It has happened to all of us, misplaced car keys. You have looked everywhere, but now you have to face facts. What will it take to replace the key to your Kia

For whatever reason, the fact is that your keys are nowhere to be found. Depending on the situation, not having a key can be a minor annoyance to a full-blown crisis. Whether you are stranded on the side of the road because your Kia key fob isn’t in the car, or you just need to replace a key that your dog has buried in his secret hiding spot, how do you go about getting another key? The last thing you want to do is call a locksmith out and pay to have them reprogram a key that will just have to be redone by the dealership later. What does it cost to get a replacement key for your Kia?

Replacement Kia Keys 1 Replacement Kia Keys: Cost to Buy and Where To Get Them!

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Where can I get a replacement Kia key? 

Depending on the type of key you have to replace, any locksmith or dealership will help you by cutting a new key or reprograming a fob for push-to-start vehicles. The person cutting the key will likely ask you to have documentation showing that you are the rightful owner before cutting the key. 

It is always a good idea to have two sets of keys, but sometimes when you buy a used car, it only comes with one set. What is the procedure if the dealership won’t spring for a second key? Do you have to have a fob to drive the car? Where’s the best place to secure a second key? What happens if you are stranded without a transponder key? 

This article explores the critical issues for securing a replacement key for your Kia. We have consulted with Kia dealerships and found out the answers to many of the fundamental questions that are asked of service advisors all the time. 

What Kinds of Keys Does Kia Make for its Vehicles?

Depending on the Kia model you own, it could come with one of three key types. Kia has been offering keyless entry for several years, so each one of the cars has a different kind of fob associated with it. 

Basic Car Key and Separate Remote

The Kia Rio, Soul, Forte, and other base models will likely come with a separate key hooked by a ring to a detachable fob. The fob will have the lock, unlock, trunk unlock, and a panic button. Because the key can be separated from the fob, it is possible to have a replacement key cut so that you can drive home. 

The fob can be programmed to the car either at the time of key-cutting or later so that the lock and unlock functions will be synced to your vehicle.

 Any dealership can do this for you. Some locksmiths can perform this service as well. 

Switchblade Key Inside Remote Fob

If you are driving a mid-trim Kia, it may have a switchblade fob with lock, unlock, and panic button, but the difference is that the key is accessed like a switchblade on a knife. Press a small silver button, and the key pops out from the side remote.

The key can be cut using your Vin and a Code, and any locksmith or dealership can perform this task for you. 

Like the basic key and remote mentioned above, the remote can be programmed by a mechanic with access to the Kia database, which shows your key code. 

Push To Start Fob

Most Kia mid-trim or higher models operate with a push-button start capability. The Fob is self-contained with a pull-out laser-cut key for emergencies. The fob must be programmed to each car and be near the ignition. Without reprogramming the new fob to the car, you will not be able to drive the car.

This reprogramming needs to be done by a mechanic, and the best place is to have it performed at the local dealership. You should expect to pay a few hundred dollars for the parts and labor to have a new fob in your pocket.

The standard programming rate for Kia to reprogram a key is one hour of labor. (Basically, around $135 per hour, not counting the part – don’t forget that the laser-cut emergency key might need to be sent away to be fashioned if the dealership cannot cut it themselves).

Replacement Kia Keys 1 1 Replacement Kia Keys: Cost to Buy and Where To Get Them!

This area confounds many owners who think they can just walk into a dealer and request an additional key. The parts guy behind the counter will not even give you the time of day if you have not brought your registration in. A current registration from your state that verifies that you are the owner of the Kia is necessary, along with a driver’s license that proves that you are you. 

Why are dealers and locksmiths so careful about this? Well, one reason is that they do not want to hand a key to any person who should not be allowed access to your vehicle. 

Imagine what might happen if all that a would-be car thief had to do was walk into the dealership, claim to be the car owner, and have the parts guy hand him a key. The number of stolen vehicles would rise exponentially. 

Don’t think that your insurance card will work or that you can just bring a title in because these items, while great to have, do not prove that you are the current owner. An insurance card proves that you have insurance on the car, but anybody can buy insurance. 

A title may show that you once owned the car, but it does not prove that the car is legal at the moment of the critical cutting of the key. No dealership wants to be held liable for giving you a key to a car you cannot legally drive on the road because it does not have a current tag. 

So, here’s the lesson. Just because your mechanic knows you, has done business with you in the past, or even is your best-golfing buddy does not mean he will legally cut you a key just because you ask him to.

Have your current registration and driver’s license out just in case. (it is always a good idea to call the dealership first and ask what documentation they will need to be able to cut a replacement key).  

What Does It Cost for a Replacement Key?

The answer to this question depends on what kind of key and key fob replacement you need. Most of the time, a basic key can be cut for less than a hundred dollars. (A dealership I know charges a $60 cutting fee), but a local hardware store can probably do it for a lot less, as long as you are okay with the key not looking like the one that went missing. 

If you decide to purchase the keyless entry fob and have it synced to your car, the going rate most dealerships pay for that service is one labor hour (even though it takes about 15 minutes to get online, sync your car to the tablet and download the right program to the remote). 

The remote can vary in price, but it is usually around $100, and the program is likely an additional $125-135 for the hour of labor). 

A switchblade key is more expensive, and the parts counter at the dealership may have to order one specifically for your car. 

The parts guy can tell you when the warehouse folks at Kia will get around to shipping it (anywhere from one to 14 days). 

Some dealerships can cut a switchblade key, and almost any locksmith (even the mobile ones can cut a key so that you can at least start your car. Expect to pay more for the cost of a switchblade (the part is around $200 for the part, and an hour of programming will cost you even more). 

A push-to-start fob is a mini-computer, and as such, it will cost you more. Many dealerships charge 350 – 500 dollars for the remote, not counting the hour of additional labor to program the key. ‘If you enjoy the convenience of a push button start with remote start, you should expect to pay big bucks for a replacement fob. 

Just a note here – some car warranties will cover the key replacement cost. Be sure to read the fine print of your policy to be sure.

Can I Use an Old Remote From Another Kia?

No, you can’t. An old Kia remote can have its programming wiped clean, but this does not guarantee that it will work as a replacement key for your car.

Most of the time, the OBD pad that most mechanics and locksmiths use to access the necessary information to make the programming possible will not recognize the old fob. 

Many customers I know, while working at a dealership, bought a cheap remote off of eBay, thinking they could save money over what the dealership was charging. They were very disappointed and often angry to find out that they had wasted their money). 

Don’t Buy a Fob Online No Matter What The Site Says.

Just like you cannot use the fob from your parent’s old Sportage, you should not purchase a fob online and expect it to work. There are lots of sites claiming that the fob is programmable when they know that it isn’t. And once you have plopped down the money for a fob (no matter how little you might have spent), you will be upset when it does not work.

What If I am Stranded and I need a Key Quickly?

Many locksmiths have mobile units that can come right to you and cut a key on site. If it is a basic key and fob or switchblade key, they can cut you something to stick into the ignition and get your car running. If the car is push-button start, it might be up to whether the locksmith can get their hands on a compatible remote and get it programmed. 

Be mindful that if you are away from home and another original key was programmed, the new programming for your replacement key may make the old key unusable.  

Should the locksmith not be able to cut a key for you, then you can always call Kia Roadside Assistance (if your vehicle has less than 60k miles on it and is less than five years old). 

The friendly folks at the Roadside Assistance Call Center will dispatch a tow truck and take your car to the nearest dealership. 

(Be careful because some roadside assistance programs will only tow a certain number of miles – so if your car is stranded in the backwoods, they may not be able to get you to the dealership).

When you call the number listed here, be sure to ask what the distance is that they will tow your car to (the customer service rep should be able to tell you where the nearest dealer service center is located).

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