An Overview Of Car Key Replacement Costs

With the added difficulty of replacing contemporary car keys, there is a larger cost burden to the consumer. We can’t go to our local hardware store and get a key blank for our car and have it cut for us. There are additional steps involved, several

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inquiries to make, and more money to fork over. To make it a little easier we are going to give you a small overview on the cost of replacing your car key, and where you can hope to find the cheapest price. The prices we list below will be approximated dealership prices. We will be adding a more comprehensive list as we conduct more inquiries with dealerships and locksmiths.

The Key

The first thing that you will be paying for is the key itself. There are several things

VW Laser Cut Key

associated with the purchase of the key that can make it more expensive. First is it a transponder key or just your standard chip-less key? Just about all modern vehicles have transponder keys now. This can add anywhere from $50-$100 to the price of they key, and this doesn’t usually include labor for programming which will be a half hour to an hour.

The Key Fob

This purchase could actually be incorporated into the key purchase as it could be a key in key fob combination.  However the key fob will approximate $80-$100 for its replacement but again it depends on the make and model of your vehicle. A good rule of thumb is the more sophisticated the key &/or key fob the more expensive it will be to replace.

Laser Cut Keys

It used to be a real pain to get these keys replaced, as you had no other choice but to go through a qualified dealer. However nowadays laser cut keys are becoming more and more popular, and with that there has been an increasing amount of capable locksmiths able to perform the necessary cutting for them. However laser cut keys will still be more expensive, as they are incorporated with transponder chips that also need to be programmed. You can expect these keys to cost at least $150-$200 before programming.

In addition to laser cut keys, if they are a part of an all-in-one switchblade set up with a key fob, you can plan on paying up to $300 after programming. Remember, these are prices you will likely find with the dealer.

Smart Keys

These will be the most difficult and the most expensive to replace. More than likely you won’t find a locksmith that will be able to do the programming necessary for you and will have to go to the dealer. The sophistication of these keys can vary wildly so depending on your vehicle, you could pay anywhere from $200 to $400

Tips for getting a better price

First check out a reputable online retailer and see if they can sell you a key blank or key fob that matches your vehicle. Some of these retailers offer cutting services Free Photo Courtesy of freestockphotos.comas well. If you’re able to find a good online retailer that can provide you with the right key you can save in excess of 25%-30% right there. Programming the key will still need to be done, however in some instances you can find programming instructions for your vehicle. If you’re able to do this then you can save an additional $50-$100 (labor rates * half our/hour).

Next check with auto locksmiths. You likely won’t find one that is as cheap as an online retailer, but they won’t charge you as much as the dealership and they are very capable of doing the cutting & programming of your new set of keys for you.


Replacing your vehicle’s keys can have a high price as they become more sophisticated. Remember that the features of your key will determine the price of its replacement. Be sure to shop around as you have numerous options available to you. These professionals are anxious to do business with you and it will have them competing against each other to get you the best price.

Hopefully this has been a benefit to you as you go along your search for replacement car keys. While new information becomes available to us we will continue to revise our price estimations, as we will continue to inquire with dealerships & auto locksmiths for quotes about specific makes and models. Also feel free to share your experience with us as you can help others in their search.

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