Home Depot can’t copy a car key with a chip – WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Home Depot copies most common household keys (Kwikset, Schlage, etc.), but not programmable chip car keys.

All is not lost!  Car keys with a chip have to be programmed by a machine.  The car dealers do it, and some locksmiths do as well.  Some Sears stores have a key kiosk in their parking lots that do it while you wait.

When you go to a dealer, they usually refuse to guarantee any key they did not sell you (usually at full retail, plus the “programming fee”).  While this is a necessary theft deterrent, it is wretchedly expensive.   There are deals on craigslist and from locksmiths if you shop around – the savings can be significant, so it can be worthwhile!

This blog explains why car keys cost so much to program – from the locksmith point of view.

You can buy the blank, unprogrammed keys on Ebay or Amazon.  Make sure you get the right one for your make and model of car.  Also check your keychain remote, if it is worn or has issues, you can replace and reprogram it at the same time.  (personal note;  mine had the ink worn off the buttons, and the case was worn – so I got a new fob, and moved the battery and circuit board from the old one into the new one.  no reprogramming, and it works like new)!

If you want to reprogram the key  yourself:

You can buy a car key programmer like this one from Amazon for about $100

The programming tool may cost as much as programming the key at the dealer; if this is the case – and you have a few cars in the family fleet – It may pay to get the tool and keep it around.  You will have to learn how it works, and successfully program the key, but the savings on the second key (and every one after that) will make up the cost in a short order.

Most cars today come with two keys and a valet key.  The Valet key does not open the trunk or the glove box, to keep items safe when you have your car parked by an attendant.  If you have only one key, keep this article handy!

Thank you for reading!

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