ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

To Key or not to Key: Locksmith or Dealer?

Updated on October 4, 2010

Did you know a locksmith can replace your car lock cheaper than a dealer?

See results

Do you know how much more expensive it is to have an automobile dealer in Lansing Michigan replace a car key versus a Lansing Locksmith? Some dealerships charge $200 or more to replace a transponder key (keys from newer cars). This is a common issue across the United States. The expense is not from cutting the car key, which only costs a dollar or two in parts and labor. Much of the cost comes from the electronic chip in your vehicle's key itself. If you have a perfectly cut key without the correct programming for the chip, you can put it in the ignition and turn the car key and NOTHING WILL HAPPEN. Your car won't start. The dealer will charge you a marked up price for the transponder chip as well as a higher base pay to cover the salary of the worker. This cost gets passed on to YOU the consumer.

Shouldn’t you get a discount for bringing your car to THEM? A better option is to buy your replacement car keys from a locksmith. A locksmith will use the same equipment as a dealership but will charge up to half the price to replace your key. Many Locksmiths will even come to you. The most important part of getting your car key replaced is making sure the chip inside the key is programmed properly. Always test your new key before leaving the locksmith or as soon as you get home with your new car key. Contact the locksmith immediately if you have any problems unlocking the door or starting the car. If the car does not start it may mean there was a problem with the programming or even the cutting of the key and you will need to get the replacement car key replaced again. The sooner you contact the locksmith the greater your chances are for resolving the problem.

Transponder Key Programming

Programming a transponder key on site.
Programming a transponder key on site. | Source

Make sure you buy your replacement key from a reputable dealership or locksmith (see the tips on choosing a locksmith who is reputable). It is possible to order a replacement online but make sure you do your research. Check online reviews of locksmiths you have in mind to obtain your keys from. When you buy replacement keys for your car it is like shopping for anything else. Call around and get prices from multiple dealers and locksmiths. Find the best price from the most reputable company and you are likely to find a replacement car key at a great price. It is critical to provide the make, model, and VIN number of the vehicle to the person programming your keys. Authenticate the reliability of the locksmith company before you give important or private information to program the keys for your vehicle. The Federal government has issued warnings about locksmith frauds and you may find yourself subject to a scam if you are not careful.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Sergio Freddson 

      4 years ago

      I had no idea that a locksmith could replace your car lock at all. I assumed that you would have to take the car in to a dealer to have it done. I remember my buddy in college needed to have his car lock replaced but delayed it for a long time because he assumed he wouldn't be able to get it done anywhere other than the dealership. This would have been good to know! Great hub though, voted up.

    • profile image

      Mike Cozer 

      5 years ago

      I agree with this article and feel it is great value to know.

      Kansas City Locksmith

    • locktolock profile image

      lock tolock 

      5 years ago from 125 mansell pl 30076

      locksmith in atlanta

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have a 2003 dodge stratus and I don't have my main key I bought my car with so I looked online and I found a key without logo and it came to $17.99 and its saying I have to get the key cut how do I go about that

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article! Very true.

      Edmonton Locksmith -

    • profile image

      Mr. Smith 

      7 years ago

      Residential, Commercial, Automotive and Emergency locksmith services in Boston.

    • profile image

      Mr. Smith 

      7 years ago

      Residential, Commercial, Automotive and Emergency locksmith services in Boston (

    • sunsetsoon profile image


      8 years ago from Fort Mill SC

      we are her in Fort Mill also provides Locksmith service and i agree with what you wrote in the article

    • Lansing-Locksmith profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Lansing, Michigan

      Tell a story of getting locked out of your car.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)