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Can a Jeep Key be Copied? (3 methods explained)

Can a Jeep Key be Copied? (3 methods explained)

Modern vehicles are all controlled by electronics and computers. Getting a key made for your car is different today than if it was in older vehicles. The keys are equipped with computer chips that can be matched to the vehicle. So, can a Jeep key be copied? 

Jeep keys can be copied and three different options are available depending on what Jeep model you own. Non-transponder keys are the easiest and do not need to be reprogrammed to work in your vehicle. The transponder and fob keys will need to be reprogrammed by a Jeep dealer or locksmith before they are able to start and operate your vehicle.  

In this article, we will look at what to expect when you need to get a new key for your Jeep. 

Jeep Key Replacement Options

There are three main types of Jeep keys, non-transponder keys, transponder keys, and fob keys. Your replacement options will depend on which key you will need for your vehicle. 

1. Non-Transponder Keys

The non-transponder keys resemble your basic house key. They do not have any electronics in them and do not need to be programmed into a vehicle. Some of these keys may have the Vehicle Anti-Theft System VATS and were introduced in the early 2000s. They contain a resistor inside them that prevents the vehicle from starting unless that resistor matches the value needed by the computer. 

Non-Transponder Replacement Costs

These are the simplest, easiest, and least expensive keys to replace. They are also the easiest option to replace. To replace this key you will just need to buy the blank and have it cut to match your existing keys. They will not require reprogramming to operate your vehicle.

Replacement options should be found for nearly $10. If you are unable to find a replacement online you will have to purchase one from the dealership. This can cost up to $40 for a single key. 

Keys equipped with the VATS will be slightly more expensive than the basic key. Replacement VATS keys average in the $20 to $30 range. They also will not require reprogramming to work with your vehicle.  There is no difference in cost with duplicate keys.  

2. Transponder Keys

Transponder keys were introduced in the late 90s to early 2000s. They are the most common automotive key used today. They have a computer chip in the upper portion of the key that will need to be programmed at the dealer or by a locksmith to start and drive your vehicle. Both the vehicle and the key must be present during the programming.

Transponders will typically have a keyless entry remote integrated with the key. The keyless remote is separate from the transponder portion of the key and can be reprogrammed to your vehicle if it becomes necessary after replacing the battery in the keyless remote. 

Transponder Key Replacement Costs

The purchase of a transponder key is relatively inexpensive. The bad part is they need to be reprogrammed by a locksmith or Jeep dealership. It can cost around $100 and both the vehicle and transponder key will need to be brought to the location when they are reprogrammed.

This could mean having a locksmith come over to your location or needing to tow the vehicle to the dealership if you don’t have a key. 

The transponder key will need a certain code to operate. If you do not have an additional key, you should have an additional one made with also. This will save you the added cost of needing an additional key programmed at a later date. 

3. Fob Keys

Jeep fob keys are different from the other types of keys. They do not have a metal portion that goes into the ignition. Some, however, do come with a metal key to use if your fob is not working or there are issues with the battery of your vehicle. 

Fob keys resemble more of a remote. For push-to-start vehicles, the fob does not need to be inserted into the ignition to start and drive the vehicle. They are the easiest to lose or misplace since they just need to be in the area. They are the most expensive to replace when they are lost.  

Fob Key Replacement Costs

Fob keys are the most modern and most complicated key option to replace. The key fob can cost between $30 to $80 each. They will also require programming by the dealer or locksmith to operate your vehicle.  

As is the case with the transponder key, both the fob key and vehicle will need to be present when they are reprogrammed. If you do not have a spare key for your vehicle you will need to tow it or have the locksmith come to your location. If you do not have a spare, it is recommended you have an additional key made when the original is programmed. 

A duplicate key can cost around $100. Reprogramming the critical fob can cost more than $180, making this by far the most expensive key to replace if it is lost. 

Key Fob Remote Start System Integration

If your vehicle is equipped with a remote start it will be integrated into your Jeep’s key and keyless entry or key fob. Replacing the key of your Jeep will need reprogramming the remote start of your vehicle also. Depending on where the remote start was installed, it may be an additional charge through the dealership to program. 

If it was installed after you purchased your Jeep you may be responsible for reprogramming the remote start after your Transponder key or key fob was programmed by the dealership.

How to Avoid High Replacement Costs for Key

Modern keys need to be reprogrammed by a dealer or locksmith and can be expensive to replace. To get the best pricing, you should take the time to call different dealerships, and locksmiths to find the most reasonable price to reprogram your Jeep’s key. Prices can be vastly different so this can help save money in the long run. 

You will need all the information about your vehicle including the VIN when contacting the dealership or locksmith. This will avoid additional costs or surprise charges after you find the best option. 

Buy the replacement keys ahead of time. Hopefully, you still have a key to operate your vehicle, and just need a replacement. Finding a key online may help reduce the price of the key. You will need to take caution and do your research on the source. Some replacement keys are not well made and it could cause problems with the keyless entry and fail to work in the future.  

Purchasing a key at the dealership may have a higher upfront cost and save you in the long run by continuing to operate as it should in the future. 

Adding a key to ensure you have a replacement in the future could cost a little more upfront but will save you from needing to pay the entire cost for a key and reprogramming in the future. Having two keys programmed at the same time will be a saving in time and money from having an additional key programmed at a later time. 

It is easier for a dealership or locksmith to program additional keys easier at the same time than for they will program additional keys in the future. If you do not have an additional key, you should have them program a spare at that time. 

My Closing Thoughts

Three different key options were used on Jeep vehicles. Depending on what vehicle you own will dictate what you will need to do to get a replacement key for your vehicle. Early keys are easily replaced, while late model keys require programming to start your Jeep. 

Non-transponder keys are the easiest to replace. They are similar to your house keys. They do not have any electronics in them and do not need to be programmed for your vehicle to operate. Some non-transponder keys are equipped with a VATS resistor that is required to start your Jeep.

Transponder keys have a computer chip installed into the end of them. They need to be programmed by the dealer or locksmith to operate your Jeep. They are often integrated with the keyless entry remote. The keyless entry remote can be reprogrammed by you if there is an issue or if it has become disconnected from the vehicle. 

The fob keys are the most expensive to purchase and program for your vehicle. They resemble a plastic fob rather than an actual key.  On the push button, start vehicles do not need to be inserted into the ignition they just need to be in the area of the vehicle. This makes them hard to keep track of and easier to lose. 

Key fobs will also need to be programmed by a dealer or locksmith to work. Duplicate fob keys start at $80 with replacement keys over $100. Programming the fob key is expensive and can cost over $180, far exceeding the costs of all the other keys on this list.


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