How to Replace Keys for Vehicles

by Contributing Writer

A Vehicles keys are programmed, so replacing them can be tricky depending on how many spares you have lying around. If you have two spare keys, simply have a locksmith cut a new one and reprogram it yourself. If you lost all of your keys, or you only have one spare, you must visit the local dealership and have it create new keys. The reason one spare key won't work is because you need two original, programmed keys to reprogram a third key. The dealership will nullify your old key's programming so that if it falls into the wrong hands, whoever has it will not be able to unlock or start your Vehicles.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace Keys for a Honda Civic

Locate your key code found on the key number plate that came with your original set of keys.

Decide on the type of key you want. A master key will lock and unlock the doors and trunk from a distance, while a valet key only works in the ignition and locks.

Call your local Honda dealer and place an order using your key code.

 How to Replace Keys to a Saturn Car

Find your vehicle registration and insurance card. You may not need it at the dealership, but it's always good to have irrefutable proof that you own the car, and more documentation is always better than not enough. Make sure either documents have the car's VIN number. They should.

Make sure you have your driver's license.

Call either a taxi or a friend with a car. You will need transportation to the dealership.

Ask the receptionist for direction to their locksmith.

Provide the VIN number, registration, and your driver's license to the people who need to see it. The dealership's locksmith will then look up the key-code for your vehicle and make replacement keys.

Items you will need

  • Drivers License

  • VIN Number

  • Transportation

 How to Replace Keys for Kia Rio

Locate the plate that came with your original set of keys that contains your key code number.

Go to the Kia website and click on "Dealer Locator" and enter in your zip code to find a Kia dealer near you.

Call the dealer and give them your key code number so they can make a new set of keys.

 How to Replace a Key for a Honda Accord

Compile the information about your Honda Accord. Locate your vehicle identification number, which is stamped on the dashboard on the driver's side, next to the windshield. Find the title to your car and the proof of purchase.

Go to a Honda dealership. Provide them with your information and ask them for a replacement key. They will cut the key at the dealership. The cost will depend on the year of your vehicle.

Get your key programmed. If you have a newer Accord, you will also need to have the key programmed at the dealership.

Make sure that the replacement key works in your Accord.

Items you will need

  • VIN number

  • Title

 How to Replace a Key for a 2005 Honda Pilot

Replacing the Key Through a Dealership

Contact a Honda dealership parts department and ask for a replacement key.

Provide to the dealership the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and proof of ownership. The dealership will cut and program the replacement key to work with your vehicle.

Test the new key and fob to make sure it works properly with your Pilot.

Replacing the Key Through an Auto Parts Supplier

Purchase a replacement key from a parts supplier. Make sure the supplier provides programming instructions with the key in case the key has any nonstandard programming steps. If they do not, check the programming link in the article resources for instructions. The instructions are for a 2008 Pilot, but they should work for most Honda-compatible key fobs.

Follow the directions provided with the key. The directions will vary based on the key manufacturer. The directions will only be for programming the fob; the key will still need to be cut. Test the fob after programming to make sure it works with the Pilot.

Take the key to an automotive locksmith that provides Honda key cutting or to a Honda dealership. Provide the VIN so the key can be cut to work with your Pilot. The key is cut based on the VIN. Locksmiths usually charge a lower fee than dealerships to stay competitive.

 How to Replace a Key for a Lexus

Contact a Lexus Dealer

Record your vehicle identification number (VIN). Typically, the VIN is located on the dashboard under the windshield. The number will be on a small metallic plate and will include 17 characters. The unique number identifies your vehicle.

Collect proof of ownership. Locate your vehicle registration or title, and your driver's license. You will need the information to prove you own the vehicle.

Contact your Lexus dealer. Review telephone listings for a local dealer or visit Lexus.com and enter your zip code in the "Find a Dealer" box and hit "Enter" on your keyboard. Call the dealer and arrange to have your key replaced.

Contact a Locksmith

Locate a high-security locksmith. Visit the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA.org). Lexus recommends this association for finding professional locksmiths who can replace your Lexus key. Click "Locksmith Search" in the upper right corner of the navigation window. On the search screen, check the "Automotive" check box and enter your zip code.

Contact the locksmith. Call the locksmith of your choosing and explain your situation. Make sure you inform the locksmith you need a high-security-services key replacement. Find out what information you will need to provide. They will likely request your driver's license and proof of Lexus ownership.

Arrange an appointment. Make an appointment and find out the total cost of the service.

Items you will need

  • Vehicle identification number

  • Personal identification

  • Registration or title

 How to Replace the Key to a Yamaha V Star 650

Remove the passenger and rider seats from the motorcycle using a 10 mm socket and a socket wrench.

Remove all three bolts attaching the speedometer bezel to the fuel tank using a 4 mm Allen wrench. Lift the speedometer off of the fuel tank, then unplug the electrical connectors.

Remove the bolts on each side of the lower fuel tank bracket, located at the base of the fuel tank, using a 12 mm socket. Turn the fuel tank valve, located under the left side of the tank, to the "Off" position. Lift the base of the fuel tank off of the motorcycle's frame, then pull the fuel hose off of the valve using pliers. Pull the fuel tank toward the rear of the motorcycle until it can be removed completely.

Remove the bolt from the right steering neck cover, located along the right side of the frame near the steering pivot, using a 12 mm socket. Pull the cover off the frame to expose the ignition switch.

Drill through the ignition switch security bolts, using an electric drill and a 1/4-inch drill bit, until the bolt heads fall off. Pull the ignition switch off of the bolt shanks, then unplug the switch connector from the motorcycle's wiring harness. Remove the bolt shanks using locking pliers.

Take the ignition switch to a Yamaha repair center. The parts department will use the key code imprinted into the ignition switch housing to order a new key set specific to the ignition switch.

Coat the threads of two 10 x 20 mm Allen head bolts with semi-permanent threadlocking adhesive after you have the new keys . Mount the ignition switch onto the motorcycle's frame using a 4 mm Allen wrench. Plug the ignition switch connector into the motorcycle's wiring harness.

Mount the right steering neck cover onto the motorcycle's frame. Slide the fuel tank's mounting tabs onto the frame's rubber bosses, then lower the tank onto the seat rails. Push the fuel hose onto the fuel tank valve. Screw the lower fuel tank mounting bolts into place, then tighten the bolts to 21.7 foot-pounds using a torque wrench.

Plug in the speedometer connectors to the bottom of the speedometer. Lay the speedometer bezel onto the fuel tank, then screw the speedometer bolts into place. Tighten the bolts to 7.6 foot-pounds.

Reinstall the rider and passenger seats.

Items you will need

  • 10 mm socket

  • Socket wrench

  • 4 mm Allen wrench

  • 12 mm socket

  • Electric drill

  • 1/4-inch drill bit

  • Two 10 x 20 mm Allen head bolts

  • Semi-permanent threadlocking adhesive

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Key for a Jeep Grand Cherokee

Visit a Jeep-approved locksmith. Bring your registration and four-digit owner's PIN with you to prove you own the Grand Cherokee.

Climb into the driver's seat. Place the first of the two original spares into the ignition and turn it to the "On" position. Wait three seconds at the minimum, then turn to "Lock" before removing the key.

Place the second of the two spares into the ignition and turn to "On." Wait at least three seconds. The Grand Cherokee will make a chiming sound, and the Vehicle Security Light will start flashing. This is a signal to turn the key to "Lock" and remove it.

Place the recently cut copy into the ignition and turn to "On." You need to do this within 60 seconds of removing the second spare. After 10 seconds, the Grand Cherokee will make one chiming sound, and the vehicle security light will stop flashing. To show that the process is complete, the vehicle security light will light up for three seconds and then turn off. Remove the new duplicate. The key replacement process is finished.

Items you will need

  • 2 spare keys

  • Duplicate key

  • Owner's PIN

 How to Replace the Key for a 2007 Dodge Nitro

Take one of your spare keys to a Dodge-approved locksmith and have him copy the blade.

Insert the original spare into your Nitro's ignition and turn it to the "On" position. Wait anywhere three to 15 seconds before turning the spare key back and removing it.

Insert the second original second into the ignition and turn it to "On." Ten seconds will pass, then you will hear a chime and the "Vehicle Theft Alarm Indicator Light" will flash. When you see this, turn the ignition to "Off" and remove the second spare. The "Vehicle Theft Alarm Indicator Light" will continue to flash. That is normal.

Insert the recently made duplicate and turn it to "On." As in the previous step, 10 seconds will pass and a chime will sound. The "Vehicle Theft Alarm Indicator Light" will stop flashing. It will return in three seconds and then turn itself off. This indicates you have successfully programmed the Nitro's new spare key.

Items you will need

  • 2 working spare keys

  • Duplicate key