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$637 for a new car key from the dealer?


How to bypass the dealer and save 10% off key replacement.


Have you ever lost a car key, or bought a used vehicle with only one key? I recently received a quote of $637 from the dealer for a second key and was shocked by the cost.


Many people, myself included put off getting a second set of keys for their vehicle due to the hassle and cost of having to visit the dealership. The dealer will require you to provide proof of ownership of the vehicle as well as the vehicle vin number and most likely you will have to drive to another city if there isn’t a dealership in your local hometown.

What exactly is a transponder key? Transponder keys have an RF Transmitter encased inside the plastic head of the key. These keys/remotes transmit an extremely low-level signal that only the vehicle can detect. The key may be a stand-alone key that inserts in the actual ignition, or may be a part of a key-less entry, push button ignition or proximity ignition start which means you simply have to have the remote with you while driving the vehicle.

Why do vehicles come with transponder keys? Due to the high number of stolen Corvettes, GM was the first US auto manufacturer to introduce a chip key on the 1985 Corvette. Corvette thefts dramatically decreased as a result of the VATS key and system – Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS). As thefts decreased, more and more automobile manufacturers began implementing the VATS technology.

How does a transponder key work? They are used to prevent the vehicle from being hot wired. The car will not start if the device at the switch does not detect the low-level signal from the key. If a copied key is used without the proper programming, the signal will not be able to communicate with the computer and allow the ignition to engage. No longer is hot wiring a car a threat.

How do you know if your vehicle has a transponder key?

Take a look at your key, in most cases it will be considerably thicker than a standard key and the top will be encased in a plastic housing while other keys are encased in the car remote.

Still not sure? Take your car key and wrap several layers of tin foil around the plastic part of the key and then attempt to start the car. If it doesn’t start, chances are there is a transponder present. There are exceptions to this DIY method, but not many.

Another indication you have a transponder key is the cost. Simply call the dealership with your VIN number and ask how much a replacement key/and or fob will cost. Now comes the sticker shock. Chances are getting a second key/and or remote will set you back anywhere from $50 - $900 depending on the year and make and model of the vehicle.

Bypass the dealer and save. Due to advances in technology, automobile dealers are not the only ones that can provide replacement transponder keys and remotes. Specialized locksmiths like we have here at A & E can generally replace and program keys for many of today’s newer vehicles saving you money and the hassle of visiting your dealership.


Chances are we can provide a replacement transponder key for your vehicle and I'll even give you a 10% off coupon to help you save even more. Simply print the coupon below or show it to our locksmith on your phone.





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