How Long Does It Take A Locksmith To Make A Car Key?

If you have ever lost your car keys, you would have used a locksmith’s help to make you a new car key. And the amount of time it took to get a new car key made must have surprised you. Read on to know more about the situation when one loses a key and has to get it made by a locksmith.

Keys have been evolving for security, convenience, reliability and robustness. Their inbuilt technology is advancing, and making a new one quickly is not easy. In earlier times, there were mechanical keys cut out of metal. Only a blank key was sufficient to replicate the original, with some cutting. Nowadays, new types of keys have arrived that even need programming.

The key is different for each car. It changes with the car manufacturer, model and sub-model. So do not make the mistake of ordering it online, instead, rely on an experienced locksmith service like Los Angeles locksmith. Based on the type, a locksmith can take 20 to 30 minutes or an hour to make a key. So the first step is to know the type.

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1. Know The Type Of Car Key


When you contact a locksmith, they will first ask you about the type of car key. You must know about the common modern vital types.

1. Keyfob

The most common type is a keyfob. It uses a simple mechanism of encasing a transmitter inside itself. The receiver in the car responds to this transmitter whenever the button is pressed for opening or closing the car door. It runs on a small battery. It is the conventional key with a lock and an unlock button.

2. Flip Key

A new type that has become prevalent nowadays is the flip key. It is similar to a keyfob but has added functionality and a compact design. It has an actual key enclosed in its body frame, which comes out by pressing a side button. The key can then open the car door manually by inserting it into the lock. Also, it needs to be inserted in the ignition for the car to start.

3. Smart Keys

Over the past few years, intelligent keys have also gained mass popularity. They are compact, and the car does not need them for ignition. Instead, the car gets started with a push button. The only requirement is that the key is near the car’s vicinity to function. It is convenient as the chances of locking the key inside the car are rare.

Once you know the type, you can inform the locksmith. But how long do you have to be stranded out of the car? The second step is to get your key code.

2. Get The Code


Try to get the necessary code, or let the locksmith do it. In any case, there is some basic information that you will have to provide. It is:

The first three are listed in the car’s registration documents. Inside the car, VIN can be retrieved from the dash on the driver’s side. Using this information, you can purchase critical codes from a dealership by showing valid proof. The easier way is to provide this information to the locksmith, who will get it from the automakers. It may take 5 to 10 minutes for them to acquire the codes.

3. Key Cutting

The next step is critical cutting. You might have heard of self-service key-cutting kiosks and would want to try them. But, such kiosks may not be maintaining correctly calibrated machines. So, it is better to get the job of cutting done by locksmiths.

It generally takes 10 minutes if done by professional locksmiths. The locksmith can copy or read the cuts if you have a broken or damaged key. If you don’t have any, the locksmith can make a new one that will unlock the doors by decoding the cuts using the key code. Mainly, the key needs to be programmed into the car to start it.

4. Programming

This step can take anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour. Over time, the programming procedure has become tedious and very specific for each type of car. Also, the programming tools and software required for programming are expensive. That’s why it needs to be done by a professional locksmith only.

How To Choose A Locksmith


The artistry and craft of the locksmith you hire have to be top quality if you want to get your car keys made hassle-free. This is work of great precision and involves lots of technicalities. So, the technicians must be experienced and reliable.

You may also check their specialization, as some locksmiths may be able to work on cars of all makes and models, while others may work only on specific types of vehicles.

You can visit the locksmith’s website before contacting them. You can go through the customer testimonials and see what feedback they have to share. You can also search for them and read customer reviews and ratings for their services.

Another point that needs to be kept in mind is that the car has to be nearby to program keys. So, the locksmith has to either visit you or you have to take the car to the locksmith. The latter may not be possible as you are grounded due to losing the key and cannot drive your car. So, your locksmith must be able to reach you quickly in case of urgency.


Getting grounded due to losing keys can be very frustrating. It can keep you on hold for a long duration. It is better to be equipped with your local locksmith’s contact details to avoid such a situation. And also, you must be mentally prepared that it may take up to an hour to get a new key. If there are complications, this time can increase to 2 to 3 hours.