Why Do Car Keys Cost So Much Now? 

We have noticed that people are often surprised at the cost of a new key for their automobile. Why does a new key usually cost $125.00 or more? Let’s examine the cost of a new key.

Since approximately the year 2000, most cars have included a transponder system for higher security. This transponder system will not allow a vehicle to start unless it recognizes the proper chip in the key. This electronic chip adds a lot of cost to a key. Depending on the type of key – regular head, remote head, flip-out, high security, etc. – the cost of a key can range from about $20 to more than $100. We are also starting to see more proximity keys. These are electronic “keys” that just need to be near an ignition button that you push to start the car. Depending on the make and model of the car, these can be very expensive.

Many of the key blades, especially high-security key blades, must be cut on very accurate and expensive key-cutting machines. These machines are driven by software that assures the right key cuts. If the original key(s) has been lost, we must obtain a key code from the dealer or another 3rd-party source that gives us the proper cutting information.

Once the keys are cut, they must be programmed to the transponder in the car. This requires another piece of expensive diagnostic equipment that plugs into a port on the car that allows us to program the key to start the car.

Before a locksmith ever shows up to program the key and make sure everything works right, we spend time investigating the proper key, getting the keycodes, cutting the key, and making sure everything is ready to go when we show up. All of these things determine the cost of getting you a new key that will work for your vehicle every time.

If you have any questions or are in need of a new automobile key, Jensen Locksmithing would love to help you out at an affordable price.

Call us at 435-319-0361.