The uncanny ability of car keys to get lost underneath couch cushions, pockets and any other place that people like to keep them seems like somewhat a mystery. Overall, losing a car key in the modern day world is the worst thing that can happen when you are in the middle of something critical. Back in the 90s, it was easy to get car key replacements from locksmith shops, car dealer shops and hardware stores.
The only pitfall back then was the ease in which one could steal a car. Advancement in technology has made stealing today next to impossible. This answers the question about vehicle key replacement cost that varies depending on the type of key for an automobile. The following is a rundown on what to anticipate as you go about vehicle key replacement to find the most affordable solution.
The basic car key
Basic car keys were common up to the late 90s. Apart from their unique cut, they had nothing to enhance security in cars. Its shank has grooves and cuts akin to a house key -usually the longest part of the key. Replacing this kind of key is the easiest thing a locksmith can do at his shop. He does not need a special machine or equipment to cut the key as he uses the same equipment used to cut other keys. Cutting basic car keys is very cheap.
When you go to a particular key shop, you will get the shop branding at the top of the replacement key. Electronic key fob serves as an integral part of the key set particularly in modern cars. Automaker or complexity of a fob design will affect its repair price when you go to dealers shop. All fobs require programming and as such, you may find dealers who do it without charges while others charge for the programming services.
The transponder key
Transponder key shave in-built chips in their plastic heads that emit signals to a receiver in the ignition. The ignition has an immobilizer that detects right signals from an original key. If anyone puts a wrong key into the ignition, the immobilizer will detect wrong signals making the vehicle unable to start. The transponder key shank is more often than not a laser-cut key or a basic key. The difference between a transponder key and a basic car key is the chip that requires programming first to start the car.
All the dealer shops that you will go to will offer you services regarding programming of the chip, as they have the necessary machinery. Charges vary depending on the dealer shop –free programming and chargeable programming services. Basic car keys without a transmitter are cost-effective for car access as they come in handy in cases where you have left your key in the car. They will do everything but start the car.
The laser-cut keys
Slightly more thickness and fewer carved-out grooves are evident features that distinguish this key from the basic car key. You can also call them sidewinder keys because of their elaborate winding cut at the shank. Essentially, machines used in cutting these keys are more expensive as compared to basic car key and transponder key cutting machines. Moreover, unlike the standard key-cutting machines, you will not come across a laser-cutting machine on every locksmith or dealer shop that you go.
Just like the transponder keys, they have a chip that needs programming. Programming is merely done at the dealer or locksmith shops that are members of a chartered group. Therefore, a locksmith programming laser-cut key needs to be certified. In other words, the services are limited and this makes laser0cut keys very expensive to replace when you lose them.
The switchblade keys
These keys are one of a kind, in that when you press a button on the key the shanks come out. Usually, when not in use the shanks will fold into a fob. Cutting does not have much limitation as the key can have either a basic cut or laser cut. Consequently, you can go for the cheaper option if you feel laser-cut is quite expensive for you.
Besides, the other benefit of having a switchblade key is that you can purchase their components separately. If you have a damaged key or one that is no longer functioning for some reason, you can merely purchase some of its necessary components and have it fixed in a locksmith shop. Therefore, it makes fixing key problems a cheaper solution. For lost keys you will have to factor the cost of both the shank and the fob not to mention programming.
Undeniably, modern keys are expensive in terms of replacement. Notwithstanding, it will be worth your investment if you get a spare key from the dealer or locksmith shops. You will not only save yourself unexpected future cost but also have an easy solution to lost or damaged car key in very critical moments.