Automotive / Practical. Can you still get duplicate car keys made?

Whether it’s fallen out of your pocket, forgotten somewhere or gone forever, replacing a car key can be difficult and expensive.

Worse, we discovered that some older car keys had become very difficult to get hold of…

On a new car

Like all vehicles, keys have evolved a lot in recent years. No more tiny anonymous keys. Today, these keys must be programmed to communicate with your vehicle via a transponder. The goal is to complicate the theft of your car.

Only dealers or certain specialists are authorized to give you a new key. Bring the vehicle registration certificate, an identity document and be patient.

For a Peugeot 5008 key, the brand’s dealer advertises a price of just under €300 including VAT. The transmitter is already billed around €115, to which must be added the replacement and code package, a procedure billed at around a hundred euros.

Those Mazda keys will have been turned down by the dozen. Photo N. Laperruque

On an older car

To have a point of comparison, we went to a neighborhood locksmith, armed with a 1995 Mazda 323 key. A vehicle that does not run on the street, but starts with a simple key, without batteries or electronics.

The professional, after looking at his shelves, quickly informs us that he no longer has these models for a long time.

Another specialty store, larger, will try to rekey our car. Conclusion, after several unsuccessful attempts (the key opens the door but does not allow you to start), he advises us to go to the nearby supermarket specializing in DIY.

An obstacle course

In this brand, a locksmith section is dedicated to duplicating keys. But from the start, the professional warns us: “I don’t have all the references. Sorry, I no longer make this model. »

For several weeks we interviewed several shoemakers in shopping centers or hardware stores, always with the same negative response. It’s when we start to give up that we receive an ad for a smartphone app capable of remaking and ordering any key…

An app to repeat the keys

The promise is simple: after downloading the application to your smartphone, you take a picture of your key, on a white background, front and back, and validate. The app recognizes the key model and gives you a quote. Delivery within 4 or 5 days after validation from your side. A brilliant idea which avoids going to a cobbler with no guarantee of results.

After confirming the order, I receive an offer of €28.60 for a key. That’s three to five times the normal price for these types of keys, but faced with the promise of receiving a copy of our keys without having to run everywhere, we accept.

After an exchange of emails where the company asks me the exact model of the vehicle, its year and a few other details, wham! We receive a new email telling us that it is impossible to repeat these keys. We will get the money back a few days later.

Mr. m.

Finally, a visit to a well-known chain of shoemakers, present all over the world and in France, will save us. The sign with a typical American name is proud to reproduce more than five million keys per year and have more than 15,000 key references.

After more than a dozen attempts, this sign represents our last chance, but the ax falls: “Sorry, I don’t have this model in stock. »

Is it really impossible to remake old Mazda keys? “No, of course I can order them. »

Finally we will get our double keys for less than ten euros a few days later.

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