Car Key Replacement Cost | Locksmith Shares All

Last Updated on August 16, 2023

Here, we focus the cost to replace car keys when all of the car’s existing keys have been lost.

Our article “Cost to Duplicate a Car Key” covers the cost for when you just need a spare key.


The cost of replacing a car key varies by key type:

  • Standard keys: $50-$180
  • Replacement transponder keys (with chip, requiring programming): $220-$350
  • The cost to replace key FOBs depends heavily on the FOB cost in addition to the above prices. FOBs can cost as much as $300, as they have electronic features such as push to start, remote entry, and more.
Standard, All Metal Car Key

The Cost to Replace Standard Car Keys – Least Expensive Replacement

A standard car key is a traditional key that turns the ignition to start a vehicle. They can be all metal or have a plastic key head. However, standard car keys do not have any electronic components or features like remote control in the key head.

The cost of replacing a standard car key usually ranges between $50 and $160. This cost comprises two main factors: the actual key cost, which is typically around $10, and the total key cutting cost, which constitutes the majority of the total. Unlike some advanced keys, standard car keys do not require programming.

Shop for car keys and remotes online

Cost Factors for Standard Car Keys

The Cost to Get the Key Cuts Using the VIN

To replace a standard car key when the keys have been lost, the cuts for the key will need to be determined. There are several methods to do this, but most often used is cutting the car key by VIN number.

In order to cut a key by VIN, a locksmith is charged to retrieve the cuts and that charge varies by car manufacture. The low end is $25, the high end over $100. Thus, the price the locksmith charges to get the cuts varies as well.

Cost for Standard Keys

Standard keys, with cuts along the edge, are the least expensive keys. The cost for cutting will only be a few dollars.

Cost for Laser-Cut Keys

Laser cut keys differ from standard keys. Laser cut keys are milled around the keys edge or down the middle of the key, with a key milling machine. The keys themselves cost about the same, but the key cutting will be more expensive. The cost for cutting a laser-cut key will be around $50.

Cost to Replace Car Keys With Chips (Transponder Key)

Automotive Transponder Key
Automotive Transponder Key

The cost to replace a car key with a chip inside (transponder key) generally falls between $220 and $350. This cost is influenced by factors including the type of key, the entire key cutting cost, expenses related to a locksmith’s visit or car towing, and the programming cost.

Transponder car keys are car keys that have an inductor in the head of the key.

In order for these keys to run your car, the car must be programmed to recognize the key.

Because of this, when you lose your last transponder key, in addition to the above mentioned prices, a locksmith must come onsite to program the car key (or you must tow the car to the dealer) and the key must be programmed.

You can get detailed locksmith pricing information on service calls in our online article What do Locksmith Charge for… and information on key programming in our article How do Locksmiths Program Car Keys.

Shop for car keys and remotes online
Car Key FOB
Car Key FOB

The Cost to Replace Car Key FOBs

Car FOBs have electronic features such as push to start, remote entry, remote start, and more.

The cost to replace a car key FOB typically ranges from $100 to $650. This cost variation is influenced by factors such as the price of the FOB itself (ranging from $50 to $300), potential expenses for locksmith services or towing the vehicle for programming, and programming cost.

All FOBs will need to be programmed to the vehicle in order for the car to run. However, in some cases this programming can be down by the owner when the FOB is “on board programmable” not requiring a locksmith or the dealer to be at the vehicle.

Even though you may not see the key, most FOBs have hidden keys that slide into the case of the FOB and that key will need to be cut for emergency access to the car and, often, to program the remote.

Because of this. All of the prices we’ve discussed above apply, plus the addition of the FOB. Most FOBs will run between $50 and $300.

Cost to Replace Car Keys Summary

Type of Car KeyCost of the Key or FobAdditional Cost for Key Code CuttingCost for Onsite Visit & ProgrammingTotal Cost of the Replacement Key
Cost to Replace Basic Car Key$ 15-30$35-155$0$50-180
Cost to Replace Transponder Key$ 15 – 30$35-155$150-195$ 50-350
Cost to Replace Car Key FOB$ 50 – 300$35-155$0-195$100 – 650
Table: Cost to Replace Keys and Fobs by Key Type

Types of Car Keys & Why Programming is Needed

We discuss types of car keys in our article on where to get keys made, you can also view our YouTube video.

The types of car keys.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you only have one working key for your vehicle, the time to get a copy is now. The reason is simple: the cost to duplicate a key, remote, or FOB is far cheaper than it is to originate one.


More of Our Favorite Security Products

See our Amazon Store for Videos and Links to All of Our Favorite Security Products.

Door Armor: Reinforce your doors. This video on YouTube shows the installation of Door Armor, and you can buy the product direct from Door Armor at a great price.

Video Doorbells: This video doorbell offers great images and video and has NO monthly video storage fees. Watch our SkyBell Video Doorbell Review on YouTube and buy it on Amazon.

Smart Locks: Access Your Locks via Smart Phone. You’ll find some of our favorite smart locks that allow you to control home access and monitor entry in our Amazon Smart Lock Shop. Watch our Smart Lock Comparison Video on YouTube fore reviews of the most popular Smart Locks.

High Security Safes: When you want a safe that is designed to protect the valuable you put inside, you want a high security safe found on ACME Locksmith’s Safes for Sale website.

Sliding Glass Door Lock: The best arcadia door lock that stops your sliding glass door from being lifted out of it’s tracks and to prevent little ones from opening the door and leaving the home. Check out the video on YouTube and Buy it on our website.

Disclosure: As an eBay / Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *