Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Lost ignition key

I have lost the one and only ignition key for my 1997 Chevy Lumina. I’ve found online sources for very affordable keys, but I need the VAT-which you get from a key! I have tried locksmiths too - upwards of $120 for a key for a car that cost me $400 seems ludicrous, no? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Go to the dealer with the vin number, if the key doesn’t have a chip on it, it will only cost about $7.

If your VATS is still in working condition, you have little choice but to bite the bullet on this one. There are something like 17 different resistor values for that “chip” that’s in your key, and you are going to have to pay somebody to figure out which one your car uses, and possibly have to replace the ignition lock. $120 is not bad for that much work. The only other alternative is to try the dealer and see if they can look up which resistor value your car uses or even if you can get an original key made for your car based on the VIN. Odds are, you will hear “your car’s too old. Sorry, can’t help you”, but it’s worth a shot.

It has VATS. The key is chipped. That is why it is expensive. That, and without a chipped key the system recognizes, the system needs a special security scan tool to be able to determine the correct chip and allow the car to start. The locksmith probably has one, as does the dealer. Since the system is integrated with the ECM, you’re pretty much stuck with the options you already have.

Isn;t the key for a '97 just a plain key? If so, do as Keith has said.

The fact that you only paid $400 for the car isn’t relevant to anything. I’m not trying to be flippant, just noting that the price you paid for the car doesn’t have anything to do with what the car needs now to be operational.

$120 is a reasonable price to pay for someone with the proper equipment and knowledge to access your system and make you 2 new correct keys.

The VATS system on your car is easily disabled if you have a working key to measure, other than that I don’t know of any work-arounds available that would be cheaper than making new keys.

Well that key has that vats system and if it does not have that then i wont kick the engin over and a 120 is not bad for a key. I own a bug and the replacement keys for that are 300 a key so the best bet is to spend that 120 to get the key.

Go to any GM dealer with the title or registration in your name. My local dealer also requires a letter i type up with my address and signature for their file, and they copy my CDL. They can get in big trouble if they do one for a non-owner/car thief. IF the ignition switch has not been changed, which is a possibility on a '97, the dealer can cut you a chipped key from the VIN. My wholesale cost is $22. My favorite Buick-Cadillac dealer has done several for me for Chevies and Pontiacs as well. GM’s records go back to at least the early '90s. Ford’s records only go back 10 years, but they can do it too.

Shoot, I didn’t realize that the original post was dated Nov 28. She’s probably bitten the bullet by now. Theoneguy must be new here, trying to resurrect Lazarus or something.