CHOICE membership

Replacement Car Keys - overpriced

newthings

#1

Toyota quotes $570 to replace a Prius C key. I suspect that all modern keys are overpriced to say the least.
What can we do to oppose such blatant overpricing?
Anyone else have encountered this problem?
George


#2

Simply visit a local locksmith as many, if not all, of them provide replacement keys.

Even Mister Minit kiosks are selling them.


#3

They price the key as an auto part, as they do with GPS maps or anything else they sell. As @fred123 indicated, there are myriad alternatives to get keys that are far cheaper.

However there are ‘rubs’. Modern keys have chips; if you can get the chip from an old key making the new one work is straight forward. A case in point is when the plastic surround of a key deteriorates beyond usability; many modern keys cannot be duplicated from the old key and you need the key code from your owner manual, dealer, or manufacturer, PLUS the chip in good working order. We paid $70 for a replacement '97 key where they had to literally hack the chip out of the old plastic to insert in the new key.

Now if you do not have a chip it gets complex as vehicle dependent it could require as little as a new key with a chip, and the vehicle can be ‘trained’ to recognise that chip; but in other cases such as contactless keys it can become a serious reprogramming effort that is reported to be trial-and-error (time consuming) in the worst case, and hence quite costly.


#4

@Fred123 and @TheBBG have made some good comments.

It is easy to find locksmiths which do Toyota replacement keys. I assume the Prius key will be a standard toyota key so one can search/google "replacement toyota keys ".

Scroll through the listing and make a few calls to get quotes. You should find it a lot cheaper than through a Toyota dealership…and may also be quicker.


#5

‘Anecdotally’ of course, I could tell a story of a guy who had 3 keys included with his new second-hand car, only one of which had the required chip. Said key could now be hypothetically found under a dash panel securely cable tied to the rear of the ignition switch where the pickup coil for the chip is and the two keys without chips now magically work fine …

As the age of a car increases, and the value decreases, the cost of replacement keys only seems to rise, meaning they will intersect at some point … a scary thought.

This ‘solution’ is only viable if you still need to insert and turn a key to enter and start the vehicle - on fully keyless it would render the vehicle usable 24x7 … not ideal. It may also have ‘insurance implications’ …


#6

Thank you very much! The key we lost has reappeared but I will note your advice in case we need it in the future.
Warm regards
George


#7

To close, when buying a used vehicle it is good practice to expect receiving two (or more) keys, not just one, as part of the deal. A lost or broken single key can change what seemed like a good deal to a financial hit in the blink of an eye. Insurance may or may not cover a key problem, policy and case specific, regardless of excesses or lack thereof.


#8

Try Suzki and Hyundai,$370-$440,Mister Minut is also expensive…


#9

Thanks. All rip offs as far as I am concerned.
George


#10

Yep - I have done a Celica key through a locksmith for around $100 & recently my Smart Roadster key about $500 or thereabouts by Mercedes by online ordering a shell & blank - cut by mister mint (though they won’t guarantee auto key) & swapped the circuit card myself - about $40 :wink: works fine.


#11

I’m actually in need of a proper key for my preowned Micra as the one it came with was a basic one without electric lock controls. With that in mind do I have to go through Nissan?


#12

If the only electronics is the lock control and you do not have a transponder, those are ubiquitous. Start with any of the kiosks or a generic locksmith service. If your key has a transponder an option would be to buy a new key with the lock control and put your existing transponder chip in it, although you still then only have one functional key.


#13

I wonder what other owners do if they have lost their keys or had them stolen in a breakin. :thinking: Yes, the dumb thieves left the Micra, but took the AMG Mercedes. Lucky eh?

The owner night still have a spare straight key and the car. Somewhere else there is another key with remote, perhaps even with a rego written on the tag. My mum always did this so you could remember the rego.

So if you can’t reliably account for the missing key and remote: :male_detective:t5:‍♀️
Do you also need to pay for a dealer to do a lock and code replacement on the vehicle? Ouch!

Knowing my luck the previous owner would have used the same insurer as me and reported the loss of the keys on the claim! What then if it goes missing from my driveway? :jack_o_lantern:


#14

Just a word of caution.

As a mechanic I knew a customer who purchased a cheap after-market Prius key but found some customisable vehicle features would not work, such as preset a/c controls and even central locking. After speaking with the service advisor the customer decided to buy the genuine Toyota key, the vehicle then worked perfectly as intended.
This scenario is not uncommon.

I agree genuine keys are too expensive but some vehicles these days are quite sophisticated.


#15

Yes I have an elderly cousin who’s car was stolen. They got the car back but not the keys. She was quoted over $1000 and cannot afford to buy new keys so is stuck at home. It’s a terrible expense


#16

Does she have comprehensive insurance as key replacement may be covered by the policy? If she does, get her to check with her insurance company as she would only be up for the excess (which hopefully is less than $1000).


#17

Unfortunately no. She had cancelled her insurance as she could not afford it being on a pension.


#18

Ouch.

Did she try a replacement from a locksmith rather than from a dealer? As outlined above, the costs can be substantially less.


#19

Thanks I will talk to her and see if she has.