Replacing lost key

My 2000 mercury cougar’s Key is lost. Mercury or the Ford Motor Company no longer support a model this old. Is there some after market key replacement service available that can make me a replacement key if I gave them the VIN number?

You Should Never Get Down To Just One Key, But I Suppose You Know That. Most Cars Make It A Simple Matter To Add A New Key If You’ve Got A Working Key. Having No Key, Not So Much. Try This.

I’ve ordered from these folks, before. They’re helpful and prompt. Give them a call. They’ll help.


Have you talked in depth with the dealer? And a couple competing dealers?? Possibly they might need the vehicle trailered to them; and you have the title or registration (in hand); along with the VIN - before they make the key… If they still state it is not doable - then contact a locksmith; and see if they suggest a working solution (like whom will do it).

Concur w/comment above, the first thing to do is ask a dealer. Even though they don’t service it any more, they may well be able to look up the Key ID number from the VIN, and then you can give the key ID number to a locksmitth who’ll make you a replacement key.

Also look in your owners manual. Or the original paperwork if you have it. Someone may have written down the Key ID number in there when the car was new.

If all else fails, you can replace the ignition switch, which will come with a new key. On some Fords (like my early 70’s Ford truck) this is easy, as you can just replace the cylinder without replacing the switch. It’s a 5 minute job. Ask the dealer’s parts guys if that is possible on your car.

I don’t understand the dealer not being able to help. I bought a 1996 Dodge about a year ago which needed a new key. The old one worked, but it was severely worn down and not good enough to copy, so I just dropped by the dealer for them to look up the proper number for the key and make a new one.

They were careful to assure that I was the true owner, wanted to see my title and personal ID. Twelve bucks later, I had my new key. I didn’t need to show the old key, and I don’t remember being asked to show that I had possession of the car - the paperwork was enough as I recall.

Are you saying Ford won’t do that?

The other problem is the chip. To get the security system to recognize the new chip in the new key, a special scan tool has to be used to put the security system in ‘learn’ mode. With at least one synced key you can set the new one, but without one, you’re at the mercy of a dealer or locksmith with the right equipment able to do it.


Not only Ford

Toyota also gave me the . . . . . . some years back. I had a worn key and requested a new key for a car which was only 10 years old at the time. I had all the correct paperwork in hand, and the car was right there in front of their very eyes.

They were unwilling to help me. Supposedly, my only option was to remove the lock cylinder, bring it to a locksmith and have him help me out.

The dealer was more than willing to sell me brakes, starters, batteries, etc.

For those of you wondering, this car had no chip in the key. It didn’t have ANY kind of alarm or anti-theft system at all.

I think it all depends on the individual dealer. Some aren’t willing to deal with the “little things” and only want to sell big ticket items. Others are more interested in keeping all of their customers satisfied, including the over the counter guys.

Guess I should be glad I like Caravans!

Do you think it varies between dealers, or is it corporate policy?


I suspect some dealers are just more helpful than others.

This may have to do with corporate policy . . .

Any Benz dealer will order you a key based on your VIN number. It could be a 40-year old car. There is a central database somewhere with all the pertinent information. All that’s needed is proof that it’s your vehicle. The car doesn’t even have to be present. I’ve done this several times in the past. As long as the paperwork’s in order and you pay the man, you’ll get your key ordered. This is for electronic and old school keys, by the way.

Some manufacturers are more supportive of their older vehicles than others.

I had a friend with a 12 year old Cadillac. His one and only key broke, losing the security chip. The key teeth were still intact, but the car would not start without the chip. He wound up having to tow it to a dealer to get a new key and get it synced with the computer. Tow and key cost him over $200. He went to a locksmith with the new key, and got a chipped key made for $30, and followed the instructions in the owners manual, using the new key, to sync the copy. Expensive lesson.

My son just had a key made at the Toyota dealer for a 99 Camry, old key was worn. They only required the VIN.

@knfenimore your son apparently went to a helpful Toyota dealer.

Maybe the obstinate dealership has a reason for being reluctant to provide key information. Maybe they did it before, and the person they gave the key to didn’t actually own the car, and trouble ensued.

I’m not saying it is right for a dealership not to help their customer. Just saying is all …


My car was right in front of their eyes
I had the registration in hand
The registration had my name and address on it
I had my driver’s license with me, which listed the same name and address

If they were unwilling to help me under the above circumstances, they have the wrong attitude.

Ford simply doesn’t keep the key code information to make a key from the VIN in their company computers after 10 years. Maybe they figure the cars won’t run that long… I’ve had GM dealers cut keys from the VIN on cars that were 22 years old.

Any good locksmith with the proper computer equipment can make a key for you. While you’re at it, get a spare. Call around for pricing. They vary all over the place. It also depends on whether he/she has to come to you on a moment’s notice, or the car is towed to their location.

Go visit your local hardware store. Expect to pay about $75 for a chipped key. I got one recently for a 2010 Cobalt at a local Ace Hardware.