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Locksmith Car Key Programming Costs: What Do You Get For The Price?

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When you are replacing electronic car keys, locksmith key programming is likely to be necessary. In terms of the various choices where car keys are made near you, a locksmith blends fair a car key programming cost, convenience, and full service. But what is the locksmith key programming price you will be asked to pay?

Consider the following prices of the services you may need:

  1. Service Charge
  2. Key Programming
  3. New Car Key
  4. Car Lockout Service
  5. Car Key Extraction

Breakdown Of Prices

Because every vehicle requires different parts and unique service procedures, there cannot be a catch-all price for each auto locksmith service. In this article, we will be dealing with starting prices. This information will likely be different for each vehicle.

This information should supply an understanding of what you can expect to pay and the services that will be provided for that price. Your final locksmith key programming price must factor in each service required to facilitate said locksmith key programming.

1. Service Charge

If you are contacting a mobile locksmith service, the technician will come directly to your location, which has a separate fee from the servicing itself. This service price should be around $15. Once the tech arrives, they can evaluate your situation and give you the exact pricing breakdown that will solve your problem.

Depending on your situation, locksmith key programming may only be a part of what you need. If you disagree with the assessment, you are not obligated to proceed with the service. But there will be a service charge to compensate the technician for their time, travel, and assessment.

The service charge protects locksmiths and allows them the peace of mind required to offer mobile services. It is not intended to be used for bait and switches. Before the locksmith shows up at your location, they should be able to tell you their exact locksmith key programming price for your vehicle. 

Key Takeaways:

  • $15 service charge provides an in-person evaluation at a location of your choosing. 
  • The final service price is determined upon a locksmith’s in-person assessment.
  • A locksmith should be able to outline initial parts and labor costs before arrival.

2. Key Programming

Locksmith key programming services include transponder key programming, keyless entry fob programming, and car remote programming. These locksmith key programming prices start at $85 and only include the programming of existing car keys. The car keys being programmed can be provided by the customer or purchased from the locksmith at the time of service.

Different car key types program differently. For example, new smart keys for cars have encrypted signals, which take more advanced tools and training to program than the remote for a vehicle made in the early 2000s. The final locksmith key programming price is based on the complexity of the required service.

If an existing key’s signal can be captured and copied, programming can be done most simply and inexpensively. This type of signal capturing is very common for transponder key duplication. If you do not have a working key that can be copied, anticipate a higher than average car key programming cost.

Key Takeaways:

  • $85 is the starting locksmith key programming price.
  • Car key programming cost only covers the labor of programming a car key.
  • A new car key can be purchased from the locksmith for an additional cost.

3. New Car Key

You do not always need to purchase your new car key from a locksmith, but it is often the best option for car key replacement. If the key must be cut, a locksmith will often include this service in the cost of the new car key. A locksmith offers an additional convenience by providing replacement keys when they arrive on location.

If you intend to lower the locksmith key programming price by purchasing blank keys/remotes, you can disregard this cost. Transponder keys and remotes that do not have an ignition start function can often be purchased in the automotive section of many big box stores. Key fob replacement is often tricker, as the sale of these devices are restricted by vehicle manufacturers.

The widely available your key blanks are, the lower the prices are. If your car keys are uncommon or sales are restricted, expect to pay more. The cost and availability of these parts are also likely to translate to the locksmith key programming price. This is not always the case, but often cheap keys are inexpensive to program, and pricey keys take more effort, tools, and training to program.

Key Takeaways:

  • $120 is the starting price for a new car key.
  • If the key uses a blade, this price also takes into account any cutting.
  • The newer and more complicated your key, the more expensive it will be. 

4. Car Lockout Service

It may surprise you to know that car lockout services often accompany car key programming. If your car is open or you have a working key, then you will not need to consider this service along with the general locksmith key programming prices. But if you lost your car keys and have no spare, it is extremely likely that you also do not have a way of opening your locked car.

In almost all cases, a car must be opened in order for a key to be programmed. In instances where the car does not need to be unlocked, a working key will need to be present for signal duplication. With the car locked and no key, the locksmith key programming price will have to include the cost of car lockout services.

Rather than trying to open your car before the locksmith arrives, it would be beneficial to wait. There is always a risk of damaging a car while attempting to open the doors without a key. Look for the best lockout service in your area, and make sure they also have reasonable car key programming costs. In this case, you will also be looking for a balance of skill.

Key Takeaways:

  • $35 is the starting price for car lockout services.
  • This is necessary when you have no working keys and the vehicle is locked.
  • The car will need to be opened for programming to take place.

5. Car Key Extraction 

If you are looking to replace a car key remote or keyless ignition fob, it is extremely unlikely that you need to factor in the cost of car key extraction into the final locksmith key programming price. But if your transponder key broke off in the ignition or door lock, you will need the broken fragment extracted. If the broken key is your only key, it may need to be removed so that it can be copied.

This is a very specific circumstance, but it is also an extremely common scenario. The broken key is going to be the more pressing issue, but you will likely have to also worry about the locksmith key programming price. In fact, this is so common that many locksmiths lump broken key removal into the cost of new car keys (unless the key is stuck in the ignition and not broken).

You may be tempted to remove the broken key from the lock yourself, but I would suggest a similar level of caution as expressed in the lockout section. There is no need to risk damaging the vehicle if you are already calling a locksmith. Car key extraction should not tip the scales too severely with the final locksmith key programming price.

Key Takeaways:

  • $65 is the cost to remove a broken key from a car lock cylinder.
  • Broken key removal may be included in the cost for new parts.
  • There is a risk of making the issue worse when attempting to remove the key yourself.

Variables

If you do not have a key, a locksmith can tell you how much a new car key costs. There may be more problems that you are not aware of that will increase the final car key programming cost. We will talk about these factors later in the article, but suffice to say the vehicle will need to be at the very least open for programming.

Variables that affect locksmith key programming price include:

  1. Make
  2. Model
  3. Year
  4. Aftermarket Parts
  5. No Spare

1. Make

More and more manufacturers are creating proprietary software and hardware to control who can make new car keys. This type of key control provides additional security, and is even a contributing factor to creating the most secure car ever made, but also decreases options for programming.

The car key programming cost increases with each step taken by the manufacturer to prevent simple servicing. In some cases, the locksmith key programming price may be irrelevant if no company in your area has access to the required specialty equipment.

2. Model

Certain car models have key features that are uncommon for their make and manufacturing year. Often these are higher-end models or limited edition variants, which were using cutting-edge technology for the time that would either go on to be refined or abandoned. 

A common one of these variable features is remote start. The locksmith key programming price is not always directly affected by these instances, but the cost of new parts is likely to be higher the more uncommon the model is.

3. Year

The older the car, the less complex the key programming. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. The year of manufacturing can therefore be used as a pretty reliable gauge for the locksmith key programming price. Each year increases the key’s complexity, which ticks up the car key programming cost.

The disparity in modern theft prevention creates security vulnerabilities for classic cars, but this translates to the simplicity of service. It is also the case that some rare older cars may have key blanks and replacement remotes that are difficult to find or use out-of-date inputs for programming that increase service difficulty.

4. Aftermarket Parts

A great way to reduce the key fob replacement cost, and overall locksmith key programming price is to purchase the parts yourself from a third party or aftermarket dealer. However, there are dangers to using aftermarket electronic car keys that undermine savings. The first of which is that there is no guarantee that the parts will work.

A locksmith will ensure the parts they provide are programmable, but this peace of mind does add to the locksmith key programming price. If the ways to program your car key do not include a DIY method outlined in the key’s instructions, you will still end up needing a locksmith. But if the parts can be programmed, you will only need to pay for programming.

5. No Spare

A locksmith can make a new car key without the original, but this process takes more time, tools, and training than copying an existing key. This is one of the main reasons why car key duplication costs are lower than cutting a key by code. If the VIN is needed to make a key from scratch, the locksmith key programming price has to increase.

This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to have a spare car key. A working key doesn’t only help in troubleshooting your various car troubles, it also makes replacement simpler and cheaper. And in some cases, spare keys are required for self-programming, which can get you around considering the locksmith key programming price at all.

Final Calculations 

Once you have considered the costs, it is time to do your final calculations. What is the make, model, and year of the vehicle? Which services do you need? Is there anything you are going to do yourself without a locksmith present? When you discuss these variables with your locksmith technician, then they will be able to tell you the final car key programming cost.

Category: Automotive, Car Keys


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