Whether you need a duplicate key made for your car or a complete replacement, you can choose from a variety of places to get this done. The number of options available to you will depend on the age and model of your car and the type of key you are replacing.
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Your choice of options will begin with understanding a little about your vehicle’s security system and the role that your key plays in that. There are essentially four different kinds of keys and associated fobs: standard keys, keys with fobs, “switchblade” fobs with metal keys that pop out, and smart-key fobs. Not surprisingly, as the technology associated with your key and fob become more advanced, purchasing replacements become more expensive.
Metal Keys Are Old School Security
Standard keys may be completely old school metal with no additional bells and whistles, and this type is the easiest and cheapest to replace. You may also have a key that looks like a standard key but has a transponder chip in it to provide an additional level of security. The transponder chip emits a signal that pairs with the key being used to unlock a door or start the car. These keys are slightly more expensive to replace because in addition to cutting the key, a compatible chip must also be installed on the key.
Keys and Fobs Give You Many Replacement Options
If your vehicle was manufactured in or after the late 2000s, your vehicle may have a key and a fob that uses buttons to provide additional functions, like locking and unlocking your car, remote start, or operating a trunk release or liftgate. If you lose your fob, but not your key, you may still be able to unlock and operate your car, but you will lose the convenience of your fob’s functions. Getting a replacement fob is only the first step for replacing it. Once you have a new fob, you will need to have it programmed by a dealership or a locksmith who is authorized to program your brand. Many dealers and locksmiths will even offer to program an off-brand fob that you purchase online but call ahead to make sure. Some dealers prefer to program only official brand fobs. Shopping around for fobs and programming may seem time-consuming but by investing a little time, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars off the dealer price for this service. Apart from this, if you want to know about air suspension kits, you can read various reviews from Google.
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Depending on your vehicle’s manufacturer, you may be able to purchase an off-brand fob and program it yourself. This is primarily for those needing a duplicate and would require that you have two other remote fobs to successfully program your duplicate fob. To check if this option is available to you, just read your auto owner’s manual where you will find the instructions for programming a new fob. If you can’t find it or don’t have one, just search online by your vehicle’s make, model and year, and the words, “owner’s manual”.
Switchblade Fobs Are an All-in-one Option
Switchblade fobs combine the functions of a separate key and fob in one package. With the push of a button on the fob, a metal key pops out for use. These can be more expensive to replace because of all that functionality and specific characteristics of the metal key.
Keyless Smart-key Fobs
Smart-key fobs are the most recent innovation for vehicle security and operation, typically used for keyless start vehicles. Because they represent more sophisticated technology, they can often be replaced only through official vehicle brand dealerships. This can add unexpected costs to your replacement because, in addition to their expense, you may also need to have your car towed to the dealership if you lose your keys. With a smart-key fob, the best thing to do is make sure you have a spare fob when you purchase your vehicle. See if you can ask your dealer to include another smart-key fob as a part of your purchase, or check your vehicle warranty to see if getting a replacement or duplicate key is covered.
Planning for the Unexpected
There are a few different scenarios for key replacements that each come with their own levels of stress. One thing that every replacement has in common is that you will need to have your personal identification, vehicle registration, VIN, and proof of ownership to start the replacement process. If you only need a duplicate key and/or fob, you can choose the option that best serves your investment of time and money and correlates with the type of key you have – as explained above.
In an emergency situation when a key and/or fob is lost, your course of action may be influenced by when it happens. If your type of key fob allows you the option of choosing a dealership or locksmith, you will want to opt for the latter when you need fast service that can come to you at all hours of the day. Express Locksmith serves Houston and many surrounding communities with 24-hour emergency response. We also provide full-service locksmith assistance so if your house or business keys are also on your lost keyring, we can keep you safe by changing any locks that might be compromised. If you choose to work with a car dealership, you may have to tow your vehicle there and wait until regular service hours to get your replacement.
For any replacements that qualify as an emergency, you should check with your insurance provider or roadside assistance program to see if the cost of towing and key fob replacement is covered. Better yet, know your policy’s coverage ahead of time to save you some time and stress should this ever happen.
Visit our website or give us a call to see if we can provide and program key fob replacements for your make and year. We offer this service for many American and European vehicles, and our costs average 30% to 40% less than similar services at auto dealerships.