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Common car key repairs and costs

All types of car key trouble can be frustrating, but understanding what services are available will help you to find the right solution for your needs as quickly as possible. Here are the most common car key services and what you can expect them to cost.

  • Car key repairs

    The average cost of a car key repair from an auto locksmith booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £140.40. If your electronic fob has stopped working, an auto locksmith will be able to repair it by reprogramming the key to your car’s locking system. If your manual car keys are broken, they can cut you a new one and repair any damage to your lock.

    Can include
    • Electronic car fob repair
    • Manual car key repair
  • Car key replacement

    The average cost of a car key replacement booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £161. If you’ve lost your car keys, or they’ve been stolen, you can get a replacement from your dealership or an auto locksmith. They can provide you with new electronic keys and reprogram your lock system to the new key, or they can cut you a brand new manual key that turns in your doors and ignition if needed.

    Can include
    • Electronic key replacements
    • Manual key replacements
  • Car key programming and coding

    The average cost of car key programming booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £143.89.

    Electronic keys are highly convenient and secure, but like anything, they can become damaged and stop working. When your car begins to fail to recognise your key's unique code, it's time to get it reprogrammed. An auto locksmith can diagnose and recode your car keys to help you get back on the road.

    Can include
    • Key card reprogramming
    • Remote fob reprogramming
    • Flip key reprogramming
  • Auto locksmith

    The average cost of an auto locksmith booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £278.16.

    An auto locksmith will be able to visit you at home and diagnose your car key or lock problems. They can perform repairs on the spot and give you replacement car keys if yours are lost. If the problem is with the car locks themselves, an auto locksmith will carry out the fix to give you access to your vehicle again.

    Can include
    • Inspection and diagnosis
    • Car lock repairs
    • Electronic car fob repair
    • Manual car key repair
    • Electronic key replacements
    • Manual key replacements

Common problems with car keys

There are a few things that can go wrong with your car keys, which could lead you to need the help of an auto locksmith or a car technician:

Your car key will not turn or has snapped in the ignition

This is often caused by bent or misshapen metal and requires a new key and the removal of your old key from the ignition.

Your car key battery needs replacing

After a while, your electronic car key fob will run out of battery. You can buy a replacement battery from most garages and swap it yourself, although a mechanic can help if you’re stuck.

Damaged buttons

If the buttons on your electric car key are damaged, you might need a new one. 

Blocked car key signal

If the transponder in your electronic car key has stopped working and the signal is blocked, an auto locksmith will be able to reprogram the key to get it working again.

Damaged remote key

If your electric key (also known as a remote key)  is damaged, you’ll most likely need a new one to be programmed to your car’s lock system.

Worn out key

If your manual car key has become ’worn out,’  this means that the metal has become bent or misshapen. The easiest solution is to get a new key cut.

What types of car keys can be repaired?

Compare electronic and manual keys

Electronic car keys are those that give you access to your doors or can turn on your engine without turning a manual metal key into a lock. They’re programmed to your car’s system. The transponder inside the fob communicates with the internal computer system and tells it when to lock and unlock your vehicle.

Electronic keys can be repaired if they stop responding correctly. An auto locksmith will reprogram the key so that it starts working again.

On the other hand, manual car keys that you have to turn in a door lock or your ignition cannot often be repaired if they’re broken or have snapped. It’s much easier for a professional to recut a new key than to attempt to reshape the mental.

Many cars keys are made up of two parts: an electronic button to unlock your car doors and a metal key to turn on the engine. The part of your key having the problem will determine whether you need a repair or a replacement.

What to do when you’ve lost your car keys

Losing your car keys is incredibly frustrating, and it’s happened to everyone at least once. Knowing the best steps to take in that situation can help to make it much less stressful.

Search thoroughly

It sounds obvious, but don’t go light on looking for your keys, as they can often turn up in places you didn’t think you left them. Consider your recent movements, check hand-in points in places like restaurants and supermarkets, and ask those you’ve been with recently whether they’ve picked them up by accident.

Check your insurance policy

Read your policy documents carefully to figure out whether you’re covered in the event of a lost key. You may be able to claim for the cost of a replacement.

Explore auto locksmith services

It may be easier and cheaper to call a locksmith and get them to program or cut you a replacement if you own your car than contacting the dealership for a spare. If you have contactless/electronic keys, this is a simple and easy thing to do. A professional can reprogramme and a new set of keys to your locking system and stop the old ones from working. If you have a manual key, they’ll also be able to cut you a brand new one.

Call your dealership

If an auto locksmith isn’t an option because of your car’s leasing contract, the other way to get a replacement car key is through your car’s dealership. If you lease your vehicle, you might be bound by your contract to take this route, so be sure to check your policy documents before deciding what to do.

Find garages and auto locksmiths near you

If you require the help of an auto locksmith, you can search for the nearest and highest-rated professionals using our comparison tool. 

Most auto locksmiths are mobile as of course, if you’re having trouble getting inside your car or turning on your engine, it might be difficult to take your car to a garage! That said, most garages will also have a trained auto locksmith who can come and visit you at home.

Car key replacement cost

If you need a new car key, you can expect to pay around £183.06 for a replacement. However, the exact price will depend on the type of key you need. Different types of vehicles have different types of keys, so the make and model of your car will also affect the price you end up paying. Explore average prices for the most popular car makes using our handy cost table below.

Car makeAverage priceGet quotes
Vauxhallfrom £149.54Get quotes
BMWfrom £199.79Get quotes
Audifrom £223.95Get quotes
Citroenfrom £163.91Get quotes
Peugeotfrom £158.21Get quotes
Fordfrom £130.05Get quotes
Volkswagenfrom £188.76Get quotes
Mercedesfrom £202.33Get quotes
Renaultfrom £151.00Get quotes

Frequently asked questions

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