The Complete Guide For Car Key Replacement

You don’t know how it happened, but your car key is missing and you have no spare. 

It can be frustrating and maddening, but the bottom line is that you need a replacement key. 

The ease or difficulty will depend on the kind of vehicle and its age. 

In any event, let’s walk through the basics the Vancouver locksmith will need to get you on the road again.

Car Key Replaced in Vancouver



Basic Information

The first step is to identify the vehicle and your ownership.

You will also need to provide the make, model, and year of the car or truck.

In order to avoid being taken into custody for potential auto theft, you must also provide proof of ownership like the title or vehicle registration documents and personal ID.

Where to find your vehicle ID number (VIN)

For the vehicle, you will need the vehicle ID number (VIN).  This is a combination of letters and numbers that is usually found on the dashboard near the bottom of the windshield. 
It is also imprinted in other places like the inside of the door jamb, trunk, or rear wheel well.  It may be easier to find on the vehicle’s title or the insurance card.

When you find the locksmith “near me,” it will be one of the required pieces of information before the key can be cut.


Car Key Type

The good news is that all of these are types that a mobile locksmith in Vancouver can replace for you even if you have lost the original keys and you dont have a spare!

You will need to let the locksmith know the type of key. 
Stay calm and remember what the key looks like before you place your call.

Car key Type

Types Of Car Keys And How To Identify Yours

Traditional Key – This type of key don’t have chip. It will work for old cars and some cars after the year 2000.

Transponder Key – Since 1995 the key has an implanted chip that is programmed to the specific vehicle.

Remote Fob and Integrated Key – This is an all-in-one where the fob unlocks the car and turns everything off and the integrated key starts the car running.

Smart Key (Push-To-Start)– A smart key is a fob that when it is within range of the car, it will enable the car to turn on by the press of a button. It does not need to be inserted into the ignition. 



Always one of the first questions:  How much will it cost to replace my car key. 

The price will depend on the type of key. 
As indicated, there are many different types of keys and fobs out there today and it will depend on how sophisticated yours is. 

There may be additional charges for emergency service.

How much does a car key cost

How Much Does it Cost to Replace Car Keys?

The average cost of car key replacement can range from as low as $135 to $500. This price still depends on the following factors:

Vehicle’s Type and Model: Much of the cost of a car key replacement is determined by the year, make and model of the vehicle. 

Key type: The type of car key can also impact the price of getting a new spare key. A remote key fob, keyless entry or standard key without a chip all differ in price.
For example, a lost car key for a Ford F150 can range between $175 to $300.

Why Are Car Keys So Expensive? 

Why is it hundreds of dollars to replace a lost car key? Well, let’s look at the many factors in lost car key replacement and car key programming.

Calling a mobile locksmith is often cheaper then the dealership however, a cheap locksmith can still add up in dollars.
Most people will call the dealership because they don’t realize a qualified automotive locksmith can come to their location and recreate the key.
That could save hundreds in a tow bill alone. 

A car key is more than a hunk of metal used to turn the ignition.
There are many things at play once the key goes into the ignition lock.
Turning the ignition requires a precise set of numbers called cuts or bitting. 

Example for Honda key cuts
Example for Honda key cuts

Once the key is turned the ignition engaged the immobilizer.
This means the car is locked out from starting.
The only way to defeat this is to program a transponder chip embedded in the key to be recognized by the ECM/PCM.
An automotive locksmith connects a car key programmer to the car to add the new transponder chip to the cars computer. Once this is done the new key can start the vehicle. 



This whole ordeal feels like a nightmare and you just want to be on your way to where you need to be. 

Now you are playing the waiting game. 
Dealing with a locksmith that maintains a full array of replacement key options will make it easier. 

When you speak with the locksmith, they will be able to give you a fairly good estimate, including travel time to your location.  The average time to make a replacement key on site is 30 minutes.

How long it takes to replace a car key

How long will it take to arrive to my location?

As soon as we receive your request for services, we will dispatch a nearby locksmith to help with your emergency needs.

Our goal is to be at your location in 25 minutes from the moment you called.
Our average time to arrive to your location is about 30 minutes.

How long will it take to unlock a car?

Traditional car, truck or SUV locks should only take five to 10 minutes for a On Point Locksmith to unlock you car.


Stolen keys

If the keys are stolen or compromised in some way, a qualified locksmith can reconfigure the locks and ignition so the old key won’t work and only your newly programmed key and fob will.
This is an added safety feature you may want to consider.

You can also have the missing keys erased from the car system. 
Once the car’s database is accessed, it is easy to make sure the old key is not recognized by the vehicle’s computer system.

NOTE: Some cars required minimum 2 keys in the system in case you wants to erase the old keys you will have to make 2 new keys minimum. 

Stolen car keys

What to Do When Your Car Keys Are Stolen

  1. Fill out a police report with as much detail as possible.
  2. call your car insurance company to see if you’re covered for car key replacement.
  3. Deactivate stolen key fob.
  4. Changes your car locks (option), this might be very expensive and not always necessary.

Insurance Reimbursement

Everyone driving in Canada has to have basic insurance. They are not allowed to drive without it. But this insurance is basic. The must have insurance such as;

  • Third party liability
  • Coverage for accident benefits
  • Uninsured automobile coverage
  • Direct Compensation
  • Property Damage Coverage

None of this type of coverage is going to cover a claim for lost keys.

Insurance Reimbursement for lost car keys

How The Keys are Lost, is Important

  • As a Result of Collision

  • As a Result of Theft or Act of Nature

  • Other Loss of Keys

While you are waiting for the locksmith, give your insurance agent a quick call. 
They can review your policy to see if you have opted for a package that will cover the cost of this whole operation. 
While you are speaking with them, find out if filing a claim will affect any other part of the policy, including rates.

Some insurance companies will cover only 1 new key.


Types of Vehicles

There are many different types of vehicles on the road today:

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Vans
  • Scooters
  • Recreational Vehicles

We are able to service all types of motor vehicles.

Types of cars

We Cut and Program Keys, Remotes & FOBS

Your car dealer isn’t the only one that can replace your lost car key.
We can do it too and in most cases we are much cheaper!

We even make keys for your auto dealerships and rental places.
Our keys are guaranteed to work and we use the same keys your dealership does.

Equally diverse are the manufacturers. 
We are also able to service vehicles made in North America as well as those imports. 
Hybrids are no problem, as well as fully electric vehicles.

Get a Duplicate Car Key Made

Sometimes families add a new driver to the mix.  In that case, it is very simple to create a spare from the existing key that normally operates the vehicle, if the car is equipped with a remote option we can also duplicate and program a new remote.


Security and Quality

Working with a local locksmith is not the only way to get a vehicle replacement key. 
It is possible to order one online using common e-tailers (like Ebay). 
There are also dealers who will offer aftermarket keys. 
Either of these choices will be less expensive.

However, you will be trading price for the security of working with a reliable local business person. 

Buy car Key From Your Local Locksmith

Hire Your Trusted Local Locksmith

Imagine entering significant personal information onto a website; you have no idea who has access to this data. 
Security breaches can be worse than not getting into your car.

In addition, these “knock-offs” tend to be poor-quality plastic.
Everyday use of keys get tossed around or dropped onto countertops. 
The brittle plastic for these keys will break easily and you will end up spending more money in the long run.

These online purchases also tend to be poorly programmed. 
With bad connections or inferior components, their functions can be hampered and you will become frustrated or simply locked out of your own vehicle.

Online dealers will provide zero customer support. 
If the key has been mis-programmed, you are pretty much out of luck.  There won’t be a tech to talk you through the troubleshooting process.  There are different techniques for duplicating keys and it is unlikely that someone else will be able to help you.

If you should find yourself in need of an automotive locksmith for vehicle replacement keys and fobs, contact us at Vancouver Locksmiths. 
We are a licensed dealer and can easily talk you through the process and get you a replacement key as quickly as possible.

4 Responses

  1. 2008 Nissan Sentra

    Need a new key with fob I think it come as ome piece
    Have picture of old key and the fob (Fob not working)

  2. Can you duplicate a working key for me? Our second key got put through the laundry and thinking that we should get a good second key sooner than later. I am not in Vancouver — not sure if that matters.

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