With close to 20 million cars registered in Australia, the Aussies are incredibly car-dependent. It is therefore easy to panic when you can't find your car key, even after retracing your last steps. In some cases, your key can break off in the ignition and interfere with your daily activities.
Replacement car keys can get expensive, depending on the type of car key you have. It is generally cheaper to hire a locksmith than to contact a car dealership as there will be additional costs to tow your car to the dealer.
Which Car Key Do You Have?
If you have misplaced your car key, the first step is to determine the kind of key your car requires. Traditionally, cars were fitted with simple keys that were easy and cheap to replace, and a locksmith may make a duplicate key on the spot if your car is old.
If your car was manufactured in the late 90s, it likely has a transponder key which features a programmed chip. A well-equipped locksmith will replace a transponder key, although there may be dealer restrictions in some cases. Some newer car models use key fobs, which may or may not be paired with a transponder key.
What Information Will the Locksmith Need?
A locksmith will need a few car details to replace your key. You can provide the key identification number if you have your manual, although it may not be necessary. The car registration or insurance card will typically have your car's make, model, and year.
The locksmith may also need the VIN, which is typically stamped on the driver's side doorpost or dashboard. If the registration documents are inside the car, the locksmith will examine your car door lock to identify the kind of replacement key needed.
Can a Locksmith Replace Broken Car Keys?
A locksmith can replace most broken car keys using the broken pieces. If the transponder chip is broken, however, the locksmith will need to reprogram the key using the transponder signal.
If you break the key in the lock, the first step is the extraction, which takes less than 30 minutes. It is best to contact a locksmith to avoid damaging the car lock. Some drivers use foreign objects to try and get the key pieces out, and you may incur more costs in repair work.
Locksmith vs. Dealership
An experienced locksmith will replace car keys on most car models, both old and new. They can help you avoid the costs and downtime of towing your car to the dealership. Most locksmiths will also come where you are, and you will have your car back on the road in no time.
To learn more, contact a locksmith today.