Have you lost or damaged your car keys? Replacing them is often a frustrating experience, requiring both time and money you’d rather not spend. Many people are surprised at the cost of car key replacement, as even relatively simple keys can set you back several hundred dollars.
Understanding the reasons for the high cost helps you better prepare your budget and identify fair prices. Why is it so expensive to replace your car keys? Here’s a closer look:
Early car keys, called blade keys, were relatively simple devices made entirely of metal. However, starting in the mid-1980s, car keys started becoming more sophisticated, incorporating transponder chips, laser-cut designs, and other electronics.
As keys grew more complex, so did the equipment needed to make them.
The locksmith will likely need to use either a laser cutter or a key duplicator. Additional equipment to code the key might also be necessary.
Owning and maintaining car key replacement equipment increases overhead costs, which are expenses passed on to customers who need a new key.
Not only does a locksmith need to own specialized equipment, but they must also know how to operate it correctly. Other specialized knowledge is also needed, such as understanding the technical differences between different vehicle makes and models.
Locksmiths with high levels of knowledge often charge higher rates than someone with more limited capabilities. They usually have less competition, so they don’t have to worry as much about keeping prices low.
Plus, they typically need to cover additional overhead such as membership in professional organizations like the Associated Locksmiths of America.
Why is it so expensive to replace your car keys? One major factor is the high cost of the individual components. Even a basic key fob has electronic parts used to lock the door and set the alarm, while smart keys use even more sophisticated systems to allow remote entry and other features.
The more advanced your car key, the more it will cost to replace or repair. Independent automotive resource Edmunds lists several average key replacement costs:
- Switchblade Keys – $60 to $80 for the blade or $200 to $300 for a total replacement
- Laser-Cut Keys – $150 to $250
- Smart Keys (Keyless Entry Remote) – $220 to $500
Prices will vary based on make and model, with keys to newer cars often costing more to replace than those from older types.
Labor and Transportation Costs
Many key types, such as smart keys, must be programmed to work with the vehicle. The programming process requires that the locksmith is physically near your car. If the lack of a key results in you being unable to drive, you’ll need to hire a mobile locksmith.
Mobile locksmiths typically cost more than those who operate from a brick-and-mortar store because their overhead includes vehicle maintenance, fuel, and similar expenses. Many mobile locksmiths also add costs based on the distance traveled.
Finally, you can expect increased fees if you need emergency service, especially on nights, weekends, or otherwise during non-traditional business hours. While many locksmith companies offer 24-hour service, the rates aren’t necessarily the same at all times.
Professional Locksmiths in Miami
Why is it so expensive to replace your car keys? Many factors influence the price, including equipment, specialized knowledge, and the locksmith’s overhead costs, which often includes traveling.
If you need to replace the keys to your vehicle, or for more information on the costs involved, contact Locks Around the Clock. We offer expert, fast service 24-hours a day to customers throughout Miami and the surrounding areas.