If you’ve recently lost a car key or want to upgrade your current keys, you’ll need to get a new one made. Depending on the type of car you have and your situation, you’ll have to go to a retailer that can make the type of key you use.
If you have your current car key and wish to duplicate it, you can get a new car key made for you at popular stores such as Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, and more. If you lost your key and need a new one, you’ll need to go through a few more steps.
Getting an extra car key made is easier than you might think. Let’s take a look at some of the stores that offer car key services and what they offer so that you can select the right one for you.
Autozone is one of the most popular retailers for car keys and all things “automobile.” They have a wide variety of car model keys available, including:
They also provide key fobs and transponder keys at a higher price. You should call and check with your local Autozone to see if they carry this option for your model.
For cars that are no longer sold on the market, you may have to contact a dealership or car collector for more information on creating new keys.
Walmart is an excellent budget-friendly option for car keys. However, you should keep in mind that your Walmart will only offer car keys if they also have an auto-center. Unfortunately, not all Walmarts have an auto center.
Walmart’s auto center offers key copying and sometimes has key fobs and transponder keys available as well.
If your Walmart doesn’t have an auto center, you might try your luck with the key kiosks that sometimes appear at Walmart’s front access doors. Key kiosks like MinuteKey can copy simple car keys that don’t contain a transponder or special chip.
Lowes provides copies for car keys without chips or transponders inside of them. To get support from a Lowes associate, go to the car key counter or kiosk and wait for help.
You can also buy key fobs and transponder keys from Lowes online, but they start around $75 and go up from there, so it’s not a very budget-friendly option.
Some Lowes stores have now opened KeyMe kiosks, which allow you to copy car keys with transponders and chips. These kiosks are still new, but you can see if there’s one in your area by visiting their website.
If you can’t find a KeyMe kiosk in your area, KeyMe can set you up with a locksmith for specialized service that comes straight to your door.
Home Depot has plenty of key options for your automobile. They supply keys for the models:
You should call the store in your area before going in to ensure they have your key in stock. Otherwise, you’ll have to order it from Home Depot’s website to your house or to pick it up in the store.
Home Depot also offers universal key fobs and some transponder chip keys. However, they won’t provide every type of key, and you’ll have to call in and ask to make sure they have yours available.
Ace Hardware is one of the largest suppliers of car keys and car key replacements. All you need to do is:
- Visit their website,
- Add in your car’s make and model and year.
- Click “Find Your Local Ace.”
Then you can get a quote and information on how to replace your key at your local Ace location. If Ace doesn’t provide your key, they’ll let you know.
If your key type is available, call into the store to make an appointment or go in with your key. Ace Hardware stores often have a key counter available, where you can bring your key and get an estimated wait time.
Key fobs and transmitter keys will take about 1-3 hours to be made. If you have a rare make of car, you may have to wait longer.
Ace is one of the top options on this list due to its wide range of key-cloning and making abilities. Many other retailers don’t offer key chips, but some Ace locations do offer this.
I Lost My Car Key: Now What?
What do you do if you lose your car key and don’t have a replacement? Most stores only offer copies of your key. In this case, you only have a few solutions. Let’s look at two of the biggest options: locksmiths and dealerships.
Visit a Locksmith
A locksmith can create a new key for your car without having a copy available. Locksmiths are trained with all types of locks and types of keys. They can even make a transmitter for your vehicle, but you might have to get it tested at your dealership afterward.
The benefits of using a locksmith for your key are:
- You get to support a local business
- There are more key options available
- They can often make you a key on the spot
- They can make keys for almost any car or lock
You can use online search tools to find a locksmith near you or search on Google for locksmiths who work with cars.
A locksmith will use a tool called a scope, which can enter a lock and map out its specific nooks and crannies. This tool allows them to get a good picture of what the key needs to look like, and then they can recreate it without damaging the lock.
Locksmiths also often use a method called “VIN-searching.” Here’s how they do it:
- You offer proof of ownership of the car and the car’s VIN to the locksmith.
- The locksmith submits the VIN and your information to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- The NHTSA will send a key code for your specific car, including instructions for a chip or transmitter.
- The locksmith will then create your key using the instructions given.
Your locksmith may then have to program the key to your car. If they’re unable to, you’ll have to go to a dealer to get this service done.
Go to Your Car Dealership
In some cases, a dealership may have replacement keys for your car model. If you have a newer or more popular car, you can get your dealer to make a new key or key fob for you.
Going to a dealer is a much more expensive option, but there are some benefits:
- Your dealer can program the key transponder for you
- Your dealer has direct experience with your car
- If you have a rare car or a car that is no longer on the market, a dealer may be the only place for you to get a key replacement
Check with your car’s dealer to make sure they offer key replacement services. You will have to get your car towed to the dealer if you do not have a car key to start it with.
Some car dealerships will call a locksmith or have their own locksmith on hand. It depends on your car model, car year, and the type of key you’re trying to get. This choice should be your last option, due to the high cost.
Types of Car Keys and How to Replace Them
Car keys are different for each type of car, and there are now options on the market to make cars even safer. Let’s take a look at each type.
Transponder keys have a specialized chip inside that connects only with your specific car’s system. This connection is made through the VIN, which is a number your vehicle comes with and is connected to your name on your registration.
To replace a transponder key, you’ll need to go to a retailer that offers transponder options, a locksmith, or your dealer.
A key fob is a device used to unlock your car from a distance. It often contains a key on the end, which can be used in the ignition and has a transponder inside.
Some cars have a “push-to-start” button that can start your engine. In this case, the vehicle will sense your key nearby and know whether you’ve opened the car or not.
You can replace a key fob at most retailers for a hefty price.
Like your house key, a mechanical car key is a simple metal design without a chip that allows you to open a single lock. These are the most straightforward keys to replicate.
You can replicate this key by copying the grooves in the original. If you do not have the original, a locksmith can quickly and cheaply replicate the lock for you and create a new key.
Like a key fob, a smart key is a remote key. It can detect when you are near your car. Some can even detect burglaries. These keys are made for ease of access. They often consist of just a key fob, with or without buttons.
In most cases, you should get this key replaced by your dealer or the key maker.
A replacement key is a key made simply for duplicating purposes if you lose the original key. Often, this key will have the same shape as the original key but will lack the required chip to drive the car. Driving with a master key can be dangerous for your car’s transmission.
Although rare, valet keys are used simply to unlock and lock the car and turn on a vehicle’s ignition. These abilities are for valet drivers who will park the car and then bring it back for you when you are ready to drive.
You can get a valet key by requesting one from a locksmith who is versed in this area. These are uncommon but can be made.
FAQs About Getting Your Car Key Made
Let’s look at some frequently asked questions about getting your car key made or replaced.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car Key?
A simple car key without a chip can cost $1 and up. They are often the most inexpensive types of keys to replace.
A key fob replacement can run from $20 and up. So the highest key fob replacement price could be in the hundreds, depending on the type of car you have.
The most expensive key to replace is a smart key, which has to be specifically programmed for your car. In most cases, you’ll receive two of these so that you don’t lose them both.
How Long Does It Take to Make a Car Key?
Car keys can take from a couple of minutes to a few days to make. It depends on a few factors, including:
- The make and model of your car
- The type of key
- Whether or not you have a copy available
Ask your local locksmith or hardware/auto store how long your key will take to make.
How to Get a Car Key at Key Kiosks?
As mentioned before, key kiosks are available in many large retailers and offer a simple way to clone car keys. Most key kiosks only allow replicating simple keys without a chip or transmitter. MinuteKey is one of those kiosks.
KeyMe offers chip transmitter services to your door or at some of their specific kiosks. Other kiosks will let you know whether or not they can duplicate your key. Just check out the instructions on the screen to test it.