If you need to replace car keys, the type of key determines the cost and where you need to go to get it replaced. Gone are the days when every corner hardware store could create copies of all types of car keys. Depending on the year, make and model of your vehicle, the dealership may be your only option, and those car key types are never cheap in Fairfax, VA. Here are six automotive key types and how to replace them:
- Traditional keys: There are still cars on the road that use the most basic type of car key. These keys contain no encoding or programming. They are merely cut metal that fits a lock. You can secure copies of these keys anywhere, and they typically only cost about $3 to $10 per key.
- Master key: Early cars came with a master key that was not intended for use. You kept it merely to make copies from it. If lost, they were a few hundred dollars to replace, and sometimes you needed to also replace the engine management system. That was an additional few thousand dollars to complete, so you definitely never wanted to lose your master key! You are very unlikely to run into this phenomenon now, but if you buy a used car, double check the manual to make sure you do not need a master key.
- Transponder key: A transponder key contains a microchip that offers additional security over a traditional key. Used since 1995, a sensor responds when the key is inserted into the ignition and activates the transponder. This allows the engine to start. Since the microchip is unique to the key, it can cost $40 to $100 to copy a basic transponder key. Since 1999, transponder keys have offered a rolling code, which changes every time it is used. These keys are $500 or more.
- Switchblade key: Very popular on Volkswagen models, the switchblade key folds into a key fob and flips out when you press a button. Since it is usually included with other functions, replacing this entire apparatus costs $200 to $300. However, if you only break the metal shank, it can be repaired for around $75.
- Valet key: Some makes and models allow you to create a valet key for your vehicle. This is a basic key that unlocks doors and starts the car, but will not open the trunk or glove box. Many people who regularly use valet services feel more secure giving them this basic key rather than their whole key fob.
- Smart key: This is not a key at all, but a fob. When you are in range of the car, it will unlock it and start the car with the press of a button. There is no need to insert a key into the ignition. Unfortunately, if you lose this key, you are looking at spending $200 to $400 to replace it.
Artie’s Lock and Key can cut and program all types of car keys in Fairfax, VA. We can also rescue you if you lock yourself out of your car. Call us today for solutions beyond traditional lock and key services.
Categorised in: Auto Locksmith
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