How to replay your vehicle’s remote control

Look in your pocket, purse, purse, or garbage drawer and there’s a good chance you’ll find a key ring. The basics lock and unlock your car doors. The fanciest do much more.

Whichever type you own, replacing it costs a lot more than cutting out an old-fashioned set of keys. Consumer Reports reveals some simple tips for saving money if you need a new keychain.

Depending on your age – or the age of your car – you might not even remember life before key chains. These now common devices offer many conveniences.

But maybe you’ve experienced the downside: The cost of replacing the latest key chains can run up to $ 400 depending on the brand. Then add an additional $ 20 to $ 130 to program it to work with your car. This could add up to $ 500 in some cases!

Before you shell out money for a replacement, check your warranty, auto insurance, or roadside assistance coverage to see if they cover the cost of replacing lost or damaged keys.

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If your car is less than five years old, chances are you will need to drive straight to a dealership that has the expensive equipment to program a new key fob.

However, if you have a slightly older car, Consumer Reports says you can probably save money by purchasing an aftermarket keychain. Search online for key chains based on the make and model of your car. CR has found a number of options on Amazon, Walmart, and online auto parts stores for $ 200 less than dealerships.

Most less advanced remotes can be laser cut and programmed by your local mechanic or locksmith, but if you’re up for the challenge, programming yourself can be a fun project.

You will find all the instructions in the owner’s manual. Just be aware that most customer programmable key fobs will require two current working keys in order to program the new one.

RELATED: How to replace your key ring | Your keychain may have hidden features

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If you end up needing a new key fob at a dealership, the good news is that the process is pretty quick, usually only taking 15 to 30 minutes. For added convenience, a mobile locksmith can replace many key chains, program and cut keys right in your driveway.

And did you know that your keychain is hiding a secret? There is usually a mechanical key hidden inside the key fob for cars with push button start systems, so you can always unlock your door whether the car battery or your key fob battery is running out of juice. Some cars have an obvious key slot on or behind the door handle. On others, a plastic cap hides the key slot below.

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