Expensive keys, Saab and what others?

We heard from other posts that it cost $2000 to get a new key (plus computers) if you lose the only one.

Any other models/brands like this? So I know what brands to avoid when I buy a new car!

I have a feeling that most cars would be in the same ballpark. Just make sure you never lose all of your keys. Have an extra made and put it in a safe deposit box with your important papers, if you are in the habit of losing keys on a regular basis. (No, I’m not being a wise guy!)

Answered in a similar post.

GENERALLY, you can get car serviced faster, even after hours, and without towing…

Call your professional locksmith.

Not all locksmiths do all makes and models 24/7, but you will often get the NO BS service… not cheap, but often more convenient and a bit less than dealer, and without towing it in, and renting a car for 4 days.

If you still have a remaining key on this specific 2000 or 2001 Saab, we charge 100.00 to make a working replacement, without the remote.

2002 and up will require the OEM key, at this time.

Aftermarket transponder keys are ALWAYS being introduced and improved for more model coverage.

Each make and model will not have the same parts or protocols, so do not assume that a Ford Focus will cost as much to replace keys as a Lexus.

Locksmiths are the way to go.

Skip buying keys online. Buying, having them cut and programmed will almost ALWAYS cost more at the dealer or on-line.

Back to the SAAB. If all keys are gone, the job is more expensive, but not 2000.00.

The T.W.I.C.E. module which is the interface for security and other functions can be supplied and programmed to match the ECU by locksmith, and new keys programmed in. The old one will be sent in as a CORE for reflashing.

It will not be 100 buckaroos, but you might recoup a percentage of the bill on your auto insurance, under the “Roadside Assistance” coverage.

IF you want the remote, we order one wholesale, and program into car.

Not all locksmiths do this make and model, so if your locksmith does NOT, he/she should have a go-to guy to refer you to.

Currently, most makes and models of cars do NOT require such a complicated replacement issue.

We cut keys and program, even on all keys lost on the following:

Lexus ( cracked remote head 3 button keys can be RENEWED, saving hundreds)
Toyota ( cracked remote head 3 button keys can be RENEWED, saving hundreds)


  1. There are a few brands that CAN be serviced, but I feel the process is best for car lots, and not for car OWNERS…

C. Mini

The procedure on these requires all new keys. Existing keys can NOT be retained at this time.

  1. TOYOTA / Lexus

These have an immobilizer system that when all keys lost, USED to require a new computer. This was overcome a numbero of years ago, and dealers as well as service books will erroneously indicate a new computer is needed. TOY/LEX immobilizer systems can be reset via the obd port by your locksmith, on all the models using the 32Bit computer. This is roughly 65% of the product output. The remaining 35% require removing the ECU, and connecting a chip reflash device to RESET the chip.

There is no need at all to buy a NEW computer, if the old one is workign correctly, other than having no keys.

  1. CHRYSLER, DODGE JEEP. A new “cloneable” key is being released in the next few months, that allows for making an electronic copy of the original key, without requiring programming through the cars computer.

Cloneable keys are faster n easier, but not necessarily as good as individually programmed in keys.

SOME cloneable keys introduced in last 2 years have a battery in them. Should the battery or the contacts fail, the key stops working. These are branded as ILCO, HYKO, JMA or Bianchi. Some were recently recalled.

Any cloneable key with a T2 or T5 after the part number, is non-volatile, and should perform very well.

These can be used as a cloen of another key, or have original data written to them, so they can be programmed in as a unique original key.

If you have such a T2 or T5 key, rest assured, you should be fine.

If you have a HONDA that requires a RED key to program:
A. Do not use the RED key as a key to drive with, it is only for programming
B. If you LOSE the RED key, the regular key CAN be cloned, eliminating the need for RED key. this will save you HUNDREDS.
C. if you lose RED key, and ALL user keys, a module will need to be reset or replaced, and new keys programmed in.

Some Scooters and Motorcycles have the RED KEY system, inclising Ducati. The black keys can be CLONED, saving you HUNDREDS.

BEFORE losing keys, get your KEY CODE NUMBER and when applicable, the PIN number for scan tool programming. Some cars have a valuable pin, some remains for life of car. Because most mfr will not supply key code, you will save money when you call a locksmith, with all the info to make the job faster and easier.

City Lock
2898 30th St
Boulder CO 80301


I can suggest that one look in the phone book under locksmith.
Look for one that mentions handling transponder or chip keys.

Their charges will be pricey but will look closer to cheap than the dealer prices mentioned here.

If there are more detailed questions let me know and I will research and get back to you.

Buzz - near the Golden Gate Bridge and 30 year vendor to the automotive locksmith

thanks, lots of good info.

I thought all these remote keys had a battery in them, you say “SOME cloneable keys introduced in last 2 years have a battery in them”

A lost key for our Subaru that was chipped cost a total of $100. $50 for key and then an additional $50 in labor as they had to hook it car to computer to program. They stated no need for the existing key except to move the car into the shop. They cut the key based on the VIN and used a computer to redo the new key.

A single replacement key on a Saab if you have the other at least in my brother’s 2003 Saab 95 Aero was $250 replaced. It has an integrated FOB. He purchased the car niavely with only one key and learned how expensive an additional key could get.

Great info from the locksmiths. Thanks, guys!

But remember, Bill was asking about the scenario of having no keys at all, so info about duplicating an existing key isn’t what he was asking. But clearly, the $2000 figure is highly suspicious.

Well, I’m not a locksmith, but I’m going to slightly disagree with a pro anyway.

I got a key and a fob, both new, on eBay, for $25 total. Reprogrammed everything myself. A hardware store cut the key I bought for a dollar or two.

On SOME cars (mine’s an Escape), it’s cheaper to go on-line.

It was even easier and cheaper with my Maxima.

Note that my sample space is pretty small. I’d say he’s 100% correct on SAABs, but this story will vary depending on the car.

For my Chevy Aveo, I got a quote of $140 for a keyless entry key with an immobilizer. I think that includes programming, too. I only have one key for this car and plan on getting a second key as soon as possible.

I think that replacing the complete computer system for a lost key is total overkill and I would have gotten a second opinion. If they really had to do that, then it’s extremely poor design because everyone loses or breaks a key now and then.

with no key to start? seems very low security! or did you have a key (or 2)?

I had two keys, which is a really important point. Had I only had one key, I would have needed a trip to the dealer (or, I assume, a locksmith).

But the fact that I already had two keys is exactly why I made another set.

That’s why I make a blanket recommendation, when you get home from the dealer with your two sets of keys, immediately put together a third set. Eventually, you’ll be glad you did.

Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.

(You’re welcome.)

There is a service advertising on the internet, (I found it on Ebay).
That will reprogram the existing TWICE computers for about $600, and will provide two keys.
But you need to send the computer from your car to them for this to happen.