How do I replace a car key fob?

A huge number of drivers are accustomed to unlocking car doors with the click of a button on the car’s key fob. Keyless entry is standard equipment on a wide range of vehicles, from economy cars and family SUVs to first-class luxury cars. If the fob is lost or broken, getting in and out of the vehicle can be cumbersome or impossible. Needless to say, there may be other security and useful features of the vehicle that would not work properly without the fob. But don’t worry, this guide goes into the details of getting a replacement and gives you some tips to save you some possible money.

Car Keys: Basic and Brief History

The car key was a simple component of the vehicle, basic security features, a thin piece of metal cut into the correct shape to allow access to the car, and started the engine. As cars became more complex, so did the keys. Advances in technology also mean that key exchange becomes more complex and much more expensive.

Standard keys are mainly found on older cars. You can make a copy at a key store, hardware store, or car lock shop. If you lose your key and don’t have a spare key, a mobile locksmith can come to you and create a replacement key onsite. Laser-cut keys are still simple metal objects, but the technology and equipment needed to create them means it’s much harder to copy them. The 1990 Lexus LS400 was the first vehicle to adapt this technology to car keys.

The next phase of the key, the transponder key, has become the most basic found in new vehicles. The transponder key has a small chip that tells the car that the correct key exists as well as a copy. If you have a basic key as a spare of this type, you can unlock the vehicle, but you may not be able to start it. The first car to use a transponder key on the US market was the Chevrolet Corvette, which dates back to 1985.

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