How to Get a Replacement Car Key Easily

The dreaded moment has arrived: you can’t find your car keys. You’ve looked in the key bowl and emptied your clothes pockets. You’ve even resorted to rummaging through the bin and checking the freezer, but they’re nowhere to be found.

You’re not alone in this situation. One in six drivers lose their keys or have them stolen, so needing a replacement car key is quite common. While it can be a stressful experience, there are effective solutions to help you get back on the road quickly.

In this guide, we explain how to get a replacement car key. We’ll also cover the costs involved and provide tips to help you keep track of your keys in the future.

Why Is a Replacement Car Key Necessary?

Replacement car keys are not a nice-to-have, but a necessity. Here’s why:

  • Avoid Being Stranded: If you lose your only car key, you can find yourself stranded without access to your vehicle. This can be particularly stressful if you are far from home or in an emergency.
  • Save Time and Money: Without a spare key, you might need to call an emergency locksmith, which can be both time-consuming and expensive. Having a replacement key readily available prevents these urgent and often costly situations.

Common Scenarios Where a Replacement Key is Needed

There are many situations where you might need a replacement car key, including:

Lost Keys

It’s easy to misplace your car keys during a busy day. You might leave them at a friend’s house, accidentally drop them in a public place, or simply forget where you put them. When this happens, getting a replacement key is essential.

Stolen Keys

Having your keys stolen can be a frightening experience. It not only means you can’t access your car, but it also poses a security risk. In this case, replacing your key and potentially changing your car locks is necessary.

Car Sharing

When sharing a car with family members or friends, it’s convenient for each driver to have their own key. This avoids the hassle of constantly passing the key around and ensures everyone has access when needed.

Broken Keys

Car keys can wear out or break over time. The key might snap in the lock or ignition, or the buttons on a remote key might stop working. When your key is broken, replacing it quickly is important to keep using your vehicle without interruption.

Locked Key in Car

Accidentally locking your key inside the car is a common mishap. In this situation, having a spare key or knowing how to get a car key replacement can save you from being locked out for long.

Checking if a Spare Key is Available

Before getting a replacement key, check if you have a spare key available. Most new vehicles come with two car keys when purchased. If you bought your car used, the previous owner might have included a spare key as well.

How Do I get a Replacement Car Key?

Whether your car key has been lost, stolen, or locked in the car, you need to have it replaced if you don’t have a spare. Here are the top two ways to get a replacement car key:

Use an Auto Locksmith

Auto locksmiths are trained professionals who use specialised equipment to cut and program new keys. They can clone an existing key or create a new one from scratch by accessing your car’s key code. This process is usually quick and can be done on-site, providing immediate access to your vehicle.

Contact Your Dealership

Another option is to contact your car dealership for a replacement key. Dealerships can provide you with a key that is specifically programmed for your vehicle. They typically require proof of ownership and the vehicle identification number (VIN) to create a new key.

The Advantages of Using an Auto Locksmith

There are two major benefits to choosing an auto locksmith for your car key replacement, including:

  • Money Savings: Auto locksmiths offer a cost-effective way to get your replacement car key. Their pricing is often more competitive than dealerships, allowing you to get a high-quality replacement key without the hefty price tag.
  • Time Savings: An auto locksmith is also a convenient choice. They provide on-site services, meaning they can come to your location and create a new key quickly. This immediate service helps you get back on the road faster, without the long wait times often experienced at dealerships.

The Costs of Replacing a Car Key

There are various factors that impact the cost of replacement car keys. Firstly, it depends on whether you choose an auto locksmith or dealership to create the replacement key. Dealerships tend to be more expensive and may take longer than using an auto locksmith.

The other major factors include your vehicle and its model. For example, the car key prices for a Mercedes E-Class 2014-2020 can be £360, whereas a Ford Fiesta 2009-2016 can cost £125. Whether you need a remote or manual key will also impact the costs. To illustrate, an Audi Q7 2005-2013 model can cost £145 for a manual key and £250 for a remote key.

Tips to Avoid Losing Your Car Keys

Once you have replaced your car key, follow our strategies to keep it safe and accessible:

Best Practices for Key Management

Here are some tips to help you manage your car keys effectively and avoid the hassle of losing them.

  • Have a Key Spot: Designate a specific spot in your home where you always place your keys. This could be a key bowl, hook, or drawer near your entrance. Having a consistent place to store your keys makes them easier to find.
  • Use a Keychain: Attach your car keys to a keychain to make them more noticeable and harder to misplace. This also reduces the risk of your keys slipping out of your pocket unnoticed.
  • Carry Keys Securely: Ensure your keys are securely stored while you’re out and about to prevent your keys from getting lost. Use a zippered pocket, a secure bag, or a lanyard to keep them safe. Avoid loose storage to

Using Key Tracking Technology

Key tracking technology, such as Bluetooth trackers, can be very helpful. You can attach a small tracker to your keyring and use your smartphone to locate your keys if they go missing. This technology can save you from the stress and cost of replacing lost keys.

Creating Backup Plans for Key Loss

If you have only one key, consider investing in a spare key. Having a spare key provides peace of mind and ensures you won’t be stranded if you lose your primary key. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to avoid the inconvenience of being locked out of your car.

Once you have a spare key, store it in a safe and accessible place, such as at home or with a trusted family member or friend. Make sure someone you trust knows where the spare key is, so they can help you if you ever lose your primary key.


What is the cost to replace a car key?

The cost of replacing a car key depends on the replacement service provider, car model, and key type. On average, you might pay between £125 and £300, but this can go up to £500 or more.

Can I get a replacement car key without the original?

Yes, you can get a replacement car key without the original. An auto locksmith can create a new key using your car’s key code or by programming a new key to match your vehicle’s system.

Where can I find an auto locksmith for car key replacement?

You can find auto locksmiths through online searches, local directories, or recommendations from friends and family. Many auto locksmiths offer mobile services and can come to your location to help.

What should I do if I lost my car keys?

If you lose your car keys, first check for any available spares. If none are found, contact an auto locksmith. They can provide a replacement key quickly and help you gain access to your vehicle.