Life is imperfect. Keys break, get lost, or sometimes you just need more than 2 sets. When thinking of getting parts for your vehicle, most people immediately think of the dealership – until they find out the cost, then, once sticker shock has passed, comes possibly hours of researching the internet for aftermarket options. Auto remotes and keys are no different.
First of all, there should be some myths that need to be dispelled before anything else:
I could go on all day busting myths like this. How car keys and remotes work in modern vehicles is such an unknown to most people that the myths are never-ending. That being said there are just a few things everyone needs to know and understand about the topic:
- Assume your car has a transponder key system if it is newer than 1999 and not a Kia or Hyundai from the US market, It will ALWAYS need cut and programmed before it will work. NEVER think that the remote will work as soon as it slides out of the wrapper.
- Manufacturers use several different remote variants every year for each car model (in most cases) so when using a website’s search tool make sure you match your existing info perfectly. This means to match the button configuration, FCC ID (or part number), as well as prox or non-prox variation. Websites will present you with ALL the options for cars like yours so do not just pick one that looks the same.
- “Prox” means a ‘smart’ style remote. If you keep your remote in your pocket all the time and push a button to start the car, you use a prox remote.
- If you have even a single question about anything involving your remote/ key purchase do NOT buy it until you contact the website you are buying from and have all of your questions answered.
The most common occurrence we have when dealing with potential customers is when they find out that the massive discount they are getting from us does not include the key being cut or remote ready to work as soon as it arrives is, “where do I take it to get it programmed and cut to my vehicle”? The answer is a local automotive locksmith. Open up Google maps and type in ‘auto locksmiths near me’ and you should have options. Call around and ask them the following questions:
- Do you have a shop or location I can drive to?
- Do you work on outside items?
- What do you charge to just pair the items I bring in?
There are more in-depth questions the discerning consumer could ask that I will cover in a separate article but for now, these 3 basic questions need to be answered. By driving to them (assuming you still have 1 working key) you avoid the dreaded “service call fee”.
Most locksmiths do not have shops and work out of their van. This is quite common so don’t think it is a bad thing. If they will not wave the service call fee if you drive to them, move on to the next locksmith. Most locksmiths will work on outside items but none of them will warranty the work. This is fine as you should have a warranty with the place you purchased the items from anyway.
Lastly is the charge. This will vary from place to place depending on how many locksmiths are competing against each other and what the local dealerships charge for similar services.
The rule of thumb is to first call the dealership and ask them how much the remote AND the programming will cost you all together. Dealers will rarely include the programming charges in your quote unless you directly ask it be applied. Once you have that figure you can evaluate if buying a refurbished remote and using an auto locksmith to pair it are significantly cheaper. In most cases, this will save you 20-80% over the dealer price.
If you lose all your keys and are stuck wondering what your first move should be, fear not, we have the answer for you here. Firstly, call the dealer as advised above and get the total charges for them to do the work. It will be expensive but the point is you get the top end charge to do your replacement and can use this quote to calculate your savings using other options. Second, go to replacemyremote.com and use the search tool to see what options you have available. Use our handy chat feature, email us any questions, or call us. We are happy to help you get the correct option. With our price for the replacement unit, you will then get a quote from a local locksmith to pair our remote for you, again using the advice as outlined above. The only difference is instead of you going to the locksmith’s shop, you will pay their service fee and have them come to you. A dealership would require you to tow the car to them if they did the work so the locksmith coming to you is very convenient.
Modern keys and remotes do not have to be a mystery. They are complicated- no doubt. Locksmiths that are real masters at their trade are talented and smart people that spend years and a lot of money learning the latest technology and buying the best tools. Just because they are complicated does not mean they need to be mysterious. To learn more about this subject you can read further articles published on this site in the future.