Key Fob Programming Keyless Entry Systems
If you ever wondered how to program a key fob, just know that for security reasons, automakers don’t allow drivers to program them on their own for newer vehicles. You’ll have to visit a dealership, though some specialist car service centers and repair shops and locksmiths will have the electronics necessary to do this for you.
When you need to, find a car dealership or auto service and repair center to help you program your key fob.
A reputable dealer or shop will make you show proof of registration or ownership, too, so make sure you have your paperwork in order.
Typically, dealers charge an extra fee to program a fob to a car. We called several Toyota and BMW dealers across the country to get an idea of what key fob replacement and programming costs. The Toyota key fob replacement ranged in price. The range varied from a low of about $150 to sell and program a 2016 Corolla to as much as $450 for a 2019 Avalon.
The BMW dealers were more consistent. Dealers charge between $400 and $650 for a new BMW key fob that is programmed to your car. The Display Key fob included in some higher-end BMWs can cost closer to $1,000, however. Display key fobs can be recharged in the car and act like a touchscreen when within range so the driver can access information about such things as fuel levels, power up the car and roll down the windows.
All of the dealers we surveyed said they will not program a key fob unless car owners purchase them from their parts department. Several cautioned against aftermarket parts given they may not meet an automaker’s internal quality standards.
One more catch: Most dealers require the car to be present. If you’ve lost all of the keys, that means you’ll have to have the car towed to the dealer. This can cost several hundred dollars, though members of motor clubs such as AAA may qualify for substantially reduced towing for shorter distances.