Losing things is no fun, especially if it results in a big inconvenience. Unfortunately, misplacing your Toyota’s keys could leave you stranded, and possibly allow anyone who finds them access to your vehicle. While the first reaction might be to panic if this happens to you, a better reaction is to keep your head about you and actively manage the situation. You need to think through the lost car keys, what to do about it, and how to move forward.
Have an Extra Set of Keys
Of course, the best situation is to have an extra set of keys. Your extra key might be a valet, which has a grey cover instead of a black one if it’s an original key. This means that the key won’t open the glove box or trunk. The standard offering with most new Toyota models is one regular key, one valet key, and a single fob or remote. You can of course get a second full key, which is a really great idea.
Get a New Key Cut for Older Toyotas
Unfortunately, some people face the problem of lost car keys and absolutely no spare of any kind, so they can’t use the vehicle until they pay for a new key. The simple fact is it can take some time to have a new key made, plus cost a fair amount of money. Getting a key quickly can ratchet up the price significantly, especially at night, on a weekend, or during a major holiday, so if you can hold out there’s a definite reward.
The good news is older Toyotas use keys that you can get from any locksmith or hardware store. Having a new key cut is cheap and a quick process, resulting in only a minor inconvenience.
Replacing Keys for Newer Toyotas
If you have a newer Toyota with a more advanced key, getting a replacement is expensive and more difficult. This is for your protection, because it helps to deter thieves. Of course, the technology a double-edge sword, because it can cause you a few headaches. Key fobs add further to the cost. And if you have proximity keys where the vehicle detects when they get near, the replacement price rises even more.
A dealership, certified service center or locksmith can program a new key fob or proximity key. Of course, the service isn’t free, so be prepared to front a fee, which usually isn’t exactly cheap. Locksmiths are usually open seven days a week, around the clock, making them great options for an emergency, but be prepared to pay extra for that convenience.
Ways to Save on New Toyota Keys
There are some ways to save on the cost of getting a new Toyota key. Multiple websites exist that will allow you to order a key at a fraction of the cost you would pay to go through a dealer. The catch is you’ll have to wait for the key to ship, so if you don’t have a spare, it’s not really the best route to go. If you get a fob or proximity key this way, you still have to go to a dealer, service shop or locksmith to have it programmed, so you won’t save money on that cost. It’s a security measure to have all Toyota owners have their fobs and proximity keys programmed at dealers, certified shops and locksmiths after proving ownership of the vehicle.
Ordering a replacement key online from a source other than Toyota could mean you’re not getting a certified part. As is always the case, the design and build quality of aftermarket components can vary wildly. In other words, you might get a key that works just fine, or you could get one that’s finicky or sometimes works and other times doesn’t. There’s always the possibility that your new key shears or otherwise fails after only a short time. If you’re okay with that risk because of the savings, at least you know what you’re getting into.
Program a New Key Fob
Some people have taken on the task of programming their car’s key fob themselves. Numerous online tutorials exist for just about every modern Toyota model in existence, if you’re up to the task. It cuts out a significant portion of the cost of replacing lost keys. If you can’t get the fob programmed correctly, you can still take it to a dealer, service shop or locksmith to have it done professionally.