The costs associated with car key duplication can vary widely. Don’t think that it’s all just one price – many factors determine how much it’ll cost to copy your key. If you think that you need a copy of your key think again.

Having another car key available can really come in handy, for many different reasons. Having a spare car key around is just great if you ever get stuck in a car lockout. You won’t need to panic or go crazy – you’ve got a duplicate key somewhere around. Sure, it may seem like a waste of good money, copying your key. But when that key saves you from a frustrating lockout scenario? You’ll be glad you made the investment.

Duplicating a key isn’t a black and white process. It’s important to know the difference between replacing a car key and cutting a new key. In order to duplicate a key, you need your original key in hand to make the copy. If you don’t have your physical key, you’re now looking into replacing your key by getting a new one cut. The costs of these two processes will differ, so it’s good to know whether you need your key duplicated or just a new one altogether.

Factors That Determine Car Key Duplication Cost

multiple car keys

Where The Duplicate Is Made

Key duplication costs can vary. It depends largely on where you get your car key duplicated in the first place. If you go to get your car copied locally, like at a hardware store, the employees there may not be able to give you a concrete answer on cost. They haven’t been trained to know about car key duplication beyond putting the key into the copying machine. Going to a trusted car locksmith or dealership is a different story. There, you’ll find professionals who can give you a solid cost, along with the reasons why. Of course, the average cost of key duplication in your area will play a role in the final price.

Type Of Car Key

Probably the largest factor determining car key duplication cost is the type of car you need a key for. For example, an old, common car key duplication will cist much less than the key for a newfangled, technologically advanced luxury car. Do some research and find out which type of key blank you’ll need for your car model. In some cases, it may make it better dense to get a new key cut rather than duplicating an existing one.

Never thought your old’ car manual would come in handy? Think again! Your manual should tell you whether or not your car key is standard. A standard car key doesn’t have any of those additional features like key fobs and transponders, which are pricier to duplicate. However, in this day and age you’d be hard pressed to come across a key that doesn’t contain any of these common modifications. While these extra features can be annoying during car key duplication, they play a large role in keeping your car protected from burglaries and theft.

Type Of Duplication Machine Used

The type of duplication machine used will determine the price as well. Although this part doesn’t have much to do with you, it’s good to know why copying a key may be pricier in one shop than in another. In general, the longer the machine takes to copy the key, the costlier that copied key will be.

Car Key Duplication Cost

We’ve covered the common sense and the science; it’s time to get down to the numbers. All of the factors we’ve discussed previously play a role in these cost averages. Note: what we’re discussing here is car key duplication, NOT cutting new keys or car key duplication. Let’s face the facts!

  • Duplicating a basic key at the hardware store is around $1.20 to $2.00. Just know that the hardware store probably can’t copy anything beyond a standard car key.
  • The locksmith shop will charge you about $1.50 to $4.00 for car key duplication. They will probably have many different key blanks for you to choose from.
  • For keys with additional features like transponder chips, the prices will start at $120. Again, variation in price will depend on the car blank you require.
  • The automotive dealership can charge you upwards of $150 for key duplication. The high price is primarily because dealerships often don’t duplicate basic keys. They often deal with keys that have transponders or key fobs.

Newer versions of car keys often require some additional fiddling in order to get them duplicated. Take this into consideration, as these processes have a definitive affect on the bottom line. Copying basic keys is usually simple, but having to program a transponder in a car key can bump up the price.

Transponder keys were incorporated into car keys as a way of protecting them from theft. If a car key that doesn’t match your car is used to try and unlock it, the car will not start. This is why you’re duplicate key’s transponder needs to be programmed to match your car after duplication.

  • Your locksmith will probably charge you around $30 to $75 for programming a transponder key. When you add that cost to the physical duplication, your total charge will be in the range of around $150 to $195. The price can be much higher than that, so take caution.
  • You can expect the cost of programming your transponder key to be upwards of $150 at an automotive dealership.


You’re probably thinking, “Wow, all of that build up and key duplication isn’t even that pricey. Score! The truth is, you’ve probably been misled by the blanket cos in the industry. Many services are often referred to as ‘car key duplication’, even when they’re not.

I’m happy that you’re now equipped with the knowledge of knowing the difference between car key duplication, car key replacement and transponder key programming. Each of these are completely different services – depending on what you need, the overall cost of your service can vary widely.

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