Professional locksmiths have experience with all types of keys, even electronic ones. They can reprogram them, remove existing keys from the car's computer, etc. A cheaper option is to hire the services of an automatic locksmith. Many locksmiths can cut and program a key for about half the cost of a replacement at a dealership.
Some dealers even use the services of external locksmiths to replace keys. You can purchase a spare key if you have lost the original key. You may have the option of returning to the dealer for a replacement, however, this can be very expensive, especially if you need your vehicle towed to your dealer location. In fact, many dealers use the services of external locksmiths to replace keys and many locksmiths can cut and program the exact same key for 50% less cost than a dealer.
Transponder car keys prior to 1995 will not need programming, but you will need to find a locksmith who specializes in cutting and copying vehicle keys. Join the UK's largest locksmiths association, all membership levels available to those who are new to locksmiths or commercial locksmiths. The newly cut key will open the doors and even turn the ignition, but you will not be able to start the car until the transponder chip on the new key has been programmed with the recognition voltage required by the ECU. In this way, software manufacturers can ensure that tokens are only sold to certified and authorized locksmiths, eliminating the risk of car thieves gaining access to equipment and software.
American and Asian automakers have shared their key programming protocols, allowing special key cutting and programming equipment to be sold to locksmiths. Even some remote start FOBs can similarly self-program, only instead of changing the keys via ignition, a method of pressing the buttons accomplishes the task. The vehicle identification number is more commonly referred to as a VIN number, and your locksmith will need to know that as well. We recommend calling a car locksmith near you and giving them the year, make and model of your vehicle to get a quote.
That's why losing your car key or breaking it in the ignition or lock can seem like a nightmare. The key programming software will allow the locksmith to add new keys and remove old keys, as some car brands only allow a limited number of keys to be programmed into the car's ECU. If you are in a position where you should have a car key made, the first step is to determine what type of key you will need. There is no single program available that covers all makes and models, and the investment needed puts the acquisition beyond the reach of professional locksmiths.
Let's look at the protocol that certified locksmiths must follow to identify the key cutting code to allow the cutting and programming of a new key.