Lost your car keys? Congratulations! You are now stranded till you flip over every last piece of furniture, rummage through every desk drawer, and shuffle through all your belongings till you find the jingling bundle to your mechanical chariot.
When you’re 100% sure you won’t find them, it’s time to get new ones made. But where and how do you get new car keys made?
Check out this piece for helpful information on what to do when you lock yourself out of the car.
Replacing car keys isn’t always as simple as going to the local hardware store and getting a new key cut. Modern electronic car key fobs offer a world of convenient options. But with convenience comes a hefty price tag.
There are several places you can get a new key made depending on the type you need to replace:
- Automotive store
- Automotive locksmith
- Automotive dealership
- Hardware store
- OEM parts dealer
- Online aftermarket seller
Standard ignition keys of vehicles made before 1981 could be replaced at a hardware store, locksmith, or an automotive outlet. On the other hand, complex key fobs will require a visit to an automotive dealership, OEM parts dealer, or automotive locksmith.
We’ve collected all the relevant information you would need to get yourself a brand new pair of keys. We will also answer important questions regarding the various types of keys, insurance, dealer’s role, does AutoZone make keys, and much more.
If there’s a specific section you’re looking for, feel free to jump to it!
- Guide to Keys and Fobs
- How to Get a Key Made
- Remote Key Fobs: Malfunctions and Fixes
- The Role of Car Dealers and Insurance Companies in Key Replacement
- Can You Make a Car Key Without the Original?
- Does AutoZone Make Car Keys?
Guide to Keys and Fobs
An electronic key fob is also known as a transmitter or remote. These are an integral part of most modern cars. Expect to spend anywhere between $50 to over $100 to replace a key fob remote depending on the complication of the design and the automaker. All key fobs are programmable.
A few dealerships perform this free of cost while others charge for an hour or half or labor.
Fortunately, you can navigate around this fee. Some of these electronic fobs are programmable with the help of a certain combination of key turns (ignition) and button presses (remote).
You could find this information in the owner’s manual. If not, there is also information online.
Lastly, you could buy aftermarket key fob remotes from a locksmith or on the internet. As expected of aftermarket products, quality will vary. But they are much more budget-friendly.
From the early 2000s, manufacturers started equipping the plastic head of a car key with a transponder chip. Upon ignition, the chip would send a signal to the receiver. If an incorrect key is in the ignition – in car terms that would be “if the immobilizer” gets the wrong or no signal – the vehicle wouldn’t start.
The primary difference between a transponder key and a basic car key is that the prior has to be programmed in order to start the car. All dealerships contain the necessary machines for key programming. Generally, auto locksmiths own these machines too.
In some vehicles, you can find the transponder fob and the key as an all-in-one unit. Not only does this add to the overall price of key replacements, but it also limits the places where you can get the replacement done.
If you’re looking for a low-cost substitute to access your car without problems, just get a basic car key. It doesn’t need to have a transmitter. This will perform all activities but start the car’s engine. So, this could be your saving grace if you have a tendency of locking yourself out of your car.
Also, consider making a third key as a spare. If you own two keys already, a few vehicle brands will let you program another key by yourself. Here’s a smart way to do it: Pay a locksmith to cut a new key for you and you can follow the programming procedure afterward.
The procedure can be typically found in the owner’s manual. No instructions on the manual? Try searching it up online. Make sure to include the make, model, and year of the car in your search terms.
Flip Keys or Switchblade Keys
Much like the name suggests, switchblade keys retract into the key fob once you’re done using them. Just press the designated button to release them again. These can feature a basic or a laser cut. One great thing about flip keys is that various of their components can be bought separately.
If you have a damaged or malfunctioning key, you can get a shank by itself for $60 to $80. However, if you somehow lost your keys for good, you will have t get both the shank and the fob that acts as a shell. This can cost anywhere between $200 to $300 with all programming factors into consideration.
The easiest way to differentiate between a basic car key and a laser-cut one is to observe the thickness of the shank. In laser-cut keys, the shank is much thicker and doesn’t have as many carved-out grooves.
Thanks to the signature winding cut, laser-cut keys are often called sidewinder keys. As you could probably tell, the machines used to cut these keys are pricier than their standard counterparts. Don’t expect to find one at every other hardware store or locksmiths.
Additionally, laser-cut keys have an in-built transponder chip that needs to be programmed by the dealership. Alternatively, it can be done by a locksmith – preference to someone holding a membership of the Associated Locksmiths of America, also, ALOA.
All-in-one laser-cut keys are all the rage right now. But, as mentioned before, these are expensive and have to be replaced at the dealership. Labor included, you will have to pay between $150 to $250.
Keyless Entry Remote
Also referred to as a “smart key,” a keyless entry remote isn’t exactly a car key in the conventional sense. This key fob has to be inserted into the dash. For newer car, it stays in the purse or pocket. With the simple press of a button, a driver can enter their car.
The main form of security for keyless entry remotes is the use of rolling security codes. The system keeps thieves and hackers out by randomizing the right code through the use of a “code grabber.”
The car’s computer receives and verifies the code given by the smart key before starting the engine. That being said, it would be wrong to claim this technology is completely theft-proof.
Almost every car brand offers a smart key with their technology packages now. From a Nissan to a Ford, keyless entry remotes are everywhere.
Keep in mind that these keyless entry remotes reduce your options. You have to buy the replacement remote at a factory parts reseller or dealer. The cost of replacing a smart key will be around $220 to more than $500 for a few luxury models of cars.
How to Get a Key Made
Before we jump straight into “Does AutoZone make car keys?”, let’s talk about how a key is to be made.
Once you’ve recognized the kind of key you need, a key blank has to be purchased. You can also get a replacement remote as an additive or alternative. Remotes and key blanks only work for specific makes and models of cars, so make sure that the product you’re getting is compatible with your vehicle.
If you’re ordering the key online, or in many cases, you will have to provide the VIN of your car. This can be located on the driver’s end of the dashboard. If you can’t find it on the car, chances are, it’s on the top left-hand corner of the pages in your car insurance policy.
Manu automotive or hardware stores stock key blanks, and a few can replicate an existing key. Not all stores can make all kinds of keys, though. A few specialize in only basic metal keys.
You can either purchase the key blank from the locksmith you got to cut and program the key or, you can buy it somewhere else and bring it in. The latter is a cheaper option. Replacement keys for the car will be provided at the car dealerships but this is definitely the most expensive option. More on that here.
Remote Key Fobs: Malfunctions and Fixes
A remote key fob isn’t the same as the car’s ignition key. The fob relies on a transmitter to communicate at the press of a button. Generally, you use these devices to unlock/lock your car’s doors, enable a feature, or open the trunk.
In case the remote key is lost or malfunctioning, follow these steps to program the fob. You can also check out this video for a detailed guide.
Reprogramming A Malfunctioning Remote Key Fob
Start by replacing the battery. A remote key fob battery is available in most automotive stores, hardware stores, and on the online marketplace, Amazon. Have a look at the owner’s manual to understand the kind of battery needed as well as the instructions on how to remove and/or replace the battery.
The owner’s manual should tell you all about reprogramming the car’s remote key fob. If not, look for instructions online. Usually, a few button presses on your fob combined with turns on the ignition key will do the job. For all the not-so-DIY-friendly folks, we have good news! Most locksmiths and dealerships will reprogram a remote key fob at a reasonable price for labor.
Replacing And Programming A Lost Remote Key Fob
You can buy a new remote key fob from an aftermarket seller or at the dealership. Look into local automotive stores, hardware stores, locksmiths, and Amazon too to find what you’re looking for.
The replacement cost for a remote key fob will range between $35 to $200 based on the automaker and the fob’s complexity. Make sure the fob is compatible with your car before you finalize the purchase.
Use a series of button presses on the fob mixed with turns on the ignition key to program the new remote key fob. Look into the owner’s manual to locate specific instructions for the task. If you bought the fob at a dealership, they would usually program it for free. A locksmith could program it for a minimal cost so that’s another option for you.
The Role of Car Dealers and Insurance Companies in Key Replacement
Does your car dealership have any responsibility in the key department? Given how easily people tend to lose these valuable items, you’d think car dealerships would try to make it easy for them. How will your insurance company help with the situation? Find out here.
Do Car Dealers Have to Give You 2 Keys?
When purchasing a new car at any dealership, they will give you two keys. But, if you’re buying a second-hand car at the dealership, it’s not mandatory on the dealer’s part to provide you with multiple keys.
Used cars don’t always come with spare keys. Here’s why:
- The former owner didn’t hand over two keys.
- The spare key is lost.
- During the repossession of the car, only one key was bought.
Make sure to inquire with your dealer about the possibility of a spare key before signing the deal. It’s possible that you will have to negotiate a little for them to throw in the extra key. Your purchase agreement needs to be clear on this – that your dealership is including two keys.
Will Insurance Cover Replacement?
The majority of auto insurance policies don’t provide coverage for a lost key. If you’re lucky, you will score a policy that offers key replacement as an add-on. Have a word with your insurance provider about this so there’s transparency between the two parties.
A roadside assistance policy would cover the cost of an emergency service if you ever got stranded on the road. But, the chances that the coverage will be enough for the cost of replacing a key is very low. Check the policy for more information.
Nevertheless, stolen car keys are a different case. They may be covered under comprehensive insurance policies. Contact your insurance company the moment your keys are stolen to know whether you should file a claim for the cost of key replacement.
Can You Make a Car Key Without the Original?
Yes, you can. Even if you don’t own the original key anymore, you can get a new one made. On instances when a car key is stolen or lost, a skilled automotive locksmith can make a new key and reprogram it. You can also have it done at the dealership but as you can probably tell by now, it would be costlier.
The two things you need to know are the VIN or Vehicle Identification Number, and the model/make/year of the vehicle. The dealership or locksmith will need you to give proof of ownership, usually the title or registration of the car. Inform your dealership or locksmith if you think the key was stolen.
Reprogramming will ensure the car doesn’t answer to the old key anymore.
Does AutoZone Make Car Keys?
Out of the many places that make car keys, AutoZone is a prominent name. Their pieces are well-suited for a wide range of car models. A few models are Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Chrysler, Toyota, and Kia. A blank could cost you between $3 to $6, exclusive of sales tax.
Check out where you can buy car key batteries.
About Transponder Keys
In addition to the basic blanks, AutoZone also produces and sells remote key fobs plus transponders. The price ranges from $15 to $90. You can utilize an On-Board programming system to program any of the various key fobs up for sale at your nearest AutoZone. With that said, the availability of these programs is determined by the particular automaker.
In addition, you might still have to drop by your locksmith or dealership from time to time to program your new car key fob.
Does AutoZone make car keys, you ask? Yes, but there’s something better they offer. They offer a convenient and affordable way for customers to purchase top-notch security transponder keys.
About 50% of the cars on the roads operate using transponder keys equipped with a computer chip. The computer chip comes with a security code. Only a good transponder key containing the right security code can get the engines to run. This ensures the overall safety of the car and keeps pesky thieves away.
AutoZone understands that transponder keys are susceptible to damages, not to mention how easily some users lose them.
The chain realizes that bringing your replacement needs to a dealership is costly and time-consuming. To reduce the hassle, AutoZone has removed the need for an appointment beforehand to get a transponder key. They also offer a large range of keys for vehicles from GM, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, and many more.
AutoZone has great accuracy when it comes to replication. The keys are cut using digital methods and state-of-the-art tools and technology. If you’re not satisfied with the cut or quality of the key, AutoZone will do it all over again but in no way will they let you exit with a subpar experience.
We understand how annoying it can be when the key fob just stops working out of thin air. So how can you diagnose the error and fix it in a pinch? Contrary to popular belief, a car key fob does require regular maintenance.
You shouldn’t overlook this little device because it holds the key (literally) to your vehicle. You won’t be able to get into the car, let alone drive it.
The first thing to do when you are working with a broken fob is to isolate the problem. Next, contemplate whether it’s best to repair the existing one or have a replacement made.
Does AutoZone Program Key Fobs or Car Remotes
That’s both a yes and a no. Similar to other major box auto parts retailers, AutoZone has a huge stock of key fobs and car remotes to sell. They come with self-programming instructions. A few stores will help you with it but the stock is always limited.
Few vehicles feature the OBP. Most of these remotes have to be programmed by an experienced locksmith or at the dealership with the correct equipment to integrate the information into the computer’s memory. The other factors to consider are money and time.
Usually, a dealership costs twice as much as a locksmith. The latter don’t charge hidden fees either. The dealership owns a large showroom facility that has to be maintained whereas the locksmith operates from a little shop. So, there are savings on both ends. However, if the locksmith doesn’t have enough experience, they could do an incomplete job. Eventually, that could mess up the key fob’s system.
At the end of the day, everything boils down to which seems more convenient to you – what adds more value to your daily transportation.
Does Autozone Make Keys?- Bottom Line
That is all on “Does AutoZone make car keys”. We hope we provided the information you were looking for. Remember that you don’t have to sacrifice an arm and a leg to replace your car keys or the remote. AutoZone is a great option for fixing the issue quickly and professionally. But there are alternatives you can look into if this doesn’t fit your budget or preferences.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.