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How to Make a Car Key When You've Lost the Original

by Sharon Sweeny

When you lose your car key, there’s the inconvenience of not being able to use your car, plus, you have to deal with an unplanned errand to get a new key made. And there's the cost of a new key. It’s expensive to have a locksmith create a new key using your car’s ignition, but you don't have to do it that way. If you know where to look to find the numeric key code for your car, in most cases, you can save yourself the cost of having a locksmith come to you.

Step 1

Check the inside cover of the owner’s manual for the key code for cars built before 1981, or look on the original sales invoice from the dealer.

Step 2

Remove the interior door panel and look for the key code stamped on the lock mechanism.

Step 3

Give the key code to a locksmith and ask him to make a duplicate for you.

Step 4

Find the vehicle identification number (VIN), which usually is stamped on a metal plate on the driver’s side of the dashboard.

Step 5

Take the VIN to a car dealer and ask the dealer to make a new key.

Remove the door lock and bring it to a locksmith, who will make a key to open the door lock, which will also work in the ignition.


  • If you have a pre-owned car and you know the previous owner, ask them if they have a key to the car.


  • If you can’t find the key code for an older car, a locksmith will have to make a new key from the ignition.

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