How Much Does a Locksmith Charge to Program a Key Fob?

If your key fob stopped working or you replaced its battery, you can bring it to a locksmith to program it. How much does a locksmith charge to program a key fob?

A locksmith charges about $50 to $200 to program a key fob. The cost depends on several factors, including the type of key fob, the make and model of the car, the complexity of programming the fob, and the average cost of locksmith services in the area.

Read on to learn more about how much a locksmith charges to program a key fob.

How Much Does a Locksmith Charge to Program a Key Fob?

how much does a locksmith charge to program a key fob

The cost to get a key fob programmed generally ranges between $50 and $200. The cost depends on the type of key fob, the make and model of the car, the complexity of programming the fob, and the average cost of locksmith services in the area.

The actual cost of key fob replacement through a locksmith depends on several factors. These include the following:

  1. Key Fob Type
  2. Car Make and Model
  3. Average Locksmith Service Cost in Your Area

Let’s discuss each one of them:

1. Key Fob Type

There are key fobs that feature a transponder key or keyless ignition. In which case, having it reprogrammed is costly. However, if your key fob is merely used for locking and unlocking car doors, having it reprogrammed is less costly.

Transponder keys feature computer chips that enable the vehicle to start. Unfortunately, if you try to use an old key fob from a different car, this will not sync successfully. This is because of the incompatibility of the fob’s computer chip with the vehicle.

2. Car Make and Model

The features of key fobs depend on how each vehicle manufacturer wants them designed. As far as security is concerned, this is highly advantageous. But in terms of having your key fob replaced or reprogrammed, this entails a high cost.

Therefore, if you want the best features for your car, you should be ready too with the corresponding costs.

3. Average Locksmith Service Cost in Your Area

The cost of locksmith services in your area may be different from other areas. You should also consider the cost of programming key fobs.

For sure, you will find the services costly. But always remember that getting the services of a locksmith is still way cheaper than getting it done at a car dealership.

What Is a Key Fob?

A key fob is also known as a remote fob. While traditional keys don’t have a remote fob, this is common among the latest car models.

With the new car models, the remote fob is attached to the car key. That way, you can lock or unlock your car doors from a distance. It can do the same thing for the trunk or the back hatch. Obviously, it brings convenience to the driver and the passengers, especially when they are in a hurry, such as during rainy days.

There are also car models that don’t require any keys at all. You only need a remote fob not only to lock or unlock doors. Impressively, it can turn on your ignition too at a gentle press of a button.

While all the key fob features bring convenience, it becomes extremely inconvenient to lose or damage it. If it gets damaged, gets lost, or has a drained battery, you will need to seek assistance from a professional.

A key fob replacement has to be reprogrammed. That way, it will be in sync with the features of your car. There are two alternatives for having your key fob replaced. It’s either you seek assistance from an authorized car dealership, or you seek help from an automotive locksmith.

You need to ask yourself what will help you decide whether you will seek assistance from a car dealership or a locksmith. Ask yourself, how much money are you willing to spend to have your key fob replaced?

For sure, you want to pay less. The only way you can do this is to visit an automotive locksmith instead of a car dealership. Locksmiths offer much lower rates than dealerships.

When Do You Need to Get a Key Fob Programmed?

charge to program a key fob

Key fob programming is necessary in the following situations:

  1. Key Fob Is Lost
  2. Broken Key Fob
  3. Key Fob Battery Is Dead

Let’s briefly talk about each of these situations:

1. Key Fob Is Lost

In case of a lost key fob, you can buy a generic key fob and have it programmed by a locksmith. It is best to get a new one from locksmiths. They know which is the ideal key fob for your car.

Also, if you have an existing key fob from a different car, you can use this too. Just bring it to a locksmith to have it reprogrammed. The locksmith will also tell you if that key fob fits the features of your vehicle.

2. Broken Key Fob

If your key fob malfunctions or stops working, it apparently needs reprogramming. Key fobs get damaged if they often drop on the ground or submerged in water, among other reasons.

They can be repaired and reprogrammed if there’s only mild damage. But there are instances when key fobs need replacement already.

Key fobs don’t get damaged easily. They’re built to be sturdy and durable enough to last for years. So, it is always best to take good care of it.

3. Key Fob Battery Is Dead

If your key fob stops functioning, it can be because of its dead battery. Unfortunately, replacing the battery alone might not be enough.

Your key fob can have lost its memory due to its dead battery. In which case, you do not only need to replace the battery. You also need to have it reprogrammed.

Cost to Purchase and Program Various Types of Key Fobs

cost to program a key fob
Transponder Key Fob

Here are the different types of car keys:

  1. Basic Key Fob
  2. Transponder Key Fob
  3. Laser Cut Key Fob
  4. Switchblade Key Fob
  5. Keyless Entry Remote / Smart Key Fob

Let’s discuss each one of them and their corresponding costs.

1. Basic Key Fob

A basic key has a security chip feature. Its functions are limited to locking doors, unlocking doors, and controlling the alarm system. A locksmith will charge about $50 to $100 to program a basic key fob.

Actual costs depend on the car model and make. Also, even if it only has basic features, it still needs to be programmed.

2. Transponder Key Fob

The transponder chip is located inside the key fob or the head of the car key. It sends a signal directly to the ignition, indicating their compatibility. So that when you insert and turn the key, the car engine will start. If you try to insert a different key, the car engine will fail to start.

Transponder keys have all the features of the basic key and more. However, since there are added features, the chips used for the basic keys are different from the chips installed in transponder keys.

You can’t replace the key fob alone for the transponder keys and attach the old key. Instead, the key itself and the fob come together. This apparently makes it more costly than basic keys.

To replace this at a dealership, the key will cost you about $160, while the fob will cost roughly $75. However, if you get the services of a locksmith, the cost will most likely be $20 to $30 lower.

3. Laser Cut Key Fob

The laser-cut key’s shank is thicker compared to the basic key. Also, the features of the laser cut key are more sophisticated.

Similar to a transponder key, the laser cut key features a built-in transponder. This needs to be programmed too.

To replace a laser-cut key at a car dealership, the cost can range between $150 and $250. This includes replacement and reprogramming of the entire key. You can spend a little lower than this if you opt to get the services of an automotive locksmith.

4. Switchblade Key Fob

With the switchblade, the key can be folded into the fob when it is not in use. There’s a specific button to press on the fob if you need to use the key. It will automatically make the key pop out once again.

The usual issue with the switchblade key is that it eventually gets worn. This is because you have to keep the key in the fob and let it out again several times a day. In fact, you will most likely find yourself doing this more than 4 times daily. This is especially true if you have several errands to finish in one day. Doing so will result in worn-out and broken hinges.

You can have the shank of the switchblade key replaced for roughly $60 to $80 at an authorized dealership. But if you need to replace both the key and the fob, the entire cost will range between $200 and $300. Of course, it will be cheaper if you get the services of a locksmith.

5. Keyless Entry Remote or Smart Key Fob

The keyless entry remote is also known as the smart key. You can basically keep it inside your pocket or your bag. As long as it is near the car, you will lock and unlock the car doors.

At the same time, you can start the car by merely pressing the start button as long as the smart key is inside the car. It doesn’t matter whether it is in your pocket, your bag, or the glove compartment. As long as it is inside the car, your car will function as expected.

The keyless entry remote doesn’t only feature a code. It features random codes each time you use it. This makes your car secure from any form of car theft.

Since you can always keep it in your pocket or bag, there’s not much of a reason for it to get damaged. But if it does, it, unfortunately, comes with a hefty price. In fact, this is the most costly of all types of car keys.

The cost of having a smart key replaced and reprogrammed ranges between $200 and $500. But this is the cost if you get the services of a car dealership. So the services of an automotive locksmith will definitely be less costly.

Key Parts That Need Replacement

The common key parts that need replacement if you damaged or lost your keys are the following:

  1. Internal wiring systems
  2. Key casing or shell
  3. Batteries

These parts do not have a standard design. It all depends on the car make and model.

Conclusion – Cost to Program a Key Fob at a Locksmith

A locksmith will charge between $50 and $200 to program a key fob. The charge will depend on several factors, including the type of key fob, the make and model of the car, the complexity of programming the fob, and the average cost of locksmith services in the area.

Getting the services of a locksmith will most likely save you both time and money. In fact, most locksmiths will even offer to visit your place to check your keys and your car. They will also finish the job as soon as possible. They do all these because they are competing for business.

You have the option to get the services of an automotive dealership. But you have to anticipate that the cost will definitely be higher. At the same time, you might not be able to get the replacement key right away.