Subaru key replacement

I needed to have a duplicate key made, at the dealer. He said they are specially ordered and cut (with a laser) at “the Subaru factory” and shipped to the dealer when ordered.

I find this difficult to believe, specially as they didn’t require a deposit before placing this order.

2015 Forester.

Usual dealer BS? comments?

Is it a fob (electronic) key, or just a normal twist to start key?

I don’t see any reason to disbelieve that a key could be cut w/a laser at a special facility and mailed to the dealer. It’s probably less expensive to do it that way than each dealer having a key grinding machine or sending keys out to local locksmiths for cutting. Is there some reason you doubt the laser idea?

The cars are made with laser wielding robots, right?

I have found a locksmith to be cheaper than the dealer with Toyota and Chrysler products. Never bought one for a Subaru though. I know my Toyota Dealer can get the blank and cut it in a day (For all I know he is using a locksmith down the street).

I think it depends on which type of key you have. The common edge cut key they should be able to cut, if you have the high security laser cut key they may not have the machine.

From a bulletin that I read the 2015 Forester has an edge cut key, older Foresters and other models can have a laser cut key. Did they see your key? I see no reason to lie about a key.

I don’t know if yours is one, but some keys have even become downright complicated. I’ve seen keys with the edge not cut totally through as well as keys that have multiple cut edges (beyond two).

You didn’t mention the cost they quoted you. But I’ll bet it’s insane.

Did you have to show them the key code that came on the little metal tag, mine’s safely tucked away along with the other key but i hope I don’t need to order replacements since the blank is $200 at retail although the online parts website through the local dealer sells it for $150.

It seems that even keys can’t be simple (or inexpensive) anymore…sigh…And it seems as if each manufacturer has their own key design, so the ways you can replace are limited. I can’t say whether the dealer is BSing you; it could be that they choose not to have key cutting equipment and expertise right at the dealership. Although I would like them to be a little more transparent about how they do it.

Try calling a local locksmith and get another opinion. I got a replacement key for my Toyota - in that case, the dealer was cheaper than my locksmith. I’m in the process of getting a replacement key for my Honda - in this case, the locksmith was cheaper than the dealer, although the locksmith supplier isn’t particularly reliable; it’s been 3 weeks since he ordered it.
My Toyota key was about $250. The Honda one will be around $110-$120.

I too recommend finding a locksmith who can do this.

In Mass, I’ve been to Lowell Lock & Key many times over the years, including recently for laser cut keys. They’re typically 50% less than what the dealer charges.

Agreed with calling a locksmith first.

I’ve found you can buy the key fob/blanks yourself online significantly cheaper than what the locksmith will sell them for. The locksmith can then program the key/fob for you. Or, it might be simpler to just let the locksmith handle it; your call. But I’d definitely call at least a locksmith or two first. Good luck.

no. They got all they needed from the VIN number, apparently.

It’s a fob, aren’t they all today? It has a normal looking key that you do twist to start. But there are electronics in the fob, which may interact with the starting circuits ??

I did check ebay and you can buy key blanks that look like my key, without the notches of course. But I couldn’t find a nearby locksmith.

Did you try a locksmith? I’d be surprised if a good locksmith can’t make a duplicate for you.

OP, does your key look similar to the one posted by @wolyrobb above? If not, suggest you post a photo of your key.

below from ebay, same key

I’m skeptical that a locksmith would spend the money for a CNC laser cutting tool. Just the equipment isn’t enough, he’d need the program to cut the key right. It may well be that it is done at the Subaru supplier that makes their keys. You might save a little if you can find the vendor, or an on line company that deals directly with the key vendor. Still, security concerns might prevent you from doing this. If I get your VIN and the keys are generally available on line, I can get your key and drive off with your Subie. There has to be some kind of verification that whoever buys the key is the car’s owner.

Lots of local locksmiths around here have the equipment and can do it. Just google it. Here’s some examples of where to look-

Laser-Cut Keys
You can tell a laser-cut key apart from a basic key because the shank is slightly thicker and has fewer carved-out grooves. Laser-cut keys are often referred to as sidewinder keys, due to the distinctive winding cut on the shank. The machines needed to cut these keys are significantly more expensive than a standard key-cutting machine and are not as likely to be found at every locksmith or hardware store.

Laser-cut keys also have built-in transponder chips and they need to be programmed at the dealership or by a locksmith, preferably one who is a member of the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). You can search for a certified locksmith near you by visiting the

Those are edge cut keys, your dealer should be able to cut a replacement. Maybe they didn’t look closely at your old key.

Those aren’t laser cut keys. I would be surprised if there isn’t a local locksmith nearby who could cut you a new key and program it for you too.

A laser isn’t needed to cut that type of key. But it might still be the case that the electronics in the replacement key needs to be programmed to match the car’s expectations. So it might be easier for the dealer to send it off to a Subie facility to have that done, and at the same time they cut the key with a laser, b/c that’s just what they use at that facility. The use of the “laser” is a red herring, it’s the electronics programming I’m guessing that’s the reason to send the key out. It may be that when they’ve tried to program keys themselves they’ve experienced problems. The key programming software may confuse their technicians. And then the customer has to make several trips to get the issue resolved, making the customer cranky. That’s my guess anyway.