Lost Car Keys

So my brother loses his car keys and just calls me wondering if a standard locksmith will be able to reproduce a key for a vehicle. Hell if I know! Or is this something that could be done at Wal-Mart, or somewhere else they might have an auto-specific dept? If so, wouldn’t you have to prove that it’s your car? . . .

If you know the key numbers (the car dealer might be able to provide them with proof of ownership) a locksmith or the dealer can cut a key (but not a hardware store or Wal-Mart).

A locksmith might be able to determine the key numbers by disassembling the lock (I don’t know for a fact), which would be a pricey proposition.

Proving it’s his car shouldn’t be a problem–should it?

Well, no, but the ‘pricey proposition’ will be. He’s also always complaining that where he lives (Morgantown, WV), vehicles need to pass inspection, and are thus indicated with a sticker on the licence plate or something. Going to shops/dealers could cause a failed inspection, which he’s not really in the mood for either. I’m in Nebraska, and have not heard of such a seemingly silly law.

It depends on the car. For my car, replacement keys are $200 because of a chip and, I’m sure, some means of punishment from Saab for being so careless.

If I didn’t have the a key to cut a replacement key, and I lost all my original keys, then Saab says that they cannot replace the key. I would then have to have my alarm system yanked out and a new one installed, and those keys would be my replacements. The cost of a new alarm system? $2000.

A competent locksmith can make a key for most types of cars. Places like Walmart and hardware can duplicate keys, but don’t have the expertise to create one.

I won’t even mention how incredibly stupid it is not to have spare keys if they’re reasonably inexpensive to duplicate.

I went to my dealer, provided them with the VIN and registration (as proof of ownership), and they looked up the key number for me. I’ve now got that stashed in a file drawer in case I need it in the future.

Going to a dealer to ask simply that duplicate key be made off the VIN code record will someow cause a failed inspection? …Huh?

I don’t understand it myself… he’s got an old, very used oldsmobile from the late 80’s/early 90’s, I think bought privately from an old neighbor maybe? So then at the shops they either revoke your ‘passed’ inspection status based on issues that need addressed or convince you to have work done…? Something like that, maybe someone living in such a state knows more. I think he also mentioned that some people “pay off” such places who can issue approved status (or not) for the approved stickers.

But what on earth does buying a duplicate key have to do with the car being inspected, passed or unpassed? It’s more like buying a mirror only with proof required that you own the vehicle and the VIN # (title etc).

How on earth would the car’s inspection status even come into play in this retail purchase scenario? If he doesn’t have the title or proof of ownership then there may be an issue generating a new key, otherwise is he just confused?

Nothing to worry about there. West Virginia does have an annual vehicle safety inspection process, by which a sticker is placed on the windshield. But your friend’s situation has truly nothing to do with the state inspection.

(As an aside…many states have vehicle inspections. Is it really that strange a concept?)

You cannot “unpass” a currently valid inspection. If something becomes broken that would cause you to fail an inspection (headlight out, horn inoperative, brakes too worn), you realistically have until the date of your next inspection to get it fixed. No one’s checking until then. You could get an improper equipment citation for the blown headlight, or if the cop notices that your muffler is missing. but that’s the rule anywhere.

But in any case, I’m fairly certain that door locks are not one of the items that WVDOT cares about. And it’s pretty silly to think that a state inspection process means that your car is never allowed to break, and that you’re never allowed to visit a dealer. It just means it can’t be broken in any way that compromises its safety or roadworthiness when it’s time to renew your plates.

This person must be new to the state to sound so unfamiliar with the process. Is it safe to assume that he’s an out-of-state student at WVU?

– Dave
WVU alumnus
Now lives in Ohio, where the state doesn’t care if you drive a heap

Because the original question is what is required to get a new key made to start the car (all we really want to know). Since we don’t know this and are wondering if the car has to be taken in somewhere, it became a question. A secondary one.

It’s not unlocking the door, he’s needing new starter key.

I have the feeling that the date of inspection expiration has come and gone. . . and yes, he’s an out-of-state student, coming from a state that has no such law.

Well, in that case he doesn’t have to worry about losing his inspection’s validity.

As far as the shop is concerned, they’re not. The driver’s inspection status is his own issue with the state.

However, should he want to get his registration renewed, he’ll need an inspection. To pass an inspection, he’ll have to start the car. It’s not the lack of keys that’s the problem so much as the inability to start the car. But getting a new sticker is for later. For now, take it to a dealer and get a key cut based on the VIN. Shouldn’t be much money. And the shop won’t notice or care if the sticker is current or not.

The police, on the other hand, will. I got a “fix-it” ticket once for an expired sticker 2 days after it went dead. This sharp-eyed city patrolman could tell that the “8” wasn’t a “9” from across three lanes at 45 mph. It boggles the mind.

Yes a locksmith can come out and make keys… is what we do after all. Part of what we do anyway. Dealerships can access key codes by VIN sometimes. depending on the age of the car. If it is a newer car, and it has a transponder chip, it would require programming.

I do not know of any locksmith who is required to enforce or certified to check or pass a vehicle inspection required by the state.