How Much Do Replacement Car Keys Cost?
What first appears to be a simple question is actually very complex, with lots of different variables depending on car brand, age of vehicle, style of key, key and immobiliser technology installed into the vehicle, do you have an original key or is it all keys lost situation?
The average price of a new car key supplied from a main dealer in the UK is £252. The table below shows the main dealers price of a new car key for the top ten best selling cars in the UK. The cheapest car key is £216 for a Volkswagen Polo, whilst the most expensive is over £330 for a Mercedes A-Class key. Replacing lost car keys with an Independent specialist will significantly reduce the overall cost.
TYPICAL DEALER SUPPLIED KEY COST
Data obtained directly from relevant UK main dealers and is correct as of November 2019
In most cases the price we charge for Supplying a replacement Remote / key , cutting and programming will be
Considerably cheaper than Dealer supplied Keys
Also Much quicker , the typical wait for a dealer supplied key is 7 to 10 working days.
Factors that affect the price of replacement car keys
We have identified four common factors that are likely to have an impact on how much replacement car keys cost:
- The vehicle make
- The vehicle model
- The year of registration
- The spec or edition
The cost of replacement car keys varies from model to model
When looking at how much replacement car keys cost it’s important to be aware that there is no set price for a particular vehicle manufacturers key. Different models will utilise different keys, all at different prices. For example a Ford Fiesta key could be as low as £230 whilst a Ford Mondeo key could cost £280.
A car key replacement price will also fluctuate depending on the year of registration
Similarly to the model variations, prices can also fluctuate depending on the year of first registration. For example a 2010 Vauxhall Corsa key currently costs £217, whilst a 2017 Vauxhall Corsa key costs £230.
The spec of the model may also impact the cost of a car key
It’s not a given that all models of a certain year or mark will have the same associated cost for a new car key. Certain editions and spec upgrades could mean an upgrade to the car key. For example a Ford Fiesta 2014 could use a flip style remote key that is turned in the ignition, or it could also use a proximity style key fob, meaning the car is started by the push of a button.
Other factors that could impact car key cutting prices
It is important to remember that most main dealers are franchises and the price of a replacement car key may vary from franchise to franchise. The geographic location of the dealer could also influence the price, with dealers in the South of England likely to be the most expensive.
Main dealers in the UK do not provide a mobile service for key programming, so should you lose your only car key you will need to budget for the cost of recovering your vehicle into their workshop.
If you do not have a record of your vehicles key number and immobiliser code the dealer could possibly charge an extra fee for supplying this.
How is the price of a replacement car key from a main dealer broken down?
Whilst it may seem like some main dealers have literally plucked a price from out of the air, there is often a reason a replacement key for your car may be priced higher than expected. When you purchase a replacement car key from a main dealer there are essentially three elements that you are paying for.
- The raw key – you first pay to purchase an uncut, unprogrammed blank remote key (this is normally the highest part of the cost, and can be in excess of £300 for some cars). Vauxhall currently charge £80 for an unprogrammed 2018 Vauxhall Corsa key.
- The cutting – The key blade will need cutting to code to fit your locks. Even key cards and proximity keyless entry keys have an emergency key blade that will need to be cut. An additional charge may be added on to supply a key number and immobiliser code. As an example, Vauxhall currently charge £30 to supply this.
- The programming – There is a final cost for the dealer to program the key into your car. Programming tools can cost well over £10,000, so don’t be surprised if a dealers cost consists of a programming fee of £100 or more. Using Vauxhall as our example, their charge is £120 for key programming.
Car key prices infographic
Why are car keys so expensive?
The majority of people that have never had the misfortune of losing a car key are shocked when they discover how much replacement car keys cost. Unlike domestic house keys, car keys are highly sophisticated electronic devices that contain a PCB, transponder chip and battery.
As already explained the blank key can be expensive to purchase for the dealer or locksmith, meaning the end price to the consumer is already more than expected. A blank car key is cut using state of the art automated key cutting machines, which cost thousands of pounds to purchase and maintain. In order to make a profit the dealer or auto locksmith will factor in the cost of of cutting the key.
Programming tools for coding a new key can cost tens of thousands to initially purchase, with extra ongoing costs associated for licensing and installing new software. A cost will also be added to cover the time taken for cutting and programming the key. Anything up to one hour can be expected for such a labour fee. When you take all the factors into consideration and remember whoever is supplying the key will need to make a profit, the price of a replacement car key is often justified. So how much do replacement car keys cost? Probably more than most motorists would expect, but not so much when you fully understand how sophisticated a car key actually is and what’s involved in supplying one.
Data suggests that the cost of replacing car keys is on the rise. A ford Fiesta key cost just £162 back in 2013, but five years on the price has risen by over 41% to £230. Also in 2013 a replacement key for a Nissan Qashqai would have cost £180, but you can expect to pay as much as £300 if you walked into a Nissan main dealer today. That’s more than a 66% increase!
The price increase could be due to the improvements in car key technology and the introduction of proximity keyless start keys, which are able to start the car without the user having to insert the key into the ignition.