It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we lose our car keys. Or perhaps you're simply looking to make an extra. Can locksmiths provide this kind of service for push-to-start keys? If that's your concern, let's go over the details.
A push-to-start key starts the engine using a fob with a sensor. The car will start the engine as long as it senses the key fob. So, if you want a replacement for it, you'd need to reprogram a new key fob. Unfortunately, it will depend on the locksmith. Some locksmiths offer these services while others do not.
The answer above raises a few concerns. For example, what if you can't find a locksmith that can reprogram push-to-start keys? No, you're not out of luck. However, you might have to pay up a lot. If you'd like to learn more about the situation, keep reading.
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Should You Call A Locksmith For A Push-To-Start Key?
If you're considering calling a locksmith for help, two situations are going on in your mind. Maybe you've looked up the cost of replacing a key fob through a dealership. It can get expensive going with this method. Why?
It's because towing, ordering a new fob, and reprogramming the fob are all factored into the costs. A replacement key fob from a dealership can cost upwards of $320. So, it would be better to call a locksmith who could probably make a new key on the spot.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way with push-to-start keys. The key itself is only to unlock the doors in most cases. On the other hand, the fob is where all the magic happens. It communicates with the locking system in your car using radio frequencies.
Therefore, it's not as simple as making a copy of the key. Instead, you'll need a fob and knowledge of programming it with your car.
Calling A Locksmith
If you plan on calling on a locksmith, your experience will vary. Yes, locksmiths have experience with keys. However, some of them do not work on smart car keys. Therefore, you might have to call a few locksmith services until you find one that does.
You'll have the most success if you look for auto locksmiths near you. From there, you will have to explain the details of your situation. For example, what car model do you own? In addition, who's the manufacturer?
They will provide you with a key fob that works with your car. Though, reprogramming the fob is where they'll find most of the trouble. Reprogramming can take less than an hour in the best case.
However, some fobs are difficult to reprogram. So, you can expect it to take as long as two hours. Calling a locksmith for help will only save you a bit of money. Dealerships charge around $300 or more.
Locksmith services are relatively cheaper. They can charge you as much as $225.
Can You Reprogram The Key Yourself?
It can get expensive going with a dealership. Additionally, you might not have luck finding a locksmith that works with push-to-start keys. So, what can you do?
There's another option to consider. However, it depends on how tech-savvy you are. Still, if you successfully program it, you can save yourself a lot of money.
You'll have to rely on a bit of luck in this situation. It also depends on your car model. Sometimes cars need a key fob that works with them specifically.
Programming The New Key Fob
Before you go with this option, you might want to get an idea of what you'll have to do. Of course, you will have to research your specific car model. Once you find a key fob that works with your car, it's time to program it.
Programming the key starts the same with any car. You'll have to activate programming mode in your car. Then, there's a button-pressing sequence you'll have to follow.
It can be as simple as pressing the start button twice or ten times. The sequence depends on your car model. Therefore, research is essential for this part of the process.
You might also have to use a programming device depending on the fob. The process can take about an hour to complete. In addition, most cars require the original key fob to program a new one. So, if you don't have one, you're out of luck.
However, if you still have the original fob, here's a YouTube video demonstrating what reprogramming looks like:
The process will be different from car model to car model. Here's another YouTube video demonstration with a Nissan car:
Cars 10 Years Old Or Older
Cars that are 10 years old or older might have it better than newer models. Technology back then wasn't as complicated as it is now. So, it can potentially require less experience to reprogram the fob.
Aftermarket key fobs are easier to find for older cars. However, the key fob itself might run you around $80. From there, you have two options.
You can try to look online for resources on programming it. Otherwise, you can call a locksmith to do it for you. Still, your experience will vary. You'll have to call multiple locksmiths before you find one that knows how to program it. Once you do, they can charge as much as $120 for programming.
In other words, it would cost about the same if you had purchased the key fob from the locksmith. Though, you might be able to find a replica or original for cheaper. It all depends if you want to save time looking for the fob online.
Unfortunately, cars built within the past five years will have to go through a dealership. Newer technology usually requires expensive equipment too.
You'll probably need reprogramming equipment to pair a new key fob with your vehicle. There are some that can be found online. However, if you don't know how to program it, you're only spending more money.
Some of them might not even work with your car. They will need to contain a security chip that allows them to be programmed. It applies to brands like Audi and European vehicles in general.
Dealerships can also attempt to program aftermarket key fobs. However, they won't guarantee it will be successful. They will only try to do it as long as you're familiar with the risks.
If it doesn't work, you're paying for a fob that doesn't work, a new fob from the dealership, and reprogramming fees. So, it would be better to go through the dealership instead.
How Do Locksmiths Program Car Keys?
Locksmiths often use a programming tool to pair a new fob to your vehicle. Though, the tool is typically limited in its use. In other words, it won't work on every car model.
It's why you might have to call multiple locksmiths until you can find one that can program your car. Of course, there comes the concern about the programming fee. Some might wonder why it can cost upwards of $100 to program a new key.
As mentioned, the computers used for programming are limited. Locksmiths can't program keys as much as they'd like. The computers use a token system. Of course, the locksmith has to pay for those tokens.
After each attempt to program, the locksmith pays with a token. Additionally, some cars work differently. They might require a skim code that the locksmith will use. If they have to get it from the dealership, they'll charge you $60.
As you can see, locksmiths have to go through a rigorous and expensive process. For this reason, it can take as long as two hours to complete the job.
Tips To Avoid Spending More
Coughing up more than $400 to replace your key fob is a nightmare. However, before you call the dealership, you should explore your options. One aspect that comes to mind is your car's warranty.
You can also look into your car insurance policy to check if they will cover the costs. In the best case, they might even provide partial reimbursement.
Lastly, one-time purchases are better than multiple visits. So, instead of paying for one replacement key fob, try to get multiple copies. In most cases, the dealership won't charge you extra to program additional keys at the same time.
If your car can't detect the key fob, you might want to try getting it closer. It might have a problem activating it from a distance. Something as simple as pressing the start button with the fob can save time and money.
Here's a YouTube video demonstrating how it works:
It's always better to explore your options before going with the expensive one. Though, that depends if you're working under time constraints.
Losing your keys never feels good, but it's a different situation with push-to-start keys. They're not as easily available as your standard ones. Hopefully, you have some luck finding a locksmith who can provide a replacement.
We hope you found the information above helpful! Before you go, are you trying to start a Kia Sorento without a key fob? To learn more, check out:
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