You won’t believe the cost of a spare car key…

by , Cars Online Writer Transport & Travel 10 August 2011
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How much does it cost to replace your car key? Let’s just say that for a modern car, you’re not looking in the tens of pounds. Have you ever had to buy a replacement car key, and did you feel ripped off?

Car and car keys

A few weeks ago, I went to get some spare house keys cut. It cost me £14.50 for two cylinder keys and a mortice key.

Although I was expecting to pay a little less, on reflection, I felt that was a pretty fair deal – after all, security is worth paying for, right?

However, I’m glad I didn’t need to buy a spare key for my car.

The expense of car keys

Of the hundreds of Which? members who contact us every month, one query caught my eye. The member described the cost of getting a new car key as ‘exorbitant’ – and suggested we investigate.

I quickly got on the phone to some of the car dealers in my area. I asked them to quote the cost of a year-old version of their most popular medium or large car.

The average price of a key from Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Ford, Vauxhall and Hyundai? £174!

Every single manufacturer I’ve spoken to so far charges well over £100 for a replacement key. Ford was the cheapest at £130 (admittedly this isn’t for the latest Focus), while Audi and Mercedes both asked for a whacking £228.

Are car keys a rip-off?

I have to say, I certainly like the convenience of remote central locking. But the latest must-have feature (one which is being promoted by Ford in the current Fiesta adverts) is “keyless entry”. This requires even more sophisticated chips and transponders inside the key – ultimately pushing the price up.

I rang another Ford dealer and found that a keyless fob for a new Fiesta (the UK’s biggest-selling car) costs £193, while a normal key is ‘just’ £135.

Car keys perform what is, in essence, a very simple job. They let you into your car and start it. Do they really need to be quite so complicated – and expensive? Or do you think the convenience of a remote locking or keyless system is worth the extra cost?

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Alan

You say how much outlay for cost of business etc and how long lo recoup the outlay, I had a business and I never ripped off the customers like this.
Now imagine you brought a a large fast food franchise ,the outlay is in the 100s of thousand, do they charge you £10 for fries-£15for a coke and £30 for a burger?

They have staff and overheads and running costs
The con starts at the top and runs down like a pyramid sales scam, although locksmiths are not that bad as main dealers.
In this country we just talk but no action- lets look to France if we want our voices heard.

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stu

You will find most auto locksmiths do not rip anyone off! If you don’t know what a locksmith get there items at at trade price then you shouldn’t comment really!
Has said before example Renault key car for auto locksmith at trade between £60-80
programming it into the vehcle around £15 reason being autolocksmiths programming machine costs betwwen £2000-8000 and some use tokens around £15 a vehicle.
cutting of the emergency blade £10 . auto locksmith key cutting machine to code3 cost anything from £2500-£6000.
Picks to enter vehicle and decode £80
Van fuel cost average £10 per job
van insurance ££
wear and tear of vehicle£££
liability insurance £150-400
auto locksmith wage
Now tell me how a auto locksmith rips customers off with that outlay?

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stu

And for costs of fries ect you would normally get 50 plus customers a day, an auto locksmith may only get 1 job a day, its not a 9-5 job!

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Alan

Very quick to defend charges and costs which every business face what makes your such business different?
Forget it my post will not make a difference so you carry on…. Happy 2014 matey

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