What’s the Cost to Rekey a Car? And other considerations!

cost to rekey a car

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As a vehicle owner, you may be faced with the need to have your car rekeyed. This process can bring about many questions—what exactly does it mean to have a car rekeyed, how does it work—but often the most pressing is this: How much does it cost to rekey a car?

Below, you’ll find the answers to all of your questions surrounding the rekeying of your car, including how much it will cost. And for convenient, high-quality vehicle maintenance, visit the Treads website to learn more about innovative monthly tire subscription services.

What Does it Mean to Rekey a Car?

Since keys are uniquely crafted or programmed to unlock a specific car, you can’t simply order a new one if yours becomes lost or damaged. Instead, you’ll need to have your car rekeyed so it is compatible with a new set. Rekeying a car essentially refers to the alteration of the lock’s internal components. These components—the wafers, disks, and sliders—are repositioned in order to be compatible with a new key. This process acts in place of a complete replacement of the locks in your car and renders the previous key useless.

Once your lock has been reconfigured, you’ll be given a new set of keys that can be used to unlock and start your vehicle. Unfortunately, the rekeying process does not work if the lock itself is damaged—in this case, you will need a complete lock replacement—though it is ideal for cases of a lost or broken key.

The cost to rekey a car can vary as there are several ways to have your car rekeyed, including:

  • Locksmiths
  • Dealerships

Both locksmiths and dealerships have advantages and disadvantages. If you’re comfortable working with cars, you can attempt to rekey the vehicle on your own, although take caution not to damage the lock while doing so. Generally, the best course of action is to take your car to a service provider that you trust.

When Should You Have Your Car Rekeyed?

There are several instances in which you may need to have your car rekeyed, the most common being:

If you lose both your main key and your spare, rekeying your car is the only way for your vehicle to remain usable. Similarly, if you think your keys may have been stolen, it’s a good idea to have your car rekeyed as soon as possible. This will prevent the potential theft of your car or other belongings, which would be a costly, dangerous situation.

Additionally, many opt to rekey their car because of the extra security it provides. If your key is stolen or even lost, someone besides you could have access to your vehicle. Since a car rekeying renders the existing keys completely useless, many people go through the process just to prevent any unwanted surprises. For those with older, used cars, it may be a good idea to have your car rekeyed just in case there is a spare key in circulation that you aren’t aware of.

If your key becomes damaged, the best course of action is often to have your car rekeyed. While it can be tempting to try and fix a damaged key, this can lead to broken car locks that are expensive to replace or repair. Since damaged locks cannot be fixed with a rekeying, the best choice is to have your car rekeyed before you incur a frustrating break in your locks.

How Much Does it Cost to Rekey a Car?

The cost of rekeying a car varies based on your location, service provider, and the type of rekeying requested.

There are two types of car rekeying that can be done: ignition and door locks. Rekeying the ignition allows you to turn your car on with a different key, which is essential if yours has been stolen, lost, or damaged. For those with older cars that cannot be unlocked with the press of a button, your car’s door locks can also be rekeyed to allow access into the vehicle. Each type of rekeying has a different cost, with ignition rekeying usually being the more expensive of the two.

Since ignition cylinders can be expensive on their own (ranging up to $700 for a single unit, depending on the make and model of the vehicle), the part is more expensive to rekey. At their most basic, ignition cylinders are simply locks and can be reconfigured as such. An experienced auto locksmith can take the cylinder apart and reconfigure its internal components for compatibility with a new key.

The cost of rekeying your car’s ignition will likely be between $120 and $225.

Rekeying your car’s door locks will likely be much less than that of the ignition cylinder. Locksmiths usually charge a minimum fee ranging anywhere from $40 to $100, plus an additional charge for each individual door lock that could be anywhere between $5 to $25 per unit. Total, the cost to rekey your car will likely be between $70 and $180.

This cost depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Vehicle age, make, and model
  • Type of equipment needed
  • Whether your existing key uses a transponder

Overall, the cost of having your car rekeyed is relatively low, considering the potential danger that comes with a lost or stolen key, and the inconvenient nature of a damaged, unreliable key. To avoid these issues, rekeying your car is absolutely a sound investment to make.

With an average cost of less than $200, having a car rekeyed is a relatively simple and cost-efficient process. Whether your car key has become lost or damaged, you now have the knowledge you need to schedule a car rekeying.

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