I get calls every day from folks who lose their keys. These could be car keys or house keys. House keys are easier to reproduce or generate when a key is lost and is therefore a cheaper service to perform. Car keys are a whole other animal. There are so many different makes, models, and years that it is really a challenge to keep up with all of them.
Many times people are hesitant to buy another car key because of the expense. I can tell you now that whatever that expense is, it is much cheaper than having a key made when you lose all of your keys. The more “exotic” or fancy your car, the higher the cost in most cases. This is especially true of higher end vehicles such as BMW and Mercedes. Even Mini Coopers are expensive. Most of these vehicles cannot be done by a locksmith unless they are very advanced. There are some around, but in most cases they are only to be found in larger metro areas. The cost to be equipped to handle these types of keys is very prohibitive unless you are in a market that supports a lot of these calls.
When all of your keys are lost, there are a few different ways to get a new key. One used to be able to go to the dealer and have a “code key” made and you were happily on your way. Then came the criminal element. Some folks would have key made for a car that was not theirs and actually steal the car. Now, as a result, most auto dealers will NOT make you a key without the vehicle present and every form of proof of ownership you can think of. Not to mention that most cars now require transponder programming so the vehicle has to be present anyway. If your dealer says they are the only ones who can make the key, give me a call to see if I can do it. Sometimes they just don't know and sometimes maybe they don’t want you to know.
You can hire a locksmith who offers a cheap price. How do they do that? Frankly, some locksmiths use code services to get a key code for your vehicle. What does that mean? Most manufacturers have key codes for every vehicle they have built going back as far as ten years. They keep these records according to the VIN number. If the car is older than that the “codesmith” may not be able to do the job. What if your car originally had a single key that opened every lock, but at some point one of the locks was replaced? The “codesmith” may not be able to handle that job. If he cuts a key to your car by code, it may open the door, but it’s not going to open the replacement lock because most of the time these are installed as a randomly coded part. At that point, it takes two keys to operate your car.
You can hire a locksmith who really is a LOCKSMITH. This person can handle making a key to your car regardless of what has been done before. This person can even make all your locks use one key again! This person can fix or replace any lock that is damaged or broken and get you going again.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind
If you have a working key, you can fairly easily add another key. If not, you have to go through the whole generation process.
If you lose every key except one, especially a chip (transponder) key, get an extra key as soon as possible. This will save you money in the long run.
If you call for a price and it’s higher than the dealer or your mechanic, keep in mind that my price is to come to the vehicle and do the job. Your mechanic will need you to bring the car to them and this will increase your cost as there is going to be a towing cost.
When you go the mechanic or dealer you must either drop off the vehicle and return to get it later, or wait until they are done. Some keys literally take less than a minute to program, but how long will you wait in the waiting room? Again, I come to you. Sit on your couch and watch TV while I get your car running. You are my only customer so you won’t be waiting for me to work on other stuff before I get to you.