We’ve all lost our keys at some point. If you haven’t asked your spouse where your keys are at least once, then you’re probably not really married.
But that’s usually a situation where the keys have been mislaid, not lost altogether.
When you own a Mercedes and come to the point where you realize you’ve lost your key for good, you’ll need to come up with a replacement.
How much does it cost to replace a Mercedes key and where can I get one?
It costs between $200 and $500 dollars to replace a Mercedes key, depending on your particular model, and whether you want a transponder, smart, or Chrome replacement key made. You can get them at any Mercedes dealer, but you’ll need to prove that you actually own the Mercedes before they’ll make you a key.
It will cost you some money, and it won’t be a complete hassle-free undertaking, but it’s doable. Here’s what you need to know.
The Kind of Key You’re Replacing
If you drove a Mercedes during the 20th century, you may remember a time when keys were just pieces of metal that fit into the ignition and mechanically activated it.
Today, though, new cars come with keys that contain transponders, keys built with electronics to send signals to unlock doors, keys that start the vehicle when you’re yards away from it.
These newer keys cost more cash than those older metal ones, and they’ll need to be programmed since the electronics connect to a specific vehicle.
You’ll have no real problem identifying what kind of key you need to replace.
- A transponder key contains an RFID chip coded to your car. The car won’t start without the transponder even if the key fits and turns the ignition. You can’t replace your lost transponder key with a generic blank key with no transponder. If there’s a black plastic casing around the head of the key, the chances are that it contains a transponder.
- A smart key has a transponder and a transmitter. Its plastic buttons allow a driver to lock, unlock, and start the car remotely. In addition to the RFID chip, the smart key transmits signals to your vehicle. That means it will need to be programmed to your car so they’ll be able to communicate.
- Chrome keys represent Mercedes-Benz’s newest incarnation of keys, even though some don’t actually contain a metal key you insert into an ignition. The chrome keys allow for remote start and locking/unlocking and provide a push-button start for your car. Again, these features require that a replacement key be programmed for your car.
Replacing Your Key
There is not a bargain-basement store selling Mercedes replacement keys.
If you’ve lost your key, you have but one option for replacement: visiting your local Mercedes dealer.
Hopefully, you’ve got a standing relationship with the dealership where you purchased your Mercedes.
If not— say, you’re new to town or bought your car used from an individual, you can find a nearby dealership here.
Replacement Keys Cost Money
Gone are the days when you could take your El Camino key to the hardware store and get a duplicate key cut for less than a dollar.
Those were just pieces of metal with some chunks cut out of them to make them somewhat unique.
Sure, it will start your car, but there are conceivably other El Camino owners whose keys will work on yours.
Those keys got the job done, but in a basic manner and without any fanfare.
A replacement Mercedes-Benz key these days is much more than a piece of metal, as we’ve already learned.
All those electronics cost money and need coding, which you can’t do yourself.
Guess who can? The dealership, and it’s not a free service they offer.
Let’s insert here this admonishment: don’t lose your Mercedes key.
It will cost money to replace and be quite an undertaking to complete.
Keep your spare in a secure place, and then don’t forget where that secure place is.
Replacement keys for a Mercedes-Benz will cost you between $200 and $300.
Some owners report a cost of over $500, but that’s an outlier figure.
Perhaps the logic is that if you can afford the biggest, baddest, most expensive Mercedes, then a $500 replacement key won’t be that big a deal to you.
Anyway, this covers the cost of the key itself.
The dealership will also charge you a fee to program the key, and without that step, your new $200 replacement key will be useless.
Programming costs run from $50 to about $200.
They Don’t Just Hand Them Out
You’ll have to provide documentation before the dealership will sell you a key and program it, which makes sense.
Otherwise, a new wrinkle in the car theft industry would open up pretty wide.
To prove to the dealership that you’re the rightful owner of the car you’re trying to get a replacement key for, you’ll need to provide:
- An original copy of the vehicle registration
- Your driver’s license or state-sanctioned ID
If you’re picking up the key on behalf of the owner, you’ll also need a letter of authorization in addition to the above.
What Else You’ll Need
This last thing you’ll need is kind of important but may not necessarily be something you’d automatically consider.
You must have the car in question with you at the dealership.
If you ask, “But what if I can’t get it there?” you’ll be met with a response along the lines of, “The car needing a replacement key must be present.”
You won’t sway anyone at the dealership with the argument that you couldn’t drive it here because you don’t have a key, which is why you’re here in the first place.
But they’re not just being difficult.
Remember all that talk above about RFID chips and transmitters and stuff?
Your replacement key must be programmed to your car, and that’s just not possible without the car being physically present for that programming.
You will find how-to articles online telling you how you can program a key yourself, but Mercedes-Benz keys are not intended to be programmed by just anyone.
Is it possible? If you’re familiar with programming and stuff, sure, it’s possible, but is it likely you’ll succeed? No, it’s not. Go to the dealership.
That’s what they’re there for.
Other than, you know, selling the cars.
Are There No Other Options?
You can buy just about anything with the click of a mouse button, and a replacement key for a Mercedes doesn’t stand as the one exception.
You can find replacement keys online.
However, you’ll face additional steps regarding programming that key so that it works on your car.
You’d have to order the key, get it (which may take some time), then take it and your vehicle to the dealership and hope they’ll program it for you rather than tell you they only program keys they sell.
If yours is an older Mercedes, a locksmith can help you out, but you’ll have to go to the dealership when it comes to the electronic keys.
Finding yourself in need of replacement Mercedes keys means facing some obstacles.
You’ll need to purchase a replacement key and then have it programmed to work on your car.
To do that, you’ll have to provide documentation to the dealership that the car is, in fact, yours, and you’ll also have to get the car to the dealership without a key.
Can you replace your lost key? Sure. But it won’t be easy, cheap, or fun.
Take steps to prevent the need for a replacement key in the first place.
Secure your spare, and then do your best not to lose your key in the first place.