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Stupid Tax for a Lost Car Key
Old 07-31-2019, 08:58 PM   #1
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Stupid Tax for a Lost Car Key

Sometime today I lost the last key to the Lexus. The first key I took apart to replace the battery a year ago and managed to lose the bag with the parts. Yes, I know I was living dangerously. This being Lexus, their solution is ridiculously expensive. Tow the car to the dealer, pay them $250 for the key and a $214 programming fee. I told the young lady in the parts department that I was not going to do that. She then offered up the idea of buying a key and "having AAA come out, unlocking the car, and reprogramming the key." I would be out the $250 for the key, but AAA road service would pay for the rest.

I'm sure I'm not the only person here that has done this. Anyone know a less expensive way to get that inert hunk of metal sitting on the driveway operational again? Can anyone confirm that AAA will come out and reprogram the key?
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:05 PM   #2
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Hire a locksmith to come out. See if you can get a key online and just re-program it yourself.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:41 PM   #3
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Hire a locksmith to come out. See if you can get a key online and just re-program it yourself.
How do you reprogram a key? Are the actual metal "keys" unique to each car?
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:52 PM   #4
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I’m not positive, but I think the key has something that the car’s computer picks up. Similar to the chip on a credit card. Not sure if the chip gets programmed or if the car computer gets reprogrammed to recognize the new chip.

To your point, I would just call AAA. You either need them to reprogram something or tow the car, so I don’t see much point in calling anyone else. If you call an independent person like a locksmith or a mechanic, you’re still likely to have to pay them for a service call.

Google your question and there’s probably a you tube video about it. There’s probably an ad that will come up with an “answer” too. Good luck. I’d call AAA an get this over with asap.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:56 PM   #5
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How do you reprogram a key? Are the actual metal "keys" unique to each car?
On some cars, you can put a new key in the ignition and go through a sequence and the chip in the new key will be programmed. Not so on Toyota / Lexus I believe. You either have to pay to have it done or buy software and a cable adapter to use a lap top to reprogram it.



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Old 07-31-2019, 10:03 PM   #6
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Guess I shouldn't feel gouged anymore paying about $125 to get a spare key with FOB made for my car.

How I miss the days simply getting a car key copy made at a hardware or big box store.
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:12 AM   #7
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My Honda CR-V had instructions in the owner's manual for how to reprogram the key. Did you check yours?
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:18 AM   #8
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As noted above, Toyota does not play nicely. These days, mobile locksmiths can program and replace many key/opener combos.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:29 AM   #9
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All of this makes me wonder if there really is any evidence that these types of keys actually deter car theft. Or have the car thieves simply figured out how to beat the system and all that this represents is a really lucrative source of additional income for car makers. Just wondering.... alas, unfortunately, I have no useful contribution as far as potential solutions. Last time I was in this situation (about 10 years ago, and also with a Toyota), I just bit the bullet and paid off the dealer.... I even ended up paying for a spare key ďat a discountĒ.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:51 AM   #10
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Really bugs me that I can't just get a $3.00 car key anymore.
Even the $110 keys would be ok. I find the proximity keys are no great convenience and a ridiculous inevitable expense.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:54 AM   #11
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All of this makes me wonder if there really is any evidence that these types of keys actually deter car theft
It would deter casual car theft, because it wouldn't be possible to take the whole car without going through the steps of programming a chip, etc.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:58 AM   #12
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Wow, I was told $700 to replace our spare. We’re living dangerously as well... have the valet key as a backup. I had no idea it was possible to reprogram them yourselves—going to look into that!
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:20 AM   #13
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Utube videos are all over the web showing how to re-program chipped keys.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:26 AM   #14
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All of this makes me wonder if there really is any evidence that these types of keys actually deter car theft. Or have the car thieves simply figured out how to beat the system and all that this represents is a really lucrative source of additional income for car makers. Just wondering.... alas, unfortunately, I have no useful contribution as far as potential solutions. Last time I was in this situation (about 10 years ago, and also with a Toyota), I just bit the bullet and paid off the dealer.... I even ended up paying for a spare key ďat a discountĒ.
Iím sure the thieves have it figured out as I donít think car thefts have stopped. I know one thing that has happened is that car jacking has become an option. I saw a story on the news that with keyless cars, the thieves have resulted to confronting you directly and demanding your keys or jumping in while your car is running. Of course these would be much worse than having you car stolen while you are away from it.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:37 AM   #15
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Utube videos are all over the web showing how to re-program chipped keys.
Apparently this does not apply to Toyota products.

The good news is the key was found. However, I am not going to take the risk of losing the key again or a dead key battery and being stuck. I'm going to overpay for the dealer key but not opt for the programming if I can get it done for "free" another way.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:41 AM   #16
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Wait wait..."the key" - didn't you get at least 2 when you bought the car?

If so, after the first one went missing, then you could have replaced it without the hassles of towing or a non-startable car. You can also sometimes buy the fobs on ebay and then just take them (with your car) to the dealer to program, or go off market.

2+ a valet key is a great way to go, and keep one very safe.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:41 AM   #17
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Really bugs me that I can't just get a $3.00 car key anymore.
Even the $110 keys would be ok. I find the proximity keys are no great convenience and a ridiculous inevitable expense.
No great convenience, really?.... they aren't an expense unless you lose them.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:42 AM   #18
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Sometime today I lost the last key to the Lexus. The first key I took apart to replace the battery a year ago and managed to lose the bag with the parts. Yes, I know I was living dangerously. This being Lexus, their solution is ridiculously expensive. Tow the car to the dealer, pay them $250 for the key and a $214 programming fee. I told the young lady in the parts department that I was not going to do that. She then offered up the idea of buying a key and "having AAA come out, unlocking the car, and reprogramming the key." I would be out the $250 for the key, but AAA road service would pay for the rest.

I'm sure I'm not the only person here that has done this. Anyone know a less expensive way to get that inert hunk of metal sitting on the driveway operational again? Can anyone confirm that AAA will come out and reprogram the key?
Are you sure they are lost?
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:43 AM   #19
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Apparently this does not apply to Toyota products.

The good news is the key was found. However, I am not going to take the risk of losing the key again or a dead key battery and being stuck. I'm going to overpay for the dealer key but not opt for the programming if I can get it done for "free" another way.
Since you have your key, here's a video on programming a new one:

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Old 08-01-2019, 08:46 AM   #20
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This article from the NYT is 5 years old but indicates that car theft plunged from what it had been in 1990.

Not sure if that is the case everywhere or if there has been an increase since then.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/12/u...f-fashion.html

Quote:
Auto theft isnít much of a problem anymore in New York City. In 1990, the city had 147,000 reported auto thefts, one for every 50 residents; last year, there were just 7,400, or one per 1,100. Thatís a 96 percent drop in the rate of car theft.

So, why did this happen? All crime has fallen, nationally and especially in New York. But there has also been a big shift in the economics of auto theft: Stealing cars is harder than it used to be, less lucrative and more likely to land you in jail. As such, people have found other things to do.

The most important factor is a technological advance: engine immobilizer systems, adopted by manufacturers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. These make it essentially impossible to start a car without the ignition key, which contains a microchip uniquely programmed by the dealer to match the car.

Criminals generally have not been able to circumvent the technology or make counterfeit keys. ďItís very difficult; not just your average perpetrator on the street is going to be able to steal those cars,Ē said Capt. Don Boller, who leads the New York Police Departmentís auto crime division. Instead, criminals have stuck to stealing older cars.
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