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March 15 ,2023

Why Are Replacement Car Keys So Expensive?

Why Are Replacement Car Keys So Expensive?

In the past, you could walk into a hardware store to purchase duplicate keys when your keys are missing or lost. However, this is not the case today, as most modern keys use more sophisticated keys such as key fobs or transponder keys.

These key types have electronic components that can operate the vehicle's locks or start the ignition. Thus, you need the help of a trained professional for installation, replacement and repairs. So the current sophistication of car keys have skyrocketed the cost of key replacement. In this guide, we will look at the many factors affecting the cost of car key replacement.

Component Replacement

Key fobs are electronic devices - because they contain a circuit and battery used to operate the key. Overall, car key replacement is fairly costly, and it varies for different brands of vehicles.

For instance, an auto locksmith specializing in BMW cars can charge between $170 for an ignition key and $1,000 for a radio remote control key display. Although the keys are programmed to the vehicle's VIN, the professional must still program the chip inside the key. So, this raises the cost of replacing the key.

Likewise, a replacement key fob for a 2015 Lexus ES350 costs about $160. If you want to spend less, you can always purchase less expensive variants not manufactured by BMW or Lexus from the market. However, the keys are of lesser quality than the original. These keys have a high failure rate, so most local auto locksmiths will not program such keys.

Locksmiths also consider the specific code that must be obtained in addition to the cost of the actual key. Depending o the model, make and year, the cost could range between $10 and $60.

Cost Of Equipment

Modern car key replacement requires the use of sophisticated and complex technology. Invariably, this affects the cost of the key replacement. Every locksmith firm factors their overhead while providing the final quote. Thus, the equipment used, duration, wear and tear will eventually in the rate.

In addition, vehicles such as BMW and Mercedes often require special machinery exclusive to the manufacturers. In essence, the cost of cutting certain new keys will be remarkably greater as you will have to pay for the unique technology used to provide the service.

Labor Cost

Typically, the process of getting a new key can be divided into two steps. The first step involves cutting the key so that it operates the locks and ignition. Then configuration for uninterrupted and specific communication with the computer system in the vehicle.

In most cases, it takes about an hour to cut a key to a vehicle, program the key and test it to determine its efficiency. Thus, you will be required to pay for the duration. However, this rule might change if a new problem comes up while the professional is working on the key.

Lastly, the labor cost you will incur varies on your locality and the locksmith service you decide to use. Nevertheless, working with automotive locksmiths like Columbus Locksmith Pro is cheaper than going to a dealership.

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