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Why Are Replacement Car Keys so Expensive?

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Depending on what OEM made your vehicle, a key fob replacement can cost as low as $170 or as much as $1,000. Have you ever wondered exactly why modern key fobs are so pricey? Get the background story of what all goes into the key-making process.

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Why it’s expensive

Your vehicle’s make, model, and year, as well as the key fob’s complexity, feed into the replacement key’s fee. However, three additional factors play a significant role in the price of creating a duplicate key.


Key-cutting usually necessitates pricey, customized machinery. The expense of the equipment used in making the duplicate key has a direct impact on its cost.


Like with any product or service, manual labor is involved. Key-cutting is a two-part process: physically cutting the key, then programming the electronics so the fob can communicate with your vehicle’s computer to unlock (and, in some cases, start) the vehicle. The whole process typically takes one hour from start to finish.


It’s easy to forget that contemporary car keys are really mini electronic devices equipped with circuitry and a battery. The tiny parts and intricate inner-workings of the fob can be expensive on their own, even before you add in equipment and labor fees.

Though purchasing a duplicate key for your vehicle might seem inconvenient, it’ll spare you the headache of getting locked out of your vehicle if your key gets lost or the battery fizzles out. Take a moment to read up on three strategies to try when your key fob’s battery dies.

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News Sources: DrivesureLock N More