How to Replace Lost Car Keys

If you have to replace lost car keys, you have three options to choose from. Here's what you need to know about getting a new set of keys.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Replacing your car keys isn’t as simple and inexpensive as it used to be. New, high-tech car keys can be costly to replace.
If you need to replace lost car keys, there are three options available to you. So, here's how replacing lost vehicle keys works, with a little help from
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Replace the lost keys yourself

If you think you can sort out things yourself, there are a few steps you can take to replace your lost car keys.

Get the basic vehicle information

Get the vehicle identification number (VIN), make, model, and year of your car. The
is stamped on the dash on the driver’s side. The make, model, and year of your car is listed on the car’s title and registration.

Use the internet to find your lost keys

Go online to find a replacement key with a fob or a
keyless remote fob
that will work in your car.

Do your research

Determine if you can program your new key fob or keyless remote fob before you order it. You can check your
car manual
or call a locksmith to see if they can help. They may do the programming for you for a small fee.

Order your key fob

Program it yourself after it arrives or have the locksmith program it for you. Programming instructions may be included with your new purchase.
Tip If you are one of those rare people who still owns an older car with a plain old key, all you have to do is head over to the local locksmith with your VIN, car
, and driver’s license. They may be able to cut the key for you for $10 to $20.

Call the dealership to get your keys replaced

You can also go through the dealership to get your keys fixed or replaced.

Get your car’s basic info

Once again, it's important to collect all of the data about your car.

Call the dealership where you bought the car

If you bought the car from a private party or bought it from a used car lot, call a local new car dealership that sells the same make as yours.
Tip If your fob or smart key isn’t working, try replacing the battery. You can get replacement batteries at the car dealership, online, or in electronics stores.

Let them know what type of key you need to replace

They will probably take your information and the details on your car and order the replacement key.
The dealership may also require you to come in and order the key in person after showing your driver’s license and the title or registration.
Plan to spend at least $100 for a replacement key with a fob, smart key, or transponder. High-end vehicle replacement keys could easily cost $600 to $1,000. If your car is under warranty, check the policy to see if replacement keys are covered.

Have your info on hand

Take your car’s title or registration with you to pick up your replacement key.
MORE: How to hire a reliable locksmith

Call a Locksmith

You can also try getting in touch with a local locksmith to get your keys replaced.

Get your car’s basic info

Make sure you have your car’s VIN, make, model, and year. The locksmith will definitely need it.

Call local locksmiths for estimates

Let them know all of the details of your situation and find out how much they will charge to replace the key.
Tip You may have to reset your key fob or keyless entry fob after replacing the battery in your car. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions.

Research the locksmith

Go online and look up the locksmiths that you called. Check for reviews or ratings on their service and reliability.

Set up an appointment

They will go to where the car is to do the work. Schedule the appointment for a day and time when you know you can be there.

Tips for looking after your keys

Attaching a keychain is a good way to add some bulk to your key, making it more noticeable if it falls out of your pocket or purse. A wristlet is also handy for storing your keys and keeping your hands free.
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