Car keys are one of those items that always seem to go missing. Lost in the bottom of bags, left behind at airports, stolen, or just misplaced, are often the fate of our much-needed car keys.
When your car keys going missing, especially if you’ve lost your only set, is very stressful. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for a roundup of places to get a car key made for cheap.
To get a car key made, it can cost from $5 to $500 plus an additional $50 to $100 if your car key requires the programming.
It’s cheaper and faster to use an auto locksmith or at your local auto body shop rather than using your dealership, and you can get a replacement key on the same day.
- Cheaper programming: Keys for cars like Honda and Toyota can be around $200-$250
- Average programing: Keys for cars like Lexus and Infiniti can be around $300-$400
- Expensive programing: Keys for cars like Mercedes or BMW can be around $400-500
My personal experience: I have a Lexus SUV and the dealership quoted me $350. My local auto body shop quoted me $184 for the Lexus key plus programing and $10 for a generic spare with no programming. I end up buying 1 each and the total cost was $194.
So, whether you locked your only set of keys inside your car, left them behind or they’ve been stolen, destress knowing there are places to get a cheap replacement quickly.
Sometimes it’s just a good idea to have multiples around. But first, what is the average cost to get a car key made?
It’s best to get a few quotes before choosing where to get your car key made. And, it’s important to note that there are often two costs for getting a car key, the cost of the key itself and (for newer models) the cost to program it to your car.
Here are 16 places to get a replacement or additional car key for cheap.
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Auto Parts Stores
Several auto parts stores offer key cutting services and some also program the keys for you.
However, it’s best to call ahead and ask what’s available at your location and get a quote. Their prices will vary widely depending on the make and model of your car and if you need a fob.
You can also purchase a blank key at many of these stores and take it to a locksmith to be cut and programmed.
You can purchase a blank car key from AutoZone for around $6, or a remote key fob that can cost you from $15 to $90. AutoZone can program most key fobs at the store, but it depends on the car make. So, you may have to use a dealership or locksmith to program a key from AutoZone.
Related: Does AutoZone Install Batteries?
O’Reilly Auto Parts
O’Reilly offers universal remote keys, fobs and battery replacements.
NAPA Auto Parts
At NAPA Auto, you can get keys cut starting at $70, including the price for programming it to your car. Most stores offer services for chip-enabled keys as well.
Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto charges from $20 to $50 for keys. However, only specific locations have key cutting and programming services.
Home Improvement Stores
Home Depot has a key copy machine that costs about $1.50 and takes five minutes. However, it doesn’t work for all key types. You can always try, though, by inserting your key into the machine which will scan it and let you know if it can make a copy.
However, if you have a ‘do not duplicate’ key, or one with more advanced security features, this may not work. Additionally, your copied key will not have any programming which means it may not be able to start your engine and it will not come with a remote. So, while Home Depot’s key machine may be one of the cheapest options out there, it might not work for your car key needs.
Similar to Home Depot, Lowes has key machines you can use to copy keys. You just pay for the key blank, which costs about $2.50. Lowes also offers KeyMe Digital, a service that allows you to store copies of your keys in the cloud so you can create a spare when needed at your local store. These digital copies can be made in under 30 seconds. This service costs from $3 to $90, depending on the type of key you have.
Lowes offers also remote car keys for $89 to $149. The lower priced options are simple keys with a fob, while the higher end options are remote entry fobs with remote start. However, these keys may still need to be programmed to your car by a locksmith or dealership.
Ace Hardware sells programmable key chips for $50 to $90. Ace advertises that they cover 92% of the vehicles on the road today and at 60% less than dealerships, with same day delivery.
At Ace, you can purchase and program keys or remotes to your vehicle which makes them a great, cheap option to get a key ready to go for your car. Ace stores are in all 50 states; find your local store at acehardware.com.
Grocery and Retail Stores
Most grocery and retail stores offer key machines or do-it-yourself kiosks where you simply insert your car key and they will make a copy. These cost from about $1.50 to $5. If you need a key to be programmed, you will still have to take it to a dealership or locksmith.
Additionally, some say the quality of keys made in these machines is not the same as a copy made by a locksmith as they are not built to last as long. But these machine-made keys are one of the cheapest options for making key copies. Here’s a list of the stores with key copying machines.
Bed Bath and Beyond
You might not expect it, but many Bed Bath and Beyond locations have key making services and some have DIY key kiosks.
You can duplicate a car key at a key machine at Walmart, for $2 to $6. But, their MinuteKey kiosks only work for older keys that don’t have a chip. And, Walmart sells key blanks and fobs for $8 to $60 but then you still need to get them programmed.
7-Eleven is one of the only gas stations that make keys. They have KeyMe machines at some locations.
Rite Aid also has a key copy machine at most locations.
Like most grocery stores, Vons has DIY kiosks to get copies of your keys.
Kroger, a large grocery chain in the U.S., has a high concentration of stores in the Midwest and the South. Some locations offer key copying services, and some have minuteKEY kiosks.
Many Kmart locations offer key copying services and KeyMe kiosks.
Safeway offers key copying services at select locations with KeyMe kiosks.
Amazon or eBay
You may be able to find used keys for your vehicle online with Amazon or eBay. However, if you have a newer car with a fob or programming, it might not be best to shop your car key secondhand.
Your car dealership is your best option if you have a new car from within the last five years. This is because newer cars often won’t work with the cheaper fobs you can find online, and they require more expensive programming. Again, you should check your insurance and warranty to see if any costs of a key replacement are covered.
Additionally, many European cars require the manufacturer to set the digital encryption. For example, if you own an Audi you will want to use your dealer for a new car because Audi builds security chips into their key fobs which cannot be reprogrammed. So, you cannot buy an Audi key fob online. Audi key replacements cost $500, including the programming, according to consumerreports.org.
However, if your car is more than ten years old you may be able to find a cheaper, used key fob that you or a trained locksmith can program.
A local auto locksmith is likely the cheapest place to get a car key made and programmed to your car. They can sometimes cut you a new key for under $10, depending on your car model.
However, for a set of remote car keys you could expect to pay a locksmith $200.
On the bright side, Locksmiths also can come to you, and generally can provide a new key within a day, sometimes within an hour.
However, you may need to pay more for a locksmith if you request a new key outside of regular business hours.
Make sure you find someone who is a trained, legitimate locksmith. Some states require locksmiths to have a license.
The U.S. FTC has tips for finding a legitimate locksmith on their website. Use the ‘Find a Locksmith’ tool by the Associated Locksmiths of America to find a qualified locksmith in the U.S. or the international register for other countries.
Average Cost to Get a Car Key Made
The average cost to get a car key made varies considerably depending on the vehicle model and the type of key you have.
European cars and SUVs usually have more expensive keys because they have specific encryption to prevent theft.
If you have a newer model with more security features, you can expect to pay $250 or more on average. Ford or Chey keys, however, cost under $200.
Typically, there are two types of car keys, either a remote ‘smart’ key or a regular key. Remote keys include fobs, while non-remote keys are just a key with no locking function attached.
Some fobs are remote and keyless. Usually, fobs or remote keys are more expensive to replace than regular keys.
So, if your remote fob is not working, it’s best to check if it just needs a battery replacement rather than replacing the whole thing.
These batteries need to be replaced every three to four years. A new battery typically costs under $10 and often you can do it yourself which can save you a lot of money.
You should also check with your auto insurance provider to see if replacement keys are covered. However, in some cases, policies only cover replacement costs if a key was stolen or lost.
And they might have restrictions on where you can purchase a key replacement. For instance, they may require you to go to a dealer which typically charge more and can take longer.
Can I Get a Car Key Made Without The Original Key?
You can get a new car key made without the original key from a locksmith. A locksmith can program a new key to your car for you if you don’t have a spare.
They will also deprogram the old key so that it won’t work with your car, in case it was stolen.
If you’ve lost your only key, it may be cheaper to find a locksmith who can come to you rather than getting your car towed. This depends on if your insurance covers towing, and how far you need to be towed.
You’ll need to have some information on hand including your vehicle make and model, registration number, vehicle identification number (VIN), and documentation to confirm your ownership of the car. If you don’t know your VIN, check on the driver’s doorpost or on the driver’s side dashboard.