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There are always options, trust me on this.
originally posted by: Domo1
This is entirely my fault, but I still can't believe dealers get away with charging what they do for a freaking key.
So I went full dumbass and hopped in the lake with my truck key in my back pocket. I didn't have a spare (decided to save some money and traded in the car I bought new for a truck of the same year). I should have made a freaking spare, but I never lose keys and didn't want to pay the exorbitant price, on account of being a dumbass.
As you all are probably aware, newer vehicles (mine is pretty freaking new) have a chip, and you have to have the thing (and probably the vehicle) programmed for it to start the car. Fine, good idea. Makes it a lot harder to steal.
Went to hop in truck after floating and cooking my glorious white ass in the sun, searched frantically through all our stuff, no dice. I had ONE option. Get the truck towed. Called AAA (that I luckily just got) and the first tow company cancelled when they realized I didn't have a key. Can't put the thing in neutral or steer if you don't have the key. Luckily the next company AAA got ahold of had a competent guy that was able to disengage the transmission cable, pop it in neutral and haul her massive super crew butt onto a flatbed.
Dealers were all closed, didn't have a key for a drop box, so I had it towed home.
Call dealer the next day and find out I need to have the truck at the dealership to get her programmed along with the keys. Oh, fun fact, you have to buy two apparently if you don't have the original. Now that may be a lie they told me, but since I was going to get two made anyway I let it slide. Oh another lovely thing that happened, the dealer closest to me had a broken key machine.
Already used two of my three tows from AAA this year, so I figured I'd save the last in case I get stuck even further. Kind of a gamble. Called around, and the cheapest tow I could get was about $110 just for the hookup since I didn't have a key, and they needed to use dollies on the back since you couldn't unlock the steering wheel.
Get truck to dealership. It cost $400 freaking bucks to get two keys made and took them 1.5 hours and I had an appointment.
The keys are $160 a pop. They're the kind with the buttons on the key head. I can't imagine the keys cost more than $10 to manufacture. Give the dealer a 100% markup for the key and cutting it, I don't even care. I wouldn't balk at $50 a key, but $160 PLUS an hours labor for plugging my truck into a computer and cutting them? That's nonsense. Now, you can apparently get these keys cheaper and have a locksmith cut/program them, but that means no vehicle for a few days during shipping, and I'm not sure my truck could actually be programmed outside a dealership.
How is there not an easier/cheaper way to deal with this problem? I give you my VIN, prove I own the truck (I had to anyway), computer in the truck recognizes the new key you made. I avoid having it towed and wasting my time and money, I am a happy customer.
I don't mind the dealer making some money. I DO mind being forced to pay an exorbitant amount for something so simple, having no workaround and basically staying beholden to the dealer for something I OWN OUTRIGHT.
I got lucky, I know a lot of the newer keys are WAY moreexpensive. Again, I don't mind paying a markup for parts and to a certain extent labor. Gotta pay for the machine cutting the keys, even if it only takes a minute or two, that machine costs a pretty penny.
Anyway, if you have a chip key, go get some spares made before you get stranded like a dumbass and end up paying to have your stuff towed.
One thing that made me hate the dealership less, free loaner car and free coffeeshop. That was a nice touch. Good dealership really, bad idea on the keys and price gouging.
originally posted by: burdman30ott6
a reply to: Domo1
This is too late to help you now, but to avoid this in the future, take one of the transponder keys you just had made and go to ACE to have a plain key cut. Now crack open your steering column, and put one of the plain keys into the ignition. Find the sweet spot for the transponder key, sliding it around the steering column near the ignition while turning the plain key. When the plain key starts your rig, you've found the appropriate place to hot glue the transponder key to the column, replace the column cover and you now have extremely easily bypassed the transponder lockout and will never have the issue again.
Or, if you prefer, spend about $100 and never worry about this for any vehicle again...
Transponder key blanks
Take the key blank to any hardware store that cuts keys, get it cut for your vehicle, hook up the programmer to the ODBII port on your rig and program the new key.