How to Replace a Lost Ignition Key

Written by jennifer eblin
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If you lose your car keys, you’re likely to feel helpless and confused, especially if you don’t have access to a spare set. Ordering a replacement set from a car dealership can be difficult and time consuming. The fastest way to replace a lost ignition key is with the help of a locksmith.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine if your keys are coded or regular ignition keys. If the keys are coded, you’ll need to find a dealer in your area who can create the new key and imprint the code onto it. Starting in the late 1990s these keys were used by car manufacturers to make it harder for thieves to steal cars.

  2. 2

    Contact a locksmith in your area who specialises in auto keys. You may find it harder to find one with experience working on cars, but you should find the information listed in the yellow pages. If you lost your door key, the locksmith can make a replacement for that as well.

  3. 3

    Order a replacement ignition key from a locksmith. It generally takes a few hours for the locksmith to check your ignition against the keys they have in stock and find the right one, as well as cut down and form the right size and shape of key for your car.

  4. 4

    Check the new key by inserting it into the ignition. If the car starts right away, you’re all set. However, if the key doesn’t work, then you’ll need to visit your dealer. This indicates the key requires programming.

  5. 5

    Take your new key to a factory dealer, preferably one who sells your make and model. Tell them you lost your ignition keys and need a replacement. The dealer can cut a new key and have it programmed on-site to work with your car and ignition.

Tips and warnings

  • If your keys use a microchip, you’ll need to have the key reprogrammed for use in your car. Even if it’s the same size and shape, it won’t work properly because of the antitheft system on your car.
  • If you don’t have an extra set of keys and can’t take your car to the dealership, bring along proof of ownership including your title and VIN number. The dealership can’t make a new set of keys unless they know you own the car.

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