Replacing Your Car Keys When You Don't Have the Originals

Replacing Your Car Keys When You Don't Have the Originals

Car keys get lost more frequently than we’d like to think, and using spare keys can be a problem if they’ve been placed in a drawer somewhere and forgotten about. This is especially true for older model cars. When the time comes to sell them, the keys are nowhere to be found.

Replacing your car keys when you don’t have the originals is possible, but car key replacement techniques vary, depending on the year the car was manufactured.

Can I get a new car key without the original?

The short answer is yes - you can get a replacement car key without the original. Here’s what to do if you’re locked out of your vehicle, or you want to sell a vehicle and you can’t find the original keys.

Always check with the dealership first - this will be the easiest option when you need to replace your car keys. However, the downside is that dealerships charge a premium if you need a third key fob for your car. You might want to look into getting a manual car key instead or find out how much it will cost to replace the car’s key fob at the time of buying the vehicle.

Going to a professional locksmith might be easier - and cheaper - than asking your car dealership for a replacement for a lost car key. Before you visit your local locksmith, you will need to have some documentation and information on hand as this will make the process go a lot smoother.

What information should I gather before getting a replacement key made for my car?

You will need the following information and documentation before getting a replacement key for your car at the locksmith:

  • What make is the car?
  • What model is the car?
  • What year was the car manufactured?
  • Official car registration
  • Personal identification
  • Proof that you are the registered over of the vehicle
  • Registered car VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)

Having this information on hand will help your local locksmith check the exact type of key your car uses. If you can’t find the VIN, it is usually found on the driver’s side of the vehicle. If the car is locked and you can’t access the VIN, it can be found on the registration documents.

Locksmiths will know what type of car key your vehicle needs

When it comes to selling used and older model vehicles that you can’t find the key for, your local locksmith will understand what sort of key it needs because they don’t only deal with modern vehicles.

Different vehicles use different types of keys, depending on what technology was popular at the time the vehicle was manufactured. For example, if the vehicle was made before the eighties, it will require a standard key. This is because old model cars never used specialised electronic components like microchips and transponders.

After the early eighties, however, things changed as more advanced motor vehicle technology began to be introduced, such as fuel injection and vehicle assembly automation. If you need a replacement key for a vehicle manufactured after 1981, the locksmith might need to make a transponder car key. If this is the case, you are going to need an automotive locksmith specialist like OEM Car Key Mall. 

If you need a replacement key for a more recent model car, or if the key you lost was a key fob, then you will need a smart key as a replacement. Again, this is a service that only an automotive locksmith specialist can provide at a cost lower than what the car dealership will charge.

This is because key fobs in newer model vehicles are able to communicate with a car’s ignition, but only if the fob is close enough to the vehicle for it to pick up the signal. The new or replacement car’s key fob requires programming before it can send and receive signals with the ignition.

How to find your nearest automotive locksmith 

If the car key you need is for a pre-1981 year and model vehicle, sometimes the best way to get a replacement key made is to have one especially cut for the ignition. This might require the locksmith to do a home visit or for you to bring the ignition part to the locksmith outlet for them to mould a key from the ignition direct.

Finding a professional automotive locksmith with car key replacement knowledge is easier and cheaper than using the car dealership. Whether it’s for a home visit or if you deal in-store, only a professional auto locksmith will be able to help you choose the best option for a replacement car key or programming a new key fob.

Remember, the newer the car, the more specialised the key will be, so always use a professional locksmith service to do the job. They guarantee their work and have access to microchips, transponders, and new fobs for all the car makes, models, and year.

Once you have your car key information registered with the nearest automotive locksmith in your area, you can get new spare keys cut for your car whenever you need them.

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