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What to Do if I Lost My Car Keys and Don’t Have a Spare?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

what to do if i lost my car keys and don't have a spare

What to do if I lost my car keys and don’t have a spare? Well, no one wants to be in this stressful situation. But if you do, worry no more because we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on the steps to take to solve this problem.

We’ll be addressing the various types of car keys, replacement options, and associated costs.

Steps to Take After Losing Your Car Keys


1. Determining the types of car keys

The first thing you should do is to find lost car keys, but that would again be a challenge; you have no spare key and do not know where to look. 

So, to solve the issue, identify the type of car key you’ve misplaced based on features such as buttons, transponder chips, or keyless entry capabilities that indicate if you need to replace a car key of a specific kind.

  • Traditional Car Key


This type of car key is inserted into the key cylinder of the car. 

If you’ve lost a traditional car key, getting a replacement car key involves contacting a reliable locksmith. They’ll need specific information about your vehicle, like its model, model, and year.

  • Key Fob or Remote Key


“I lost my key fob” is a common refrain among car owners. This type of key resembles the traditional one, yet features a keyfob for remote control.

In such a case, you have a few options. You can contact your car dealership to inquire about replacement services. Alternatively, consult a professional locksmith specializing in key fob programming and replacement.

  • Push-to-Start Keyless Entry


This type of car key is on new car models, as it’s small and convenient for keyless maneuvering.

Losing a push-to-start key can be more challenging, as these keys often require reprogramming or replacement by a car dealership or authorized service center.

Contact your vehicle’s manufacturer or local dealership for guidance on obtaining a new key.

2. The Car Key Replacement Process

Once you’ve identified the key type, you can proceed with the car key replacement process. You might even wonder, “Can I make a copy of my car key?” Here are your options:

1. Dealership replacement

For missing car keys, visiting your car dealership is a reliable choice, particularly for newer vehicles with push to start features. 


  • Dealerships have the most up-to-date equipment and technology to replace your car key.
  • They can provide you with a warranty for their work.
  • Dealerships have a higher replacement cost
  • You may have to wait longer for an appointment.

2. Locksmith services

Professional locksmiths can replace a lost car key of various types, often on the spot. They’re usually less expensive than dealerships, making them a cost-effective alternative when you’ve lost your car key with no spare.


  • Provide a new key on the spot
  • Versatile and professional, thus quick to resolve the issue
  • Less expensive than dealerships
  • Locksmiths may need to have the most up-to-date equipment and technology.
  • They may be unable to provide you with a warranty for their work.

3. Online services

You can even get a replacement car key by VIN number online. Some platforms offer this service but ensure their credibility and reliability before proceeding.


  • Usually the least expensive option
  • You can order a new key from the comfort of your own home.
  • You may have to wait longer for your new key to arrive

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Car Keys

The cost of replacing car keys can vary depending on several factors. Here are some key points to consider:


1. Comparing costs

It’s essential to compare the costs associated with different replacement services. It’s worth exploring your options to find the best deal.

Service Type Price Range
Dealership Replacement $50 – $400
Locksmith Services $50 – $400
Online Services $10 – $300

2. Factors affecting price

The cost can depend on various factors, such as the type of key, the complexity of the replacement process, and the geographical location.

Factor Description
Make and model of your car Each car manufacturer uses different types of car keys and security measures, which can affect the cost of replacements.
Type of key The type of key you need (e.g. basic key, transponder key, key fob) can also affect the cost.
Location The cost of replacing car keys can vary depending on your location.
Where you choose to purchase your new keys The cost can vary depending on whether you choose to purchase your new keys from a dealership, locksmith, or online service.

Tips to Lower the Price


  1. If you’ve lost your car key with no spare, and your car is a decade or older, there’s a silver lining. Older cars are often compatible with aftermarket key fobs, which are significantly cheaper than the original ones, providing a cost-effective solution to replace your lost key.
  2. Even if your ride is fresh off the line, there are still savings to be made. Countless online outlets offer affordable replacement keys for modern cars.
  3. Order a replacement key online – remember, they’re cheaper. Once you’ve got it in hand, call a locksmith or dealer for cutting and programming services.

Tips on Avoiding Losing Car Keys


To prevent future incidents of lost car keys, consider implementing these simple yet effective measures:

  • Duplicate Key Strategy

Duplicate your car key and store it in a designated location or with a trusted person to provide a backup in case of loss.

  • Key Binding and Visibility Enhancement

Connect your keys to a frequently used item like a purse or wallet, and consider enhancing visibility with glow-in-the-dark stickers for easy location.

  • Tech-Savvy Key Tracking

Attach a Bluetooth locator to your keys, allowing easy tracking through your smartphone, even if they fall into the wrong hands.

  • Preventative Measures for Key Safety

Regularly check your pockets and bags for holes and opt for zippered compartments to secure your keys and decrease the chance of theft.

Frequently Asked Questions


Are lost car keys covered by insurance?

While misplacing, your keys don’t typically ring the insurance bell, a theft surely does.

If you have full insurance, you’re probably covered in these situations. This insurance usually pays for replacing or making new copies of your stolen keys and locks.

So, check into your policy’s details – the answer to potential savings might be a page-turn away!

Can you make a spare key from a VIN number?

Even without an original key, there’s hope. Thanks to the magical world of VIN numbers and the wonders of modern technology, making a spare key is as simple as one-two-three.

Your car’s VIN can guide a locksmith in crafting a new key just for you.

Plus, in this tech-driven era, replacing a car key using your VIN isn’t just a locksmith’s game – you can do it online, too!

When to replace the car key battery?

You should replace the AA or AAA batteries in your car key after a year or two to make sure that your car key always functions well.  


Losing your car keys without a spare can be inconvenient and worrisome, but there are viable solutions available. You can swiftly resolve this situation by understanding the type of key you have lost and exploring various replacement options.

So, to answer the question, “what to do if i lost my car keys and don’t have a spare?”, remember to compare costs, consider reputable locksmiths, and take preventive measures to avoid future incidents of lost car keys.

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