Spare key – to buy or not to buy?
Getting a spare key is not a problem. The problems begin when you need to get two keys. The price for making a duplicate depends on the model and electronic security features.
Losing the key is a big problem for the vehicle owner. It’s not bad when it’s a spare. On its basis, you can easily order a new blade (double-sided, one-sided or angular) for around £150 (depending on make and model). In the case of keys with an immobilizer (it allows you to start the car when the signal in the key is identical to that in the vehicle transponder), the specialist will additionally read the electronic code from the chip located in the key and upload it to the new one, so that it will unlock the vehicle each time.
The cost of producing a duplicate key with an immobilizer (used in vehicles from the mid-90s) with a fixed code is around £140. For versions with a variable code, the prices start from around £180 and can go up to £300.
What if there is no key at all?
The problem becomes more serious when two or only car keys are lost. The vehicle owner should then notify the police and insurance companies immediately to be able to claim compensation if the vehicle is stolen. It will be easier and cheaper to make a key duplicate if the vehicle does not have an immobilizer. A locksmith can come to the site and cut a new metal blade based on the construction of the lock, which can take up to several hours.
When using an auto locksmith, it is crucial to tell the engineer that the keys were lost or stolen. While programming a new key the engineer will be able to delete the lost keys of the onboard computer, this will prevent the potential thief starting up your car.
You also will have an option of visiting to an authorized vehicle service station with documents confirming the ownership of the car in order to obtain a duplicate based on the VIN number. The entire process may then take up to several weeks, although it is not a rule, and the price for the service will range from £350 upwards.
However, you need to remember that very often an authorised garage or dealership will require you to tow your vehicle to them, which will generate additional costs. This procedure will also be required for most new higher-end vehicles equipped with keyless entry systems, making the duplicate more complicated and more expensive than in older models.
An additional cost will also be an emergency door opening. Some vehicle models may also require the removal of the ignition in order to cut the mainsail, which also increases the costs. There are car models on the market in which it is necessary to replace the entire computer and re-code, which in practice means a bill of several thousand pounds.
Going back to the question of – is it worth to get a spare set of keys? The short answer is yes, it may be an expenditure that you may want to put aside, but in the long run it will save you at least £200.