Before keyless entry systems were common on many cars, getting lost your car keys wasn’t a huge issue. Was it inconvenient? Yes, but chances are you had a spare or could easily get a new one made for cheap. However, locking systems have become so advanced and keys along with them, which can make the process of getting a new one quite costly and time-consuming.
The easiest way to save yourself a few hundred dollars is to take action before your keys are even lost are stolen in the first place. If you don’t have a spare car key now, you should get a backup made at your earliest convenience and keep it in a safe place. You won’t regret it.
In this article, we’ll run down the main types of car keys and offer some suggestions for what to do if yours disappear.
Lost Car Keys
The traditional car key on older models of vehicles can be the easiest to replace. Everything about this process is mechanical: You slide the key into the ignition cylinder and the engine starts working.
Did you lose it? It’s time to call a professional like the ones at Brant Lock & Key. One of our experts can come to you and create a new key on the spot. However, in some cases, the solution is a little more complicated. With some very old or unusual cars, you might be forced to buy a new ignition lock cylinder from an independent repair shop or directly from the dealer.
Lost Car Key Fob
We started seeing the first fobs in 1983. It was a seemingly magical and convenient way to lock and unlock your car doors remotely, but a regular key was still needed to start the engine.
Did you lose it? It’s annoying, but not a huge deal. You can still use your traditional key to operate the locks and start the car. Getting a replacement fob is easy too. Nowadays, you can buy a programmable fob that anyone can set up at home. They only cost $20 or less and can be found at most auto part stores, dealerships and online.
Lost Transponder Key
This type of key was created to boost security. Automakers increased anti-theft measures by creating ignition keys with a plastic head that holds a special computer chip. The chip communicates with the vehicle and won’t let the car start until wireless contact is made between the key and the car. These types of keys came out in the early to mid-90s and are still very common.
Did you lose it? It’s a real headache if you don’t have a backup key in this situation. You’ll need papers to prove you own the vehicle and you’ll need to get your car towed to the dealership. Even then, if the dealer doesn’t have your specific key in stock you’ll have to order a new one and it could take several days. The dealership has to pair the new computer chip with your vehicle before it’ll work. This is important especially if your old key was stolen. Reprogramming a new key ensures the thief won’t be able to unlock your car with the original. The replacement key, in this case, can cost up to $250, which doesn’t include towing fees to get your vehicle out to the dealership.
Lost Smart Key
Most people refer to this type of key as “keyless ignition”. This type of key uses a proximity sensor, which lets the car know that the key is inside the vehicle, allowing you to start your car with the simple push of a button. Most of these smart keys have a traditional key stored inside that you can pull out and use in case the battery dies.
Did you lose it? This likely requires another tow to your dealership if you don’t have a backup. If the dealer doesn’t have one in stock it could take several days and then they’ll have to program it to be paired with your vehicle. These are the most expensive keys to replace, usually costing more than $300.
How Can You Make a New Car Key without A Spare?
When you call up the pros at Brant Lock & Key, they’ll first ask you what make and model of vehicle you have. This will help our experts determine how best to help you. They need to know if you have a traditional car key or transponder key.
It will speed up the process even more if you can provide our team with the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN. This number is located somewhere on the dashboard or etched into the car’s side windows. This helps narrow down the exact vehicle you have, which will make the locksmith’s job even easier to help you. Can’t find it? No worries, our experts will still be able to help you.
Making a new key without an original copy takes a bit longer. Using the vehicle information you provided, the locksmith can search a database and select the exact key you need.
Lost Your Car Keys? No Worries We Can Help
Having your car keys lost or stolen is a very stressful situation. First of all, it’s important not to panic. Carefully retrace your steps and think about whether you might have left them in a bag or somewhere in the house. Once you’re certain that the keys are not recoverable, it’s time to call the professionals.
Calling up an expert automotive locksmith like the ones at Brant Lock & Key ensures that you’ll get expert advice to get you back on the road faster. In the case of stolen car keys, we can guarantee your safety and security by ensuring no thief can access your car again using the old key.
We’ll send one of our experienced and friendly crew members to your home or wherever you happen to be stranded. Our entire team is trained to work with the latest and most advanced locking systems on the market and we will help get you back on the road as soon as possible.