Join Date: May 2009
Location: Little River, SC
Vehicle: 2007 SLK350 BLK/BLK
Other Toys: 2016 GLA250
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Have you ever hear what people are paying for replacement keys for other brands of cars. The old days of getting a key at a hardware store for a few dollars are long gone. Grandson just got a VW key here in the USA and paid $200 for it. Many others have talked about new keys are in the multi hundred price range. There are chips that are needed to start the car and the flop does many remote things such as locks and possible windows are all now build into the key flop. They are smart keys.
A smart key's main form of security is its ability to use rolling security codes. The system randomizes the correct code and prevents thieves from hacking it through the use of a device called a code grabber. The vehicle's computer recognizes the code emitted by the smart key and verifies it before starting the engine. Mercedes-Benz was one of the first automakers to utilize this technology, and even coined the term "SmartKey." Every vehicle in its lineup now uses the SmartKey. And only dealers can replace them.
"The German brands use proprietary technology," says Mike Howell, owner of Santa Monica Lock & Safe Co. "We're not able to copy those."
With a smart key, there's no avoiding the dealership for a replacement. And while it's handy to carry smart keys in your purse or pocket, these are the very places you will feel the pain when you lose them. The cost of replacing and reprogramming a smart key can range from $220 on a Nissan Altima up to $400 on an Acura RL.
Finally, if you are someone who is tempting fate by only having one set of keys, consider this: If you lose all the keys to your car, you will need to get it towed to a dealership and it can potentially cost you close to $1,000 to replace the locks on your car
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