In recent years, the automotive industry has witnessed a tremendous advance in security technology. While this has led to an increase in functionality, it has also driven up manufacturing costs. For instance, in the past, most car keys were made from cheap steel or bronze materials. Now we have keys getting made with platinum and gold materials. We also have those programmed using advanced software. All these new features and additions have driven up the cost of replacement car keys.  

Suppose you’ve lost your car key, and a locksmith firm like keys on wheels has given you a quote, but you feel it is outrageous. You can read on to learn about the factors that may have caused this high quote.  

What are the Factors That Affect The Cost Of Car Key Replacement?

The Model of the Car

The major factors that affect the cost of replacing a car key are the model of the car and its level of technological advancement. Luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz or Range Rover may tend to cost higher than other brands. This is a result of their parts being generally more expensive. 

Type of Car Keys

There are different types of car keys, and they do not all have the same replacement costs. Basic car keys are usually cheaper to replace than more advanced ones. Here’s an overview of different car keys. 

  • Mechanical keys

These are the cheapest type of keys to replace. They are basic keys used for older models of cars. They are mostly used to open the door or trunk of the car and nothing else. The cost of replacement can be as low as $50.

  • Programmable remotes 

These are not actual keys; they are multifunctional buttons that are programmed into your car. They can be used to lock/unlock your car. They can be used to sound the car’s alarm and also open the car trunk. The cost of replacing them is just a little higher than the cost of replacing mechanical keys. 

  • Transponder keys 

Transponder keys are commonly used these days. The keys have an electronic component that is attached to the head, which allows it to communicate with the car.  

  • Laser-cut transponder keys 

These are transponder keys with extra security measures. The cost of replacing them can be between $150 to $250. 

  • Hybrid keys

This is a combination of programmable remotes and keys. Because of the dual function, the cost of replacement is usually higher. 

  • Proximity Fobs 

Key FOBs are small programmable devices with built-in authentication that can be used to access and control your car. They are more convenient and secure than other types of keys. Although generally higher to replace than other key types, the cost of replacing a key fob largely depends on the model of the car. 

Labor Costs

Labor costs are part of the things you pay for when replacing your car keys. The labor cost is dependent on which locksmith services you choose to work with. There are typically two aspects to this, the cost of physically cutting the key and the cost of programming the electrical component (for a transponder key or key fob) to your car.

H3 Equipment Costs

Sophisticated machinery and equipment are used in cutting car keys, which also affects the cost of replacing car keys. Typically, the kind of machinery used would determine how much time it takes to cut the keys into the exact precision needed for the bitting. 

Service provider

The cost of replacing car keys is also impacted by who provides the service, whether it is a locksmith, a local garage, roadside assistance, or a dealership. Generally, the cost is higher when it’s provided by a dealership. For instance, it can cost between $150-$190 to replace your transponder keys when working with a local locksmith. But when working with a dealership, it may cost over $200. It would cost less to work with roadside assistance, however, most of them can only handle older models of cars, as they may not have the machinery for luxury models. 

Your Location

Just like every other thing, your location greatly affects the cost of certain services, which includes the cost of replacement car keys. Usually, the cost of hiring locksmiths, dealerships, or roadside assistance is higher in bigger cities than in other rural places. 

How Can I Save Money on Replacement Car Keys? 

A great way to cut the cost of replacing your car keys is to compare the prices of different locksmiths. This would help you find the best competitive price without compromising the work quality. 

There’s no denying the fact that replacing car keys is expensive. However, getting duplicate keys costs less. It’s also safer to get a duplicate so you won’t get stranded or make extra expenses when you lose the original.

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