Being stuck in a car lockout is no fun for many reasons. It’s easy to lose the car remote as these remotes are often part of the keys themselves nowadays. You might need to get a new car key cut if you’ve lost the one you have. Depending on the make and model of your car, you’ll go about replacing these differently. Ignition keys now come with transponders that communicate messages to your vehicle, preventing theft. A programmed key won’t work on any other car than the one it was programmed to. You need to be in the general proximity of the car for the vehicle to respond to your remote. Newer keys have different buttons that control the car door and windows as well. Below is a FAQ about replacing car keys filled with useful answers.

Can I program a new keyless entry remote myself?

There are different ways to program a remote depending on the vehicle. Some are easy to program yourself but you might need professional help for the others.

Where do I have my key or remote cut and programmed?

You can get a car key and remote cut and programmed at a car dealership or automotive locksmith. The complexity of the key will determine your options.

How do I know if my car has a transponder chip inside?

Take your key into a hardware store, automotive locksmith or car dealership to find out if it contains a transponder chip. A spare key made simply can be used to open the car trunk and doors. If it doesn’t work, your vehicle needs a transponder chip. Be sure that the right key isn’t in the car when testing the ignition like this. Your car may be responding to the right key, not the spare you’re testing. You can also take a close look at your car to see if it has a transponder chip. Transponder chips can be found online but you’ll probably need a locksmith to program them.

What happens if my key doesn’t work after I had it cut?

Your transponder key has probably not been programmed. Have the dealership or automotive locksmith do so. You can even do it yourself for older car models.

How can I find an automotive locksmith in my area?

Look for an automotive locksmith in the yellow pages or online. Locksmith organizations like the ALA (Associated Locksmiths of America) list licensed locksmiths all over the U.S. your best bet though is one that you have been referred to.

What is the general price range for cutting and/or programming keys and remotes?

Key cutting prices and programming for transponder keys depend on your area and your vehicle. If you are doing this process through a dealership it will likely cost more. There is the option of buying un-programmed transponder keys and fobs and programming them yourself. Try to get the key from a company that offers good tech support. Every car needs to be programmed a bit differently, so don’t go it alone.

Why can’t I program a new key myself if I have one working key?

You need two working keys to program a new one. Otherwise, you’ll require the assistance of an automotive locksmith or a car dealership.

Why does a key cutting service need my license and registration before cutting new keys?

The key cutting service needs to verify that you are who you say you are. This is for your well-being. Be prepared to provide verifying documents when ordering a key cutting service online.

How do I know if my vehicle has a keyless entry system?

If you have a remote for your car, it is capable of keyless entry. Any dealership will be able to tell you if yours is keyless using your VIN (vehicle identification number).

How can I be sure I have received the correct remote for my vehicle?

Make sure that the part number on the back of your remote and the buttons on the front match your vehicle. A car dealership can clear up any confusion by using your VIN to verify which remote is the right one for your car.

Are replacement keys and remotes original or aftermarket products?

Transponder chip keys are like aftermarket, while remotes and fob keys are usually made from the original manufacturer.

If I replaced my remote battery and it still doesn’t work, do I need to replace my remote?

This could indicate that your remote is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Key Takeaways

  • Programming your key fob yourself is possible, but you’ll need the physical fob as well as the knowledge on how to do so.
  • It’s generally more time-efficient to allow a car dealership or locksmith handle transponder key programming for you.
  • It might seem like you need to jump through a lot of hoops in order to get a new key. This is to keep criminals from doing so illegally.
  • When buying a new electronic key, be sure to ask about a warranty and tech support if necessary. It can be hard to go alone!

Do replacements come with a warranty?

You can expect a 90-day warranty, but be sure to ask for this information expressly.

Are replacements purchased online less expensive?

They will likely be less costly than at a dealership. Still, the key will need to be programmed, by a dealership, locksmith or yourself. A trade off for ordering online is the wait time. It’s generally easier to just let your locksmith handle everything.