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Why are Replace­ment Car Keys so Expensive?

Posted 01/29/21 by Elspeth McIntyre


Any motorist knows that replace­ment car keys are expen­sive. Still, many do not under­stand why mod­ern keys cost so much mon­ey. Today, replace­ment car keys cost an aver­age of £215 depend­ing on your vehi­cle’s make, mod­el and age. This cost is 29% high­er than in 2013. Still, invari­ably an auto­mo­tive lock­smith tends to be cheap­er than the deal­er for replace­ment keys.

The sim­ple answer is that car keys and vehic­u­lar secu­ri­ty was much less advanced years ago. How­ev­er, today’s car keys have come a long way in terms of tech­nol­o­gy. With the progress of immo­bilis­er sys­tems to pre­vent car theft and the mar­riage of transpon­der chips to a basic key. Not all auto lock­smiths can pro­vide new car keys. Your mod­ern auto­mo­tive lock­smith requires intri­cate knowl­edge of vehi­cle programming.

Mod­ern Car Key Tech is Complicated

Car keys now inter­act with the immo­bilis­er, so your mod­ern auto-lock­smith needs to be able to deal with a vari­ety of com­put­er sys­tems with­in your vehi­cle and even deal with EEP­ROM work. 

EEP­ROM is the process of remov­ing and repro­gram­ming or replac­ing chips with­in your car’s immo­bilis­er mod­ule to pro­gram a key, so auto­mo­tive lock­smiths have a fair­ly tough and high­ly skilled job, add to that the cost of parts and equip­ment, some of which can cost thou­sands of pounds, and it becomes a lit­tle eas­i­er to see why car keys cost a lot.

Going to your deal­er­ship to get a replace­ment car key may seem like the nat­ur­al thing to do. Still, respect­ed auto lock­smiths can offer the same ser­vices at a bet­ter price due to our abil­i­ty to source deal­er-qual­i­ty prod­ucts at a low­er cost and with­out the pres­tige fee. Deal­ers don’t have access to bet­ter qual­i­ty prod­ucts; many lock­smiths source their prod­ucts from the same manufacturers! 

It is more a case of a monop­o­lis­tic hold on the indus­try that deal­ers often enjoy.

As the East Mid­lands’ pre­mier auto lock­smith, 3D Autokeys under­stands why dri­vers might baulk at spend­ing more than £100 for a new car key, but we do so much more than just offer a new car key. 

  • Friend­ly, spe­cial­ist technicians.
  • Mobile ser­vice — We can come to a loca­tion that suits you.
  • Cour­tesy call — To let you know we are on our way. 
  • Trans­par­ent pric­ing — The price we quote is the price you pay.

This arti­cle explores why car key replace­ments from auto lock­smiths are cheap­er than the dealer. 

Some Insur­ance Poli­cies Allow You to Claim for Replace­ment Car Keys


If your car keys are stolen, then you may be able to claim the cost of the replace­ment keys back from your insur­ance provider. First, check that your pol­i­cy will cov­er the cost to replace your car keys and any addi­tion­al fees. If you’re unsure if the pol­i­cy offers cov­er for auto lock­smith ser­vices, ask your insur­ance provider for advice. They can dis­cuss what the pol­i­cy cov­ers and help you get the mon­ey back for some or all of the lock­smith ser­vices you need.

Car insur­ance providers don’t usu­al­ly reim­burse dri­vers for lost car keys.

Mod­ern cars come with a spare key that you can use in an emer­gency. Still, you should always try to find your lost car keys as quick­ly as pos­si­ble or prompt­ly get a replace­ment key as no one likes to be left locked out of their vehicle.

Lost car keys are in a pub­lic place?

Or even worse, you think your car keys have been stolen. You should call an emer­gency auto lock­smith to get them to remove the lost key from your car’s immo­bilis­er; this ensures that your vehi­cle is secure and any­one who has the key won’t be able to access it.

They can then give you a replace­ment car key, which might cost a bit, but the ser­vice will give you peace of mind that your vehi­cle is secure and you can use it if you need it.

Auto­mo­tive lock­smiths also repair your car keys. If you have a dam­aged key, they will assess whether you need a replace­ment key or just a repair. You can check with your insur­ance provider if they cov­er the cost. They may allow you to claim the cost of get­ting replace­ment car keys in an emergency.


Using an Auto Lock­smith Can Save You Money

Own­ing a car is a cost­ly endeav­our, so, under­stand­ably, you might want to save mon­ey in any area you can, but car keys aren’t the place to be tight with your cash. Call­ing out an auto­mo­tive lock­smith could cost more than you ini­tial­ly expect­ed as there are often ser­vice charges for out of hours. Some lock­smiths (not us) will also charge extra to come to you, so it is best to have a spare key at all times.

Whilst you can get a replace­ment car key from your car deal­er­ship, you might find that the cost is sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er than if you use an auto lock­smith, plus the wait will almost always be longer. As auto lock­smiths like us are inde­pen­dent, we can offer you the same ser­vice as your deal­er but for a frac­tion of the cost. We have the expe­ri­ence of mak­ing new keys for most vehi­cles, but we don’t charge a high mark-up for the ser­vice.

At 3D Autokeys, we aim to offer you all of the replace­ment car keys and auto lock­smith ser­vices that mod­ern dri­vers need at an afford­able price. We have a wide range of solu­tions. Our tech­ni­cians can help with every­thing from new car keys to vehi­cle secu­ri­ty ser­vices.

Our team will guide you every step of the way. We cov­er var­i­ous vehi­cle types, includ­ing cars, vans, motor­bikes and oth­ers. Almost every brand out there is catered for by our auto­mo­tive lock­smith experts, so you can get a key cut for all of your vehi­cles from one provider when you give us a call. We pro­vide you excep­tion­al ser­vice, at a price that suits you, so you can save mon­ey and keep your vehi­cle secure.

So, the next time you need to get a replace­ment key for your vehi­cle, or you lose them, get a quote from 3D Autokeys. We cov­er most loca­tions through­out the East Mid­lands, so we can help you get back on the road quick­ly when your keys are lost or stolen or if your car secu­ri­ty is com­pro­mised.

Get in touch, and get a quote today. Our lock­smiths are here for emer­gen­cies. Our team will give you friend­ly and accu­rate advice on any of our auto lock­smith services.


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