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How to Replace Car Remote Key

Car Remote or Key

Car key remote

Nearly everyone has been in a situation where they’re locked out of their vehicle. It’s also not uncommon for someone to lose the key to their car or the remote. When the key is remote, you’ll need to get a new key cut. Replacement will depend on a few things, such as the model and make of your vehicle. Read our car key replacement types for more details. In most cases, modern keys have a transponder that is used to avoid someone from stealing the vehicle. That means the key only works when it matches the exact car.

In addition, many new cars have an integrated or separate key fob that offers a way to lock and unlock the car. In this article, we’ll provide all the answers you need about replacing one or more of these items.

Losing All Your Keys

A locksmith or dealership can replace your stolen, broken, or lost keys. It will be cut and programmed to work with your specific vehicle. The cost of having that done will vary depending on how advanced the key is that you need. Older keys might cost quite a bit less than those with transponders, especially if you want the key to operating the trunk, doors, and ignition.

Programming a Keyless Entry Remote

Some people wonder if it’s possible to program their new entry remote on their own, which is a fair question. However, every car is going to have its own procedure on how programming works. Many remotes you can program on your own quickly, but some will likely require the help of a professional to ensure they work properly.

Where to Have a Key or Remote Cut

Your local automotive locksmith will be able to cut and program a new key, key fob, or remote. Some auto shops can also do this, but it’s a bit of a gamble. In most cases, the best option is to choose a locksmith. You know they have the tools and experience necessary to cut the key by code, which will ensure that it fits properly and no other problems come up.

Locating the Transponder Chip

Curious about whether your key fob has a transponder chip? You can’t tell simply by looking at it. However, a locksmith or car dealership can give you that information. You can also try a spare key made from a blank. If that opens the doors and trunk but doesn’t turn the ignition, that means you have a transponder and require a chip to operate the vehicle. You can find transponder chips online, but will often need a locksmith for the programming, no matter where you purchase the item.

Key Still Doesn’t Work

If you have had a key cut and it still isn’t working to start your vehicle, you likely need your transponder chip programmed. Your locksmith can do this for you at the same time as the key is cut. If your key is for an older model vehicle, it’s possible you can handle this on your own.

Keyless Entry Systems

If your car has a remote, or has ever had a remote, it has a keyless entry system. In addition, if you still aren’t sure if your car has keyless entry, any car dealership can look at the vehicle identification number (VIN) and determine whether one is included or not.

License and Registration

It can be frustrating to need a copy of your license and registration to have a key cut, but this is done for security reasons. When a locksmith looks at your information to determine you are the car owner, they can produce a new key fob knowing that it isn’t going into malicious hands. It might be annoying in the moment, but it’s a better option than knowing a thief could lie about owning the car, have a key made, and drive off into the sunset.

Finding a Locksmith

There are many ways to locate automotive locksmiths in your area. You can go the old-fashioned way and thumb through the yellow pages. You can also look at various online listings or check the Associated Locksmiths of America website for licensed professionals in your state. Often, a referral is the best way to find an excellent locksmith. Ask your friends or coworkers who they trust when they get into a sticky situation and need some help with their key or key fob.

Matching the Remote

If you are worried you receive the wrong sort of remote for your vehicle, it’s simple to match up the part number found on the back of the remote and functions on the front to verify it’s the right remote for your car. If you don’t have access to an old remote or don’t know the number, you can get that information from a dealership by providing your VIN. Then use the part number they give you to verify the correct installation.

Online vs. In-Store

Depending on your needs, you may want to choose to order a key fob or remote online or you may be better off getting one in person. You can often get an excellent price online, simply because companies are able to buy in bulk. Even if that’s the case, you’ll often need a locksmith to program the remote after you receive it. If you need it immediately, check with your locksmith and see if it’s easier to get it offline.


Receiving a new key is more complicated than it might seem. There will be the need for verification so that the locksmith knows you are the owner for the car. In addition, you can get your key, remote, or key fob online, but you can also allow the professional to purchase and provide it as well. The locksmith can also program your key and get you back on the road quickly. While losing a key and getting locked out can be frustrating, you can get past it. Take the advice above and things will likely go smoothly.


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