It happens to everyone – lost keys to the car. You have searched everywhere, but they are not to be found. Where can you get a replacement key for your Buick? Whether you misplaced them or the dog wandered off with his latest prize to bury in the backyard, losing car keys can be either a minor aggravation or a full-blown crisis. You need to find a way to get your car started because a car with no key will not help you at all. The last thing you want to do is to call your boss and explain that you won’t be in because you cannot find your key ring. Or what about being stranded at a local gas station because you remember starting the car, running in to grab something, and leaving your Buick key fob inside the house? Now you have driven for hours, and you cannot restart the car because it keeps flashing “no key detected” – what should you do?
How do you replace your Buick keys?
Replacing a key on a Buick means employing the services of a locksmith or a dealer. Either one can cut a new key or program a fob if you have a push button start. Be aware that no dealer or locksmith will do anything for you if you do not have your current registration to prove you own the vehicle.
Ever since Ford introduced the keyless entry fob in 1980, things have become much more complicated when seeking a replacement transponder key for your car. Now, there are all kinds of different fobs with tiny radio transmitters inside that have to be synced with your car’s computer system.
Are there some things you should know before seeking help? Can you drive a car without programming a fob? Is the Buick car key replacement part of the manufacturer’s warranty? What is the best way to get a Buick replacement key, and how much will it cost? There are just so many questions, and you need answers!
This article explores your options when the key is gone, and the car won’t start. We have explored the Internet to see if we can’t find the answers to help you get back on the road.
What are the Options for Getting a Replacement Key?
There are two options for motorists seeking to get back on the road with a replacement key. You can go to the dealership and visit their service department and see if they have time to squeeze you in. Be mindful that most service departments are highly busy, and since you didn’t have an appointment, you may have to wait a bit for them to squeeze you in.
Be patient. (Remember that you wouldn’t want a technician to get pulled off your car repair to programming someone else’s car, so neither does the guy sitting next to you in the waiting room).
Another alternative is to call a locksmith. Most of the time, mobile locksmiths can come directly to your location. They tend to charge for the convenience of having someone come to your rescue, but they can still be less than a dealer. For an examination of finding a replacement key for a GMC vehicle, see fourwheeltrends.com.
What Types of Keys Does Buick Make for its Models?
You will need to identify which type of key you have for your car. There are different types of keys and key fobs that owners have to start their Buicks. Let’s explore each one.
If you are driving an older Buick manufactured before keyless entry, you have a basic key and no fob. This is the most straightforward key to replace through the dealer or a local locksmith. Simply call a mobile locksmith, or make a trip to the dealer with your registration in hand to prove you are the current owner, and they will be happy to help you.
Basic Key with Separate Fob
The most common keyless entry fob has three or four simple buttons that lock, unlock, and sound the horn (panic button) or pop the truck lid. (some of these basic fobs may have a panic button).
You do not need to program the fob to drive the car. The dealer or locksmith can cut a separate key that will fit into the ignition and turn the tumbler to start the car.
So, you can save some money, (because it costs to reprogram a key – even one as simple as a lock and unlock fob).
The dealer will charge you for the key cut and even sell you the blank fob should you wish to purchase it and bring it later to be synced to your car.
Switchblade Key in the Remote
Some Buick models have a self-contained fob (remote) that also hides a key. These kinds of fobs were all the rage in the early 2000s. The key folds out of the fob with a button, and then there is the lock, unlock, and rear trunk buttons. These remotes must be programmed, but the key can be cut based on your car’s VIN and unique key code. (You do not need the fob to be programmed to drive the car). Your dealer will want to sell you the fob, but the reality is that you don’t need it. A locksmith service can cut you a key (it might look different), but that key will lock and unlock the car and start the engine. (You just have to get used to putting your key into the outside lock to secure it at night or get into it in the morning).
Push Button Start Remote
One fine day, some engineer decided that a simple key to start a car wasn’t nearly as good as being able to push a button.
So, they designed a fob (remote) that would register the moment it entered the car and allow the driver to push a button to start the engine. (I might be old-fashioned, but give me a key to stick in an ignition any day).
Buick and other car companies forgot to tell you that if you start the vehicle by pushing a button and then race inside, leaving it running, and then come back to race off, the car will drive without the fob in the vehicle. The car will go as far as the gas tank allows, or the car is shut off. (This scenario happens more often than you think). Of course, without the fob, your push-button start will just be worthless, and you will be calling a tow truck.
These remotes are tricky because they are packed with different functions, from remote start to power liftgates. Even with a key hidden inside the fob, that key will not start the car. It will unlock the door, but not the ignition. The engineers will tell you to stick the remote in special housing in the center console or glove compartment – but if you don’t have the remote, you are out of luck.
What Do I Need to Show I Own the Car?
No dealership or automotive locksmith is going to cut a key for just anyone. Before any work gets done, the person cutting your replacement key will make you prove that you are the rightful owner of the vehicle.
They will ask to see your current registration and a driver’s license that proves that you are the person on the registration. Imagine what might happen if someone could walk up to a parts counter, claim to be the car owner, and get a key made. Chances are a lot more cars would be stolen.
Don’t think you can just show these folks an insurance card with your name on it. That card proves that you insured the car, not that you own it. And a title will not work, either. A title proves that you might have been the owner once but might not be current.
(Although some dealerships will allow you to bring the title – you should always call ahead of time and ask, so you know exactly what to bring). I know it’s a hassle, but if we have to jump through a couple of hoops to get a tag (proof of insurance, etc.), getting a replacement key shouldn’t be easy.
What does it Cost to Get a Replacement Key Made?
A basic key or key and separate fob will cost around $20 to $200. Most dealerships charge an hour of service labor to reprogram and sync the fob to your car. A locksmith will charge you about the same depending on when you call them.
The push-button remote is much more expensive as a part (the radio transmitter is more advanced), and you still have to pay the technician to program it to your car. The cost varies depending on the model, but you should expect a few hundred dollars to get the job done correctly.
Please note that if you have a locksmith program, a push-button fob for your car, and you still have a working remote at the house, the original remote may no longer function.
The dealership may not be able to wipe it clean and reprogram it, so be careful you do not end up paying for two remotes. (If this situation is the case, you are much better off having someone bring you the working remote from the house and then going to a dealership.
Isn’t Key Replacement Part of My Warranty?
There are no provisions in the manufacturer’s comprehensive warranty for a key replacement. The dealership may have sold you a separate policy that includes key replacement. If you feel like you paid for something like that, search your paperwork, and call the warranty company’s toll-free number.
What Should I Do if I am Stranded?
The answer is to call OnStar (if your Buick cars are equipped with it) and see if they will send you a tow truck out. Be mindful that most towing services will only allow one rider to accompany the driver, so if you are like a couple who got stranded some hundred miles from home and couldn’t ride in the tow vehicle, you need to call a friend to come and get you.
When you call the roadside assistance folks, they will want to verify your car’s VIN and that you are the rightful owner.
Once they are sure you are who you say you are, they will send out a tow truck and tow your vehicle to the nearest dealership.
Will a Locksmith Come to My Location?
Yes, they will. A mobile locksmith is an excellent option if you are in a public area or at home without any other way of getting to the dealership.
A note here is that sometimes keys get locked in the car. Suppose you can see the fob inside the locked car (yes, it is possible to lock a push button remote inside the car). Then all you will need is for the locksmith to get you into the car so that you can retrieve your keys.