What are my options for having a spare key made

I just bought my 2003 Impala from a local dealership. Sadly only one key came with the car and I was wondering given that it is almost now 12 years old, I believe you just can’t go to a local locksmith and get a key made that will work in the ignition. Is my only option going to a chevy dealership and having the key made and if so what kind of costs am I looking at or is there other options in getting this key made.

Does the key have a “chip” in it for a security system?
If so, it is possible that your only recourse is the dealership.

However, more and more locksmiths now have the technology to make almost all duplicate keys–including those with an integral “chip”. I think that if you phone all of the locksmiths listed in your Yellow Pages, there is a good chance that you will find one who can duplicate your key.

Okay I do I find out if my key has that “chip”? I believe it probably does, but would a google search or manual answer that question?


Yes, a web search or the manual would probably answer your question–have you looked? I Googled your car and the site I looked at said your car was not equipped with a transponder key. But I wouldn’t take my word for it–do some searching yourself.

(If your car has a ‘chipped’ key) Most cars will let you program a new key yourself (after you have it cut) if you have TWO keys. If you only have one, your options are to go to the dealership or a locksmith that has a factory-level scan tool that will let them add keys.

When I got my car (a 2006 Chrysler) it only had one key also. I purchased a new keyfob and key combo off ebay. (make sure you get a new one and not a used or it may not be capable of being programmed–also check the seller’s feedback) I found that the dealer was actually a lot cheaper than the locksmiths I called to program this–I think it cost me around $45. Total cost including the key/fob was about $100. Yes, there is some risk in buying from ebay, but this was by far the cheapest route. Also make sure that the dealer will program a key you bring them and not just one they sell you.

If this is a pass key (chip key) it can be identified by a plus sign surrounded by a circle stamped on the key. Most locksmiths can duplicate these nowadays. You can program these yourself. The procedure should be in your owners manual.

On mine the chevy logo is on teh black portion at the top of the key inside the circle.

Our local locksmith is cheaper than the dealer in replacing a chipped key for almost any make,

I got a chipped key at a local Ace Hardware store for a 2010 Chevy Cobalt. It was still very expensive (about $60).

Quoting the OP

"On mine the chevy logo is on the black portion at the top of the key inside the circle."

The circle with the + inside is stamped into the metal, not the black plastic.

Here is a link to the procedure http://mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/1105/how-do-i-program-a-chevy-malibu-key-with-chip-in-it

It’s worked for me a couple of times after I bought the keys from a GM dealer. They were $22, wholesale. Any GM dealer will do. The last one I had to do was on an '03 Buick. It should be the same as your Impala.

Take your vehicle registration to the dealer’s parts counter and ask them for the key number. Write it down, go to a locksmith and ask them to make a new key using the key number. They can make you a brand new key just like the original factory key.
The dealer has to verify that you are the car owner before they will give you the key number.

Most people believe that a dealership is your only option when getting a duplicate for chipped keys or any other “security” type key. This is simply not the case. My brother is a locksmith and has the technology for making these keys for any make and model of vehicle. He even offers a mobile key making service utilizing a laptop computer and a key making machine with blanks. The Chevy dealership claimed that they were the only source for a replacement key for my '08 HHR. When I told my brother this he just laughed and made 2 duplicate keys for me and even had a replacement key fob right out of his van. It only took a few minutes and the keys are perfect right down to the little “+” signs and black plastic Chevy key heads.

Agree with missileman and all the others who advocated going to a locksmith.

Many locksmiths will do any key work a dealer can do. In my experience, locksmiths charge less than half of what dealers charge.

My local hardware store can make chip key duplicates, it is a “Do It Best” franchise store. You simply have to have a “working” key to copy. You are smart to get a spare 2nd key made now. The process is much more complicated and expensive when you have lost that last key - at that point a dealer is your only option.

I understand the chip key duplicating systems that showed up at local hardware stores in recent years operate with a small battery inside. Once that battery dies, so goes your key.

If anyone has any more info on that, please do share.

Even if it has a chip in the key, and even if the new “chipped” key is really expensive, couldn’t you just hide the chipped key in the car somewhere close to the ignition (maybe under the dash) and use a non-chipped cheapo key you get made at Lowes? You could get several keys cut for only a few dollars and still the chip will be close enough to work, wouldn’t it? Just spit-balling here, any thoughts? Rocketman

@rocketman: Yes, you can do that with a certain range of years/cars. These days with push-button starting and “keys” that just have to be in your possession to work, your car would never be locked though.

Well if this were my car I’d go to Lowes or Wal-Mart and have two keys made for $4 and hide the key up under the dash, try it for a week or so (if it is one that will work like this). I’m sure you can lock your doors with the key manually (oh no, no chirp?) and you’ll ALWAYS have your original to get new keys made if you lose one of the replacement ones. I never had to get a replacement “chipped” key for myself but I’ve read (on this forum) stories of expensive replacements. Good luck! Rocketman

My local ACE Hardware now has the technology to duplicate these. If you have one in your area, it’s worth a try.

If this were me, I wouldn’t have bought the car unless the dealership provided the second key.