Car keys are an essential part of your vehicle and there are a few different types of them depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Car keys will allow you to get into your vehicle, start your vehicle, and lock your vehicle when you are done using it.

Transponder Key

Most vehicles built after 1995 have a transponder chip placed in their car key. Once the key is placed into the ignition, the engine control unit (ECU) will send a message to the key and allow the car to start if it receives the right message back. If the ECU does not receive the right message, the vehicle will not turn on.

Cost of Replacing a Key

Losing your keys is difficult and it can be expensive, depending on what type of vehicle you have. If you lost your key along with your key fob, the replacement cost can start at $200. It needs to be done at a dealership because of the special equipment needed to replace the key. A Lexus vehicle quoted $374 for a new key fob, which includes programming, and a BMW replacement key can cost as much as $500.

Locking Keys in Trunk

Locking your keys in the trunk can be frustrating, but it happens more often than you think. With just the slip of a hand the keys fall as you are unloading groceries. To fix this problem, the dealer can make an inexpensive key that will open the doors but not start the engine. This way, you will be able to open the trunk and get the original set of keys. Be sure to bring identification and proof you own the vehicle to the dealership to make the process go faster.

Replacing a Key

There are a few ways to replace the keys to your vehicle. The first is to visit a local auto locksmith as they have sophisticated machinery. A search online for an aftermarket electronic car key may provide you with another option when replacing your key. The third option is to get a set of keys from your dealer. The last option is the fastest and most reliable.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 4 Essential Things to Know About the Keys to Your Car and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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