How to replace an ignition key if you don't have spares?

Currently I only have ONE key to my Ford focus. While I REALLY need to get a spare just in case, I kind of wondered if it were possible to get a replacement key to my car if I were the lose the only key I had. I’m sure its gotta be feasable somehow, right? So aside from having to throw down a bunch of money at a Ford dealership, how would i go about dealing with this possible situation?

Just go to Home Depot, Lowes, or many other hardware stores and they will make one for you before you lose it in the first place. It only costs a couple of dollars per key if that.

Yeah… am I missing something here? I think the last replacement key I got made was at OSH for about $2. Unless it’s one of those special keys with a chip in it, getting copies of keys made is cake.

I’m pretty sure a regular old locksmith can’t duplicate a car key. I think they have some microchip in them or something. I had to have a key made for my bmw and it cost me almost $400…the regular key-making guy couldn’t do it. I had to go to the dealer.

Pm me your vin number and I’ll tell you if it has a chip in it.

In many cases, a dealer can cut a new key if you tell them the VIN (and prove that you own the car, of course). They can’t always do this for older cars and they can’t do it if the car doesn’t have the original lock cylinders. If they can’t make the key, you can have all of the lock cylinders replaced.

Newer Ford Foci have the chip, so yeah, you can’t just go anywhere that cuts keys. Mine is an oh-five and has it.

I’ve been told you can get a key cut to just unlock the doors and the trunk. But I’ve asked at one or two places and they tell me they don’t have the right blank. Need to get that taken care of.

Ford keeps a copy of the transponder code that your vehicle, which has a unique Vehicle Identification Number(VIN), in their records. If you lose all your keys, they can look that one up in their records and program a new key based on your VIN. A locksmith can read your lock and make a new key(Ford may be able to do this too based on the original lock pin numbers). But it’s VERY expensive and takes a long time. It’s better to avoid the situation in the first place.

Assuming you have a key with a transponder chip there are several options available to you.

1 - disable the transponder circuit. Most mechanics will be reluctant to do this and it may cost you a pretty penny. If this is done all you need is a copy of the key to operate the vehicle.

2 - Fool the transponder circuit. Some people will take their key and tape it to the bottom of their steering column, so they can use a mechanical key and when the ignition system probes for the transponder signal, the original key is there and responds. This creates “security by obscurity” in that anyone who figures out your key is taped to the steering column could steal your car easily, but most people don’t assume keys are in cars.

3 - Have more transponder keys made. Most locksmiths and car parts stores(I know the CarQuest near me for sure) can make transponder keys assuming you have an original. They have devices which can “read” the original key and program a new key for you. This is typically about 50-60% of the cost of a dealership key.

4 - install a keyless ignition system. Places like Car Toys can take your key, and then install it in your car with a remote starter. They’ll give you a couple key fobs and you can press a button to unlock and start your car remotely. So if you ever wanted to be able to start your car and have it warm up while you finish your coffee in the nice warm house, you could do this. You won’t need a key to drive as long as you have your key fobs and you can buy and program new key fobs easier than getting new keys. The price of the remote start and keyless entry systems runs about what a new key does, plus installation.


My last two cars each came with a little metal strip with a code imprinted on on the key ring with the keys/fobs. I assumed they were to be “put in a safe place” so if keys were lost the dealership could use the code to get a new key.

Interesting post. I’d consider cutting off the end of the key if I was going to try this.

Thanks. I think on my next full day off I going on a quest to see if I can get a replacement(s).

Its especially useful for me because of my job. Often I finish my shift somewhere my car isn’t. Sometimes friends are willing to help out but can’t because I only have 1 key. But if I have multiple keys, I can give one spare to, say my mom and another to my most trusted friend- that way one of them can move/get my car if need be.

seriously just go get a copy.

Call local locksmiths and the dealership and price shop.

At the shop I am at, Ford transponder keys are 47.50 programed.

a mechanical key without the chip run about 2 dollars and it does make a handy spare to keep in your wallet.


Just use this universal key.

And how do you propose to start the car with a brick? :confused:

Ought to be someone around who can hotwire a Focus pretty fast.

All US model Fords since '99 use PATS systems, though, so you’ll need an original Ford key.

Hey Incubus…If you lose your car keys, you’re likely to feel helpless and confused, especially if you don’t have access to a spare set. Ordering a replacement set from a car dealership can be difficult and time consuming. The fastest way to replace a lost ignition key is with the help of a locksmith.

Determine if your keys are coded or regular ignition keys. If the keys are coded, you’ll need to find a dealer in your area who can create the new key and imprint the code onto it. Starting in the late 1990s these keys were used by car manufacturers to make it harder for thieves to steal cars.

Contact a locksmith in your area who specializes in auto keys. You may find it harder to find one with experience working on cars, but you should find the information listed in the yellow pages. If you lost your door key, the locksmith can make a replacement for that as well.

Order a replacement ignition key from a locksmith. It generally takes a few hours for the locksmith to check your ignition against the keys they have in stock and find the right one, as well as cut down and form the right size and shape of key for your car. There are many locksmiths available in the market but you should contact a reliable locksmith. One of the locksmith is in my known because I had also faced this problem before. I can provide you the link so you can check it out.
I am really impressed by the services of this locksmith. You can also search online about rest of the locksmiths which are reliable.

Check the new key by inserting it into the ignition. If the car starts right away, you’re all set. However, if the key doesn’t work, then you’ll need to visit your dealer. This indicates the key requires programming.