Motormouth Online

What do I do if my car keys get lost or stolen?

Should you worry?

One of our readers, Marc M., sent in this question about a losing a remote/transponder key:

“What do I do if my key is stolen (transponder/wireless key) and I’m away from civilization?”

Marc, I sure hope this is a hypothetical question that you’ve sent and that you don’t actually have this problem, because I don’t have a workaround for you. This is one of the worst things that can happen to an owner of a modern car because these modern transponder/remote keys are quite expensive and are not easy to replace. It's unlike in the past where all you had to go was get a blank key cut to replace a lost one. It’s far more complex with these modern keys and a lot more expensive because of their multiple functions.

Modern remote/transponder keys can cost tens of thousands of pesos from the dealer. If you’ve broken your key, there are shops here that can repair them like Keynamics. However, a lost remote/transponder key will require replacement, cutting, and re-programming and if you have them all done at the dealer, you’re in for some wallet lightening. Sometimes, if you have the means to import stuff from the US, you can get a key from eBay or an online car key specialty store like, and they might have the particular key that you need. But it will still need to be cut and programmed. The good thing is that these keys from the aforementioned sources will cost much less than those from the dealer.

Incidentally, I myself currently have a similar problem, having lost the secondary remote key for a car. I don’t want to go to the dealer, so I’m looking around on eBay and other sources for a brand-new one. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for (Bono of U2 must have had this problem before, ha!).

However, both solutions will require time. In the meantime, the second part of your problem has yet to be addressed: That you’re away from civilization.

Marc, you can entrust your car to somebody out there and hope for the best. But if I were you, I would do everything I can to get that car to a safe place. And the safest place is home. Call for a flatbed wrecker and have your car trucked back to your house. It may cost a lot, but at least you will be assured of its safety. You won’t be able to address the lost key immediately, but you don’t want your car sitting out in the boonies for too long, either. Otherwise, it will probably be stripped or vandalized by the time you get your new key and go back there, then you might have even more problems on your hands

I wish I could be of more help, but there really aren’t any other solutions to this problem that I know of. Hope this helps. Thanks for writing in!

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