Losing your keys can be a nightmare, and replacing them can be expensive, time-consuming, and aggravating. While getting a car key replaced is more involved than a standard door key — many auto shops, including Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, O’Reilly, and NAPA make car key copies. You can also get car keys at home improvements stores like Lowe’s and The Home Depot. See below for the details about getting car keys made at each store.
In This Article
- How to Have a Key Made
- Auto Body Shops That Sell Key Blanks
- Hardware Stores That Sell Key Blanks
- Online Options for Getting a Replacement Key
- Getting a Replacement Key Cut and Programmed with a Locksmith
- Other Important Information About Replacing Your Car Keys
How to Have a Key Made
There are a couple steps to this process. First of all, you need to determine what kind of key your car needs. Older cars or more recent base models might have basic keys, which simply need to be cut to fit the ignition and door lock in order to work. Newer cars require chip-embedded keys. These cars have an extra layer of security, because even if the key is cut to fit the lock, it won’t start the car unless the chip is programmed to the vehicle’s specifications. Additionally, very new cars may have entirely electronic keys for both opening the doors and starting the ignition.
Transponder keys are specifically needed to start the car. If you only want a second key that can open the truck and exterior doors, then you can get a basic key without a transponder and have it cut to fit the lock.
Key blanks will only work for designated vehicle years, makes, and models, so you’ll want to be sure that the key blank you purchase will work with your car. In many cases, particularly if you order the key online, you’ll need the VIN for your car. You can typically find the VIN on the driver’s side dashboard (or, if you can’t find it on the car itself, it should be on the top left-hand corner of each page of your car insurance policy).
Many hardware stores and automotive stores sell key blanks, and some can make a copy of an existing key. But if you need a new key and you don’t have an original to copy, you’ll likely need to go to a locksmith to have it cut and, if necessary, programmed. Can a locksmith make a key for a car? Yes. You can buy the key blank from the same locksmith service that will cut and program it, but it may be cheaper to buy the key elsewhere and bring it in. Dealerships will also provide replacement keys for your vehicle, but this will typically be your most expensive option.
Autobody Shops That Sell Key Blanks
It’s important to note that some of these stores may also offer key-cutting services — but remember, in most cases, you don’t just need a key that physically fits in the lock. You also need the transponder in the key programmed to work with your car. The key-cutting and programming services vary widely among different locations of these stores, and there’s little information published online about the costs of doing so.
It may be worth calling into your local store (we’ve provided location finders that can help you find the phone number) and asking if the store is able to cut and program car keys. Of these chains, Napa will definitely cut and program a new key to work with your car, but you’ll need to get in touch with a local store for details beyond that. Read more about Napa and other automotive stores below.
Advance Auto Parts
- Hours: Most stores are open from 7:30 AM — 6 PM with more limited hours on weekends
- Cost: Blank keys typically cost between $20 and $50
- Visit the Advance Auto Parts website to view available key blanks
- Find the nearest Advance Auto Parts
- Hours: Most stores open 7:30 AM — 9 PM
- Cost: Basic ignition keys start at $20 and prices increase for chip-embedded keys
- Visit the AutoZone website to view available key blanks
- Find the nearest AutoZone
- Hours: Most stores open 8 AM — 9 PM (some open until 11 PM)
- Cost: Varies widely by vehicle make and year
- Visit the O’Reilly website to view available key blanks
- Find the nearest O’Reilly
- Hours: Most stores open 7 AM — 7 PM
- Cost: Transponder keys start at $70, with no extra fee to program the new key
- Visit the Napa website to view available key blanks
- Find the nearest NAPA (click on the My Store field in the top right corner)
Hardware and Super Stores That Sell Key Blanks
Like automotive stores, the stores on this list may or may not be able to cut the key (it’s fairly likely that at least some locations of each chain will do this) and program it to work with your car (it’s less likely that many, or any, stores in these chains will do this). We’ve included them because each of these stores definitely sells key blanks, which you can purchase and bring to a locksmith to have cut and programmed. To make things as easy as possible in your key-making endeavor, we recommend giving a quick call to your local store to check if they offer cutting and programming services in addition to selling the key blanks themselves.
The Home Depot
- Hours: Many locations open 6 AM — 9 PM Monday through Saturday with more limited hours on Sunday
- Cost: Transponder keys start at roughly $40; standard mechanical keys are as low as $2.17
- Visit the Home Depot website to view available key blanks
- Find the nearest Home Depot
- Hours: Most stores open 6 AM — 10 PM Monday through Saturday; 8 AM —- 8 PM on Sundays
- Cost: Blank automotive keys start at approximately $40
- Visit the Lowe’s website to view available key blanks
- Find the nearest Lowe’s
- Read more about getting a key made at Target in our article: Walmart’s key making policy
- Read more about getting a key made at Target in our article: Target’s key making policy
Online Options for Getting a Replacement Key
The places in this list allow you to start getting your replacement key made without leaving your house. Pop-A-Lock will connect you with a local locksmith who can physically meet you and bring the necessary supplies to cut and program a key on the spot. iKeyless and KeylessRide simply ask you to submit information about the car that needs the key, and you’ll receive your key in the mail a few days later.
- Hours: Customer service available Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM EST
- Cost: For less than $50 (most keys are around $20), iKeyless provides 2 keys that require programming, which can be done by a dealership, a locksmith, or yourself
- Read more about iKeyless’s key replacement services
- iKeyless does not offer physical locations, but customers can get in touch with the company through the iKeyless contact page
- Hours: Customer service M-F, 8 AM to 6 PM CST
- Cost: Prices start at $20 for the key, and fobs are usually included free of charge (depending on make and model). KeylessRide will provide detailed instructions to program the keys yourself.
- Read more about KeylessRide’s key replacement services
- KeylessRide does not offer physical locations, but customers can get in touch with the company through the KeylessRide contact page
- Hours: Most local Pop-A-Lock locksmiths are 24/7
- Cost: None disclosed online
- Read more about Pop-A-Lock’s key replacement services
- Find the nearest Pop-A-Lock
Getting a Replacement Key Cut and Programmed with a Locksmith
In many cases, calling a local locksmith is your best bet. You can find a nationwide directory of over 10,000 locksmiths here. Below are a few things to keep in mind when replacing your car keys with the help of a locksmith.
- Prices will vary based on the type of key and car.
- Locksmiths have blank keys and sophisticated machinery needed to make, and program, a new key.
- The locksmith can also help you reprogram the replacement key.
- Any time you’re getting a new key made for a vehicle, be sure to bring along any other key fobs associated with that car. The fob might not work until the new key is programmed.
Other Important Information About Replacing Your Car Keys
Depending on the make and model, you might be able to program a cut key yourself. Once you have purchased the key and had it cut to fit the locks, you can most likely find instructions and videos online for programming the transponder. Just run a Google search for “[car make, model] key programming,” and you’ll likely find plenty of tutorials for how to get the transponder working with your car. Doing this process yourself can save quite a bit of money over going to a locksmith or a dealership.
You can find after-market keys and factory replacements online for less than it would cost you to get a new key directly from the manufacturer. You may have success with a reputable dealer on eBay, but it’s best to look for companies that specialize in replacing car keys. If you intend to purchase a key somewhere other than a locksmith or dealership, be careful about where you choose to buy. Secondhand keys will be extremely difficult to cut, and once a transponder is programmed to work with one car, it can’t be reprogrammed to work with yours.
As a general rule, the older the vehicle and simpler the key, the easier it will be to replace.
Now you know where to get a car key made. As inconvenient as losing your car keys can be, all is not lost, and you probably won’t be out too much money if you’re smart in how you replace your keys. Besides having the key cut, you’ll most likely also need the transponder in the key programmed to work properly with your car. There are a variety of places that can help you with part or all of this process, including hardware stores, online options, and local locksmiths. With the information in this post, you’ll be able to get your new car key made as quickly and easily as possible.
For more information on key services, see our article: Keys Made near Me? 26 Places to Get Keys Made (Walmart, Lowe’s, etc).