Duplicate Car Keys
Can my key be duplicated if I don’t have the key?
If you do not have a working key, then you do not want the car key duplication service. You will need to get a key cut from code, which our locksmiths can do for you. The nature of making duplicate car keys is that a working key is required. Again, this is a service we offer; it is just not considered duplication.
Why won’t my duplicate car keys work?
There are several reasons why your duplicate car keys may not be working. The first is that your car keys are more complex than you thought. They may need a transponder chip to be programmed for the car’s transceiver. The problem might also be with the key that was duplicated. If a duplicate car key has been made using a duplicate, this copy of a copy may be too different to work in the lock. Our auto locksmiths will still be able to get you a working pair of keys, but it will extend to different services.
Is key duplication different than key cutting?
Key duplication is a type of key cutting. Key cutting is a blanket term that encompasses duplication and code cutting. To make duplicate car keys you need a working physical key. The key will need to be cut, and this process will not include the programming of transponder chips or key fobs. Those additional processes can all be completed by an auto locksmith, but they are not included in the process of key duplication.
Can I get my car keys duplicated at the hardware store?
This depends on the type of key you have, and the duplicator that your hardware store has. Most hardware stores will have a standard key cutter, which works for house keys. You can use this to duplicate car keys as long as you have wafer keys. If you have slider keys, then you will need a laser cutter to duplicate your car keys.
Can any car key be duplicated?
The requirement for duplicating a car key is that there must be at least one metal key in the possession of the person who would like a duplicate. If you need a Smart Key made, then you will need our key fob programming service. Duplicate car keys can be made from any key that you have in your possession, as long as it is a physical key.
Will my duplicate car keys start my car?
It depends on the complexity of your key. When a locksmith talks about duplicating a car key, they are talking about using an existing key that has bitting on its key blade, to cut a blank key for the same model of car to have the same bitting. If this key also requires a transponder chip to be programmed, then that will need to be done before the key will start your car. Transponder keys can be programmed by our auto locksmiths, but this is a separate service.
Car Key Duplicator Machines
The machine that is used for the duplication process will determine a lot about the methodology. The main factors that the machine will influence are the steps of the process, the time it takes to complete the duplicate car key, and the precision of the cuts. On your run of the mill key duplicator, the amount of skill required for precise operation is relatively high. That is the rule of thumb for locksmithing. The less automation, the more skill is required. The automated machines still require quite a bit of training and knowledge, but certain steps in the process remove the human from interacting with the key. The type of key you are duplicating will also determine what machine you can use to make duplicate car keys. The two main types of Car Key Duplicators are:
1. Traditional Key Cutters
A traditional key cutter can be used to cut any key that has its bitting on the top and/or bottom of the key blade. If you can make a house key on the key cutter, then it is a traditional key cutter. The machine works by fixing the current key into place. This key can be scanned for its code at this time, and may be removed. If the machine is more manually operated, then the locksmith will place the bank key in the machine in a different slot. The slot for the blank key will line up with a blade, and the working key will be positioned against the alignment tool. The cutting edge of the blade needs to be completely lined up with the leading edge of the alignment tool. From there the alignment of the keys in relation to each other needs to be checked. In order to use this machine to duplicate car keys, you will have to cut both sides of the new key. To do this the key blank key is simply moved so that the other side can be cut. The original key can be left in place, because both sides of the key will have the same bitting pattern.
2. Laser Key Cutters
Keys that need a laser cutter will have their bitting on the side of the key. The most important thing to know about these cutters is that they do not, in any way, use a laser. The cutting tool that these machines use is a small hardened steel router blade. This blade can be used to trace the path on slider keys. These types of keys could not be cut correctly by bringing a blade down because metal needs to remain as a bottom to the carved path. This remainder of metal allows the other side of the key to be cut with the exact same path. If the blade were allowed to go all the way through the metal, then the key would not be able to be inserted two ways. The key would also become much weaker. The automation of the machine will work similarly to the automated traditional key cutter, but it is more likely to be automated than the traditional key cutter. The exact requirements of a slider key have led to the investment of automatic laser cutters on the part of locksmiths. However, these jobs can still be completed by hand. Remember that when you are getting your duplicate car keys made that you need to check to make sure they work. If a manual laser key duplicator is used, this is even more important.
Car Key Duplication
When it comes to duplicate car keys the process is all based on the working key. There are several ways to cut a key, but this is the way that requires a pre-existing key. It is one of the most simple ways in existence to make a spare key. There is no need to retrieve the key code from the vehicle’s documentation, and there is some piece of mind about the ownership of the automobile. The working key is placed on the machine along with the blank key, and the working key is read and copied onto the blank. These stages will depend on the type of machine used (as described above). There is a chance that you may need a different service that is separate from the duplication process. Without a currently functioning car key you will need code cutting. You may also need services on top of a simple car key duplication. If your car requires a transponder chip, then that will have to be acquired and programmed.
Improper Car Key Duplication
The result of improper car key duplication is that your key will not work in your lock. Inexperienced technicians from other companies and hardware stores do not specialize in these services. This allows for small mistakes. In the precise world of locks and security, a small mistake has monumental repercussions. The mistakes that an inexperienced person could make with the key duplicator include improper calibration, improper placement of the key, inconsistent pressure, incorrect key orientation, the wrong choice of key blank, etc. When the duplicator is not set up correctly, the duplicate car keys will not be close enough to work on the locks or ignition. If the wrong decisions are made about the key, then this will create similar issues. There is a bit of a mix between art and science involved in key duplication. Without finesse, you will get inferior keys.
Along with the mistakes that inferior locksmiths and run of the mill hardware store employees, there are issues out of their control. For instance, if you have been making duplicate car keys by using the most recent duplicate, then these keys will stop working. After each copy that is made of a key, there will be something that is lost. Without having a machine cut the key by the original code, the new key will never be the same as the one it is trying to duplicate. Again, duplication is not an exact science. The art of it comes from a lack of attainable perfection. Whenever possible always use the original key for duplication, and in every circumstance check to see how the key works before you begin to rely on it.