key and car as possible before you spend your hard-earned money on something that won’t work.
Type of Professional
This is the major factor that determines cost above everything else. The price is easily affected by who you choose to help you. Overall, you have three options for key replication. The possibilities are a hardware store, a locksmith, and a car dealership.
The hardware store is easily the cheapest option, but it is important to realize why. The hardware store workers have not been professionally trained. They have been taught how to use a basic key cutting machine. They most often will not know what to look for to see if you need a transponder chip or other programming.
Due to the lack of experience and skill, the hardware store doesn’t charge as much as other options. If you have a primary key, this may be your best option, but if you have a more upgraded key than this, it would be better to try another option.
Going in order of costliness, the next most affordable option is a locksmith. A locksmith has been professionally trained in key making and everything to consider when duplicating a car key. Locksmiths also have the added ability to come to you as well.
They are also the only type of professional that could make you a new key without the original. They do this by using your car’s VIN to access a code telling them what type of key to making. This can only be done by a locksmith.
The last option is also the most expensive. The dealership can often duplicate your key for you, but they will charge the highest cost. This is partly because the dealerships most often make more upgraded keys, not the basic traditional key.
In some rare cases, the dealership may be your only option. If you have a unique car or one with a very advanced key system, the dealership may need to handle the replication. You can check this by giving a locksmith a call before you go to the trouble of visiting the dealership.
There are a few other factors that will play into the cost of your key duplication. A good rule of thumb to know is that older cars, luxury cars, and keys with many added features will cost you much more than a traditional key. This is because these types of key blanks are more expensive than others.
Also, the amount of time it takes to cut the key can increase the cost and how precise the cuts must be. A note about key cutters is they are not all created equal. Some key cutters may not have the ability to do the programming or cutting you need. Be sure to ask about these factors before having your key made. It will save you a lot of time and hassle.
The Bottom Line
So, now that we have covered all the factors determining the cost of car key duplication, let’s get down to the bottom line. How much does this cost? Remember, these numbers are just averages and can be affected by your local market. These are not quotes, estimates based on experience and knowledge.
If you have a traditional key without extra features, this is the most affordable key to replicate. At your average hardware store, you will pay between $1 to $2 for a duplicate key. At a locksmith, this same key could cost you between $1 to $4. There is a minor cost difference between the two because a locksmith is professionally trained. A dealership, in most cases, will not be able to replicate a basic key.
If you have a more upgraded key with a key fob, transponder chip, etc., the cost will be much higher for replication. A hardware store, in most cases, will not have the necessary machine or expertise to duplicate an upgraded key.
At a locksmith, the cost starts around $120 for an upgraded key and could go higher depending on what needs to be done. At the dealership, this cost starts at $150 and can easily increase based on your key features.
In conclusion, to sum it all up, the cost of car key duplication can be a bit off-putting but trust us when we say it is much better than being locked out of your car. There is no price put on safety, and we at ASAP Locksmith value your safety above all else.
We can get you a duplicate key made in around twenty minutes. So, please give us a call, and we will be happy to help and give you the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.