How Much Does It Cost To Cut And Program A Key?

Car keys are important to every car owner. That’s how everyone accesses their vehicle, and anyone who has been locked out of their own cars will tell how frustrating it can be. Keys also have an annoying habit of getting lost in just about any crack and crevice that exists. This is why it is necessary to have a duplicate set of keys as back up.

Now, if this were about 30 years ago, then getting a duplicate key for your car would have been as simple as going to a hardware store, locksmith, or taking a trip to your car dealership. But the issue with that was that because it was so easy to make a duplicate, it was also just as easy for your car to get stolen. Nowadays, technology has gotten much better and car keys come with key fobs that are much harder to duplicate. The flip side to this is that they have also gotten that much more expensive to replace.

The general rule of thumb here is that cutting and programming newer model cars is more expensive than older ones. This is because, as technology gets better, stronger security measures are put in place, which, of course also becomes more difficult to duplicate. If you are looking to cut or program your car key, here is an idea of how much it will cost:

The Average Cost Of Programing Your Car Key

  • Basic car keys and fobs

For most modern cars, the car key set contains the key and a basic key fob (remote transmitter). To replace the key fob, the cost can range between $50 and $100, depending on the type of car and the design complexity. The key fob needs to be programmed to work with that specific car.

  • Transponder keys

Cars made after the mid-1900s have a new feature added- their key fobs came with a transponder chip. What the chip does is that it sends a signal to a receiver built into the ignition. If the ignition does not receive the correct signal, it will not come on.

The key that comes with this type of key set can either be a basic one or laser-cut. The chip in the transponder key fob also needs to be programmed before it can work. Most dealers have this machine and some will do it for free. For those that will collect a fee, they would usually charge around $235 (might be more depending on the car and model) while locksmiths would usually charge a bit less.

  • Laser Cut keys

These are different from basic keys in that the shank is a bit thicker and the carved-out grooves are fewer. The machines that are needed to cut these types of keys are significantly more expensive than the ones that cut standard keys and are harder to find. Laser-cut keys also have chips that need to be programmed.

This type of key is becoming popular, but as mentioned earlier, they are also expensive and most time would need to be replaced at the dealership. A replacement would typically cost somewhere between $150 – $250.

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