A person trying to open a car using a screwdriver

Replacing a car key is a job best left to a professional. Most people don’t have the expertise or relevant know-how to replace or duplicate a car key. Besides that, car locks are very sensitive devices, so if the wrong person tampers with them, you can have a damaged lock on your hands.

However, even though a professional is necessary, you should know about their method to make sure you aren’t being ripped off. There are various ways to assess the reliability of a locksmith, such as their reputation or reviews. Another way is tallying their key-making process with how it’s supposed to be done.

Here’s what the key-making process involves.

Tracing the Key Code

The car key code is a unique key provided by the lock’s manufacturer to determine which keys can open the car. A locksmith uses it to cut the key. The source of the code differs based on the car and manufacturer.

For instance, you can find the key code on the car’s documents, such as the vehicle’s manual or on a key label. A locksmith can produce a new key using a Mercedes-Benz car’s VIN (vehicle identification number). You can also commonly find the key code in glove compartments (usually on a metal plate).

Cutting the Key

An open car

With the key code in hand, the locksmith will cut the metal to make the key. You should keep a lookout for a cutting machine. The locksmith will manually load the metal into the machine. They’ll then input the car’s key code into the machine’s code reader. Once decoded, the machine will cut the key according to your car’s key code.

The process typically requires the locksmith to adjust the key for horizontal and vertical cutting.

Programming the Key

Replacing a smart key requires reprogramming a new key. The key’s fob usually contains a transponder that contacts a car’s immobilizer system. If the right code is exchanged, the car starts. Making a new key involves connecting to your car’s ECU (engine control unit) through the OBD port and reprogramming a key. A professional locksmith is necessary for this process.

If you need to get your car keys replaced or duplicated in Houston, get in touch with us at Car Key 4 Less. We provide car key replacements and duplication for BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and more brands.

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