Until recently, losing a car key wasn’t a big deal. Drivers usually had spares attached to their cars, and it was both cheap and easy to have copies made so they could make sure they had a backup plan. These days, car keys are more technologically advanced, which has made them more expensive and difficult to replace.
The difficulty and cost of replacing a car key depend on the vehicle’s model and year. No matter what type of car keys drivers have, they should make a point of having a backup made and keeping it someplace safe. Read on to find out about the five types of modern car keys and what to do if they get lost.
Traditional Car Keys
Standard car keys are purely mechanical. Drivers just insert them into their ignition cylinders and turn them to start their cars. If they get lost, these older keys are easy to replace.
The best bet is to visit https://www.txpremierlocksmith.com to find a local locksmith who can come to the scene and make a new key on the spot. In some rare cases, the locksmith may not be able to make a new key even in older cars. In that case, the driver may need to purchase a new ignition lock cylinder and set of keys from a dealer or repair shop.
Car Key Fobs
The earliest key fobs were considered add-ons to traditional keys. They could lock and unlock vehicles remotely, but drivers still used their old-school keys to manually start their cars. While early key fobs didn’t offer the level of convenience associated with modern keys, they created far fewer problems when they get lost.
If drivers lose just their fobs, they can still access and start their vehicles. The key fobs themselves are also readily available as aftermarket products. They can be purchased online, at parts stores, or at dealerships, often for less than $20.
Key Fobs and Switchblade Keys
Key fobs with switchblade keys are more expensive than traditional key fobs. They feature spring-loading keys that fold into the fobs like a switchblade, but the key can still be used to lock and unlock the vehicle. Aftermarket switchblade key fobs can be purchased for around $125 at most dealerships or online.
Transponder keys were created in the mid-1990s to improve anti-theft technology. These ignition keys feature a plastic head that contains an embedded computer chip. The computer chip in the transponder must create a wireless connection between the key and the car to engage the ignition.
Drivers who lose their transponder keys will face steep bills. They’ll need to have their vehicles towed to a nearby dealership, then provide proof of ownership before buying a new key. It can take several days to get a new key, and it will cost up to $250.
Smart keys use proximity sensors to unlock the vehicle and allow it to start. They’re not technically keys at all and the cars that use them start using a button on the dash. Replacing a smart key also requires having the car towed to the dealership, and the replacement cost can run upward of $320.
Get Help Now
The best way to avoid racking up substantial key replacement costs is to have a backup on hand. Drivers who don’t have backup keys can call either locksmiths or towing companies to get the help they need depending on what kind of keys they have.