‘I lost my car keys. Will it be easy to get a replacement?’ [Newbie Guide]

Updated Jun 08, 2021 | Same topic: Beginner's Guide

Losing access to your car can come with a steep price.

Despite our best efforts and intentions, some things we hold dear are bound to escape our grasp and be forever lost. All we’ll be left with are memories of happier days, while we rue our carelessness and wonder if we could have done better.

Car keys

Few things can be stressful to misplace or lose than car keys

Yes, this applies to a car key as well. It’s that single most important piece of hardware that puts you in a car’s good graces, allowing you to find out just how far you can go. Without it, your prized possession becomes cold and silent, both unable and unwilling to move an inch with you anywhere.

Something as small yet vital as a car key can easily go missing over things like absent-mindedness or an emergency. When it does, the stress can be overwhelming, especially if you lose it on a day when the car is parked in a public place.

Car thief

You might be forced to do this to your very own car (and attract unwanted attention in the process)

Older cars used a basic physical key for both entry and ignition, eventually supplanted by keys with built-in transponders. Newer models already come with more sophisticated means of access, and these often work without having to bring out the actual key from your bag or pocket.

Brand-new cars typically come with two sets of keys when they roll out of the dealership, a redundancy that anticipates the owner losing one of them within the car’s lifetime. If it’s a basic key that was lost, it’s as simple as paying a key maker or locksmith Php 150 to duplicate the spare. Alternately, the manufacturer may also have records of your car’s specifications, including the keys, and they can provide you with a copy for a fee of Php 600.     

Subaru car keys

    Carmakers typically provide duplicate keys with every new car purchase       

Transponder keys are a little trickier to reproduce, apart from being more expensive (between Php 6,000 and Php 12,000). Some of them come with the key already integrated into the fob, while others are separate units. If it’s the latter, having them replaced will entail separate charges for the key and fob, especially since the copy will need to be programmed to the particular vehicle’s alarm system.

Smart fob with physical key

Smart key fobs often include a physical key as backup 

Smart keys are among the most difficult and costly to replace. They come with a physical key that’s only used for manually locking and unlocking the doors in an emergency. Everything else, including starting the car, is handled by the key fob’s electronics which are uniquely coded to the vehicle. This can only be replaced by the manufacturer, and programming the copy is even more expensive (upwards of Php 20,000) since it uses rolling codes for security.  

The best way to avoid spending more than necessary on your car keys? Always keep them secure, whether on your person or in a bag.   

Find more tips for beginner car owners at Philkotse.com.

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo


Joseph holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and has been writing professionally since 1999. He has written episodes for CNN Philippines' motoring show Drive, and has worked on corporate projects for MG Philippines and Pilipinas Shell. Aside from being Philkotse.com’s Content Lead, he also writes content for numerous car dealerships in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, among others.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kapatilya

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