When a device is lost or damaged, it creates an expense or risk for drivers.
Today, most new cars come with a key fob that allows the driver to enter the vehicle without sticking a key in the door. Some key fobs even control the ignition of the car. But what happens if this device is lost or damaged?
Replacing the key fob can be expensive. That is why some drivers are tempted to look online for a cheaper option instead of going to a reputable automotive dealership or locksmith. However, experts advise against doing this because the replacement key fob may not work, leaving the driver vulnerable to scammers.
“When the driver buys a key fob after searching by make, model, and year, the key often doesn’t work,” says Max Wilson. “All Honda, Toyota [and other car brands] [key chains] look exactly the same, but their radio frequencies vary.”
The key fob is an electronic lock that controls entry to the car and possibly the ignition without using a physical key. The key fob communicates with the car via radio waves corresponding to the vehicle’s locking mechanism. Most new cars come with two new key fobs, which in many cases have advanced features. It allow you to start the car remotely or roll down all the windows simultaneously.
To do this, the keyfob sends a unique low-frequency signal to a receiver located in the car. By verifying the signal, the receiver allows the driver to use the key fob to unlock the doors, start the engine or perform other functions.
But some makes and models of cars have different versions of these radio frequencies. The radio signals with which the keyfob communicates with the reader located on the door of a 2021 Toyota Tundra, for example, could be different from those of other Toyota Tundra of the same year. In fact, according to Wilson, there are 20 key fob variants for 2015 Honda CRVs.
“Every detail counts when buying a new keychain,” says Sam Wilson, Max’s brother; the two represent the second generation of locksmiths in his family. “Think of it this way: You can’t buy one traditional key that works for all cars. The same goes for key fobs. There are many variables.
Tips for the purchase of the keychain
If your key fob is lost or damaged, keep these tips in mind to save money and keep your car running smoothly.
- Read the user manual. Some manufacturers provide a series of steps to reset a key fob that has stopped working.
- Additional equipment can be quite a lengthy process to replace the key fob. If your car has the specialized equipment, such as a Breathalyzer, replacing the key fob may take several steps. For example, in the case of the Breathalyzer, a court order will have to be presented to the locksmith in Tampa to remove the Breathalyzer before reprogramming the key fob.
- Check the warranty or insurance policy on the car. In some cases, the replacement of the key fob is covered.
How to save on the purchase of the key fob?
Car key fob replacement can be expensive. Each key fob can cost anywhere from $50 to $400, with programming an additional $50 to $100.
Kevin Jones, the electronic security expert, and owner of EZTV Plus in San Francisco, understand the dilemma caused by the high cost of key fobs. A friend of his lost both key fobs a year ago, and he had to pay over $1,000 for replacements.
Before buying a new key fob, please confirm that the replacement is really necessary. The device may just need some maintenance.
“When the key fob doesn’t work, check and replace the batteries with the help of a professional locksmith. Also, check the button alignment to well aware of real cause,” says Jones.
Reprogramming your remote — a step similar to resetting your cell phone — is another option you can try before replacing it.
Don’t forget to find out if your insurance policy or car warranty covers key fob replacement, says Jones. “Find out if you have a warranty or car insurance that covers lost keys.” This coverage could also apply to remote control key fobs.
Because of how expensive it can be to replace the key fob, it is recommended that the vehicle owner keep the existing key fob in good condition. Store the devices in a safe place and do not let them come into contact with water, which can damage them.
Beware of scammers and thieves.
A faulty key fob could expose your car’s computer to the hacking risk and could even fail functions as basic as turning off the engine. There have been cases where thieves intercepted the signal from a key fob left near a front door, breaking into the car and stealing it.
Before you replace or repair your key fob, find out if you’re considering any options other than the dealer. According to Max Wilson, some automotive locksmiths can replace and reprogram fobs, but going to a reputable locksmith is essential.
“Check all of their documents [about their training and certification], talk to the locksmith, and find out what types of work they’ve done. If you check their website and the reviews their customers have left, you can usually see who’s legit and who’s not.” Wilson says.
“If the quoted price is much higher or much lower than that, do a price comparison by calling other places,” he advises. “Fraudulent practices abound in the locksmith industry. I recommend looking for someone who won’t overcharge you or use the scam tactic.
If you’re seeking a car locksmith in Tampa, Florida, for your key fob replacement, count on us. Our experts will replace your key fob without any hassle at an affordable price.