How to Make a Key by Vin Number

Updated March 23, 2017

Most automobiles are sold with multiple sets of keys. It is possible to misplace all the keys for your car. If you do lose all your car's keys, it is often possible to take the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to a dealer for a replacement key. A locksmith can be expensive and should be your option of last resort. If you present the VIN and proof of ownership to a dealer, they can get a replacement key from the manufacturer.

Locate the VIN and note it. An auto's VIN is usually stamped on a metal plate near the driver's side of the dashboard. The VIN can also be found inside the engine compartment, stamped on the engine or on a metal tag attached to the engine.

Take the VIN along with personal photo identification and proof of ownership to a dealer for that particular model of vehicle.

Present your proof of ownership to the dealer. A registration or title in your name, indicating the VIN, is the best proof of ownership.

Wait while the dealer contacts the manufacturer and has a duplicate key made. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.


With newer vehicles, there is often a code for your key noted in the vehicle's invoice or in the owner's manual. A code can simplify the process, as you may be able to bypass proof of ownership requirements.


With older vehicles, the dealer may not be able to deliver a replacement key with just the VIN. Remove the door panel and search for a code stamped directly on the lock mechanism.

Things You'll Need

  • Photo identification
  • Proof of vehicle ownership
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About the Author

Jefe Nubarron has been writing technical articles since 1995. He has been published in technical magazines and on popular websites. He has a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and is working on additional coursework towards a master's degree.