If you lose your key or it gets badly damaged and will no longer start your car, you might think that you need to go online to the manufacturer or to your dealership to get a replacement key made. But the truth is, a locksmith can do the same job for less in nearly all cases.
One of the things that locksmiths have access to is a database that shows the key patterns for automobiles and many locksmiths can simply make you a key for your car right from their office, as long as you can show that you actually own the car in question.
Of course, the best way to ensure that you always have a key to your car is to have a backup key made before it is lost or damaged, so that you can still drive your car while you are getting the replacement key made. So, how does a locksmith help with an ignition key replacement?
The first thing that you have to understand is that there is a difference between older cars and newer ones. Cars before 1981, for the most part, simply had cut keys that started the key. This is why they are often the targets of car thieves, because a similar key or even a screwdriver can sometimes get these cars started.
But newer cars have what are called transponder keys. These keys are cut to start the key but there is a safety feature that kicks in when the proper key is not being used. That prevents the car from being hotwired or another identical key used to start the car.
In addition to these key types, there are also smart keys that are used to start cars without a traditional ignition system. For example, a push-button start will require a smart key. These are usually key fobs that attach to your keychain and contain the necessary technology inside, but they may also have a tucked away key that you can use to enter your car if the battery goes dead on the key fob device.
When you need an ignition key replaced, you need to have some pretty specific information about your car – stuff that will likely come out the owner’s manual or has to be found online. Also, responsible locksmiths will make sure that you are the actual owner of the car asking for a key to be made and they will probably ask to see your driver’s license as well. This, of course, is to prevent car thieves from going to a locksmith and getting a key made for the car that they want to steal.
In some cases, an entire ignition lock may need to be replaced, and just like a locksmith can swap out the lock on your door for a different one, many locksmiths can work on these ignitions as well. Always check with a locksmith as you are shopping to have a new ignition key made because you might save money.