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Keys with used cars


My husband and I recently bought a used Z4 3.5. After all the paperwork was completed we were told that there was only 1 smart key for the car and that when buying a used car one should not expect 2 keys. Has anyone else experienced this?

With two working keys, you can usually add more keys your self. If you only have two, you should have a third made and program it in. That way if you lose or break one key, you’ll still have two to be able to add more.

If you only get one key, then a dealer or a locksmith will have to program the second key. They charge for this, and you should add this charge to the price of the used car when deciding if it is a good deal or not.

All comments about “the usual nature” don’t usually apply with BMW, were you offered a way to get a second key when you bought the car? was the cost the issue that made you decide to seek a different way?

The issue is that they did not tell us that there was only 1 key until we were ready to drive the car off the lot. A second key is $350 and if we had known before the papers were signed, we would have asked for a reduction off the agreed price. Now we are stuck having to spend another $350.

I don’t recall the Z4 ever being availible with a 3.5L engine. IIRC the U.S. spec models had the 3.0L I6 or the 3.2L I6 for the M model. Anyway, only getting one key is pretty commonplace in my experience in dealing with used cars. Out of the last 4 used cars I’ve bought, only one had two keys.

Unfoutunately this “trick” is becomming more common. These guys are like prison inmates that have all the time in the world to think up ways to escape or in this case make more money. In the days when a second key was just dollars there was little incentive for this technique, now when they can charge $350.00 this is very attractive. I am not saying there is not a way to get a key cheaper but it seems that if there is a car that is going to fall out of the “norm” in ways to get this done cheaper, it is BMW.

The engine size was not relevant to the discussion so I paid it no attention.

Easy solution:

Go to a BMW dealer, and ask them if the car came with one key or two, and to disable the second key that is programmed in your car.


They can not do that…Dealers like to keep a key so they can repo the car without any drama…

Vehicles come with two keys.
The owner’s manual knows it.
The car’s computer knows it.
THE USED CAR DEALER KNOWS IT but, as has been mentioned, this unscrupulous trick is practiced more and more and will continue until the buying public puts their collective foot down. and demands that cars be sold as properly ( re; the ownwer’s manual ).

Prior to the sale the used car dealer invests in, and calculates sales price based upon the preperation needed for that car. different cars, different pre-sale prep that may include as much as tires, tune-up, and body work as well as the usual detailing.

----- a second key is simplicity itself for these guys yet they continue to CHOOSE to short change the buyers.

In this small town we have all the dealers trained that that is bad p.r. and poor business practice. You’ll see many a repair ticket in my Ford dealer written for just a second key to both the little used dealers and the GM/Dodge dealers alike. And vicaversa, we take all our used non-fords for second keys programming. To make the point and train the dealers we send every customer who mentions the words “they only gave us one key when we bought it” strait back to their dealer to demand their second key,

BMW dealers can not make or program keys – they need to be ordered from BMW USA. Go to your dealer with your registration and ID and they will order one.


Actually they can.
And in this case, where the OP bought the car used, there is no need for ANYONE other than the OP to have a copy of a key that is programmed into the car that can open it, and drive the vehicle away.

I can guarantee that if the OP drove their car to the nearest BMW dealer, and told them that they just recently purchased the car, and the circumstances of what happened to the second key sounded shady to them, and they provided proof of ownership (registration, title, etc), that the dealer would be very happy to delete the second key from the car’s computers (ECM and Body Control Module).

Then, they would be even happier to sell the OP a new key, if not even sell a new set of keys, with different transponder pills, in order to completely eliminate any chance of theft.

It can be done, if asked for.


Another reason the used dealers give you only one key ?

They keep the other one for the repo man !

The fact still remains that the buyer should get their two keys regardless.

With some systems , all keys must be present during the programming procedure for any of them to work. Meaning that if you go out and get a second key programmed up with your first one, the hold back might not work at all. ( with ford this is true. so if dad has an extra key and I program me another one with out his here…his won’t work any more. )

That’s what I thought…“Delete the second key?” Not a chance. If that were the case, they could program the car to accept a dealer master key, which of course all professional car thieves would soon have…

I do remember the process that people had to go through in order to get a key the proper way through BMW but I was not ready to say that there was no chance some enterprising individual had not figured out a way around the Dealer process.