Replacement Car Keys

Car Key Replacement in Melbourne

At 24h Melbourne Locksmith, we can make car keys and remotes from scratch, on site by the roadside, for most makes and models of car. 99% of cars built after 1995 have an electronic immobiliser in them which requires a correctly programmed transponder key to start them. The transponder and immobiliser system are separate from your key and remote.

Cutting The Key

The basic procedure for making replacement keys for a car where all the originals have been lost all starts with the same steps.

Those are the first basic steps to make replacement car keys when all have been lost.  There are some exceptions to these basic steps with some cars being harder to generate keys for than others.

From here, the methods used to deliver the full product of a remote transponder key,  diverge depending on the manufacturer and the key & transponder used.

Diagnostic Programming

Broadly speaking, Diagnostic Programming is the use of a specialist computer tool to connect to the car’s security system through the OBD port, which is usually hidden somewhere under the dash.  There are many different Diagnostic Tools & procedures for many different cars and systems, and there is no single Diagnostic Tool that can program all keys & remotes to all cars. Once the appropriate Diagnostic Tool is connected, depending on the car, the Tool, and the type of system used, we have the ability to delete any lost keys & remotes, and program in new keys & remotes.

There is usually an additional digital security challenge like a system PIN code, or a timed security delay that has to be met before we can proceed with programming keys or remotes, and this varies for maker to maker, model to model, and even changes mid series in some cases.  Sometimes we will require you to get this info from the Dealer, and it may require your ID.

Diagnostic Programming is the most straight forward type of Transponder programming and therefore the cheapest. Providing all the conditions have been met regarding the correct key, correct chip, correct remote, correct PIN code, correct Tool, full battery,  alignment of the planets, correct star sign,  angle of the sun relative to the horizon at midday in your latitude,  then it is relatively easy to follow the onscreen prompts of the Diagnostic Tool to generate replacement keys to the car.

Not all cars can have keys Diagnostically programmed into them. Some cars require other methods of programming, such as EEPROM or Chicken Dance.

EEPROM Programming

EEPROM stands for Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory, a type of computer chip used in a wide variety of modern electronics. More about the general use can be read here, but for the purpose of this discussion, it’s a method of correctly programming the car and/or the transponder chip so that the car will start when you turn the key.

EEPROM programing for a modern car first involves finding the car’s ECU, which could be in the instrument cluster, under the dash, or absolutely anywhere else depending on the make and model of the car. After locating the ECU, removing it can be  easy or hard depending on where it is installed.  With some models of car,  a professional mechanic’s skills and a couple of hours of his labor are needed to remove the ECU. Once the ECU is out, it’s usually best to work on it in a static sterile environment, such as on an electronics bench under a big magnifying glass.

The EEPROM chip is located somewhere on the main circuit board, and depending on the board, system & chip, it might have to be de-soldered from the board to be read, or may be able to be read in circuit with specialized electronic equipment and teeny tiny little clamps.  The info on the EEPROM chip is either modified to suit the new keys/transponders or the data from that EEPROM chip is copied into the new keys / transponders. If necessary the EEPROM chip is then re-soldered back onto the ECU,  the ECU is installed back into the car, and the rest of the car is re-assembled.

Remote Programming

In some cars, the remotes for the central locking or alarm system are programmed during the Diagnostic or EEPROM process. For those cars that do not use these processes to program the remotes, they usually have the remote programmed by “chicken dance”.  Each make, model and year has its own proprietary chicken dance, and you have to perform all the correct steps in the correct order to successfully program the remote.

An example of a chicken dance might be:

car keys

There are many many different types of car remote, with them differing in size, shape, color, number of buttons, frequency transmitted, etc. A great number of cars now have Remote Flip Keys, with all the components mounted into a single handy unit housing the key, remote, & transponder all in one trendy cover that flips out the key when pushed. These flip keys started in the early 2000 European cars, but now can be found across all manufacturers. Some cars require an OEM (Factory Original) Remote to be used, so the client cannot have any choice in the  colors, shapes or style, and has to use what the manufacturer dictates. Other cars can use aftermarket alternatives with a wide variety of choice in configurations, styles, and colors.

Some cars require an OEM (Factory Original) Remote to be used, so the client cannot have any choice in the  colors, shapes or style, and has to use what the manufacturer dictates.  Other cars can use aftermarket alternatives with a wide variety of choice in configurations, styles, and colors.

Proximity & Smart Keys

An ever-growing proportion of cars on the road today have Proximity or Smart Keys and the feature of push button start. This is where the car has sensors that detect the correct key when it’s close by and allows entry & starting of the car. You don’t even have to take the key out of your pocket.

It’s important to note that even though they may be hidden, ALL of these cars have mechanical key locks in the door and usually also under the push button start. This is for mechanical override in the event of a fault in the car or a flat battery in either the car or the key. To make car keys for a car with a proximity key system, the basic steps are still the same to make the mechanical keys. Transponders and remotes are usually programmed via the Diagnostic method of car key replacement in Melbourne, but not always.

Most Proximity & Smart Keys have to use OEM equipment, although there are a number of new aftermarket options available this year.

Every make and model is different, with different blades, remotes and transponders across models and years. For this reason, we need the full details of the car in order to accurately quote you. We can get the full info of the car through a number of ways. The easiest way is to give us the License Plate number if the car is registered with Vic Roads. From this link, we can get the VIN, which we can use to identify the make, model, year and month of the individual car. Simply call us with the License Plate or VIN for a fast accurate quote.

Modern Car Keys and Components

Since the early 90s, most vehicles come with quite sophisticated security features, incorporating electronic immobilizers, high security locks, and central locking systems. Modern car keys have also become very sophisticated to match. As well as the traditional key blade that varies widely in type and security level, the modern car key can also have a remote control for the central locking, a transponder chip, and possibly even a touch screen! 

We shall examine in detail the 3 main components that make up a modern car key. Only if you have an all metal key, with no plastic at all on it: AND it actually starts the car, only then can you be assured that you don’t have a car with an immobilizer that requires a transponder within your key. Continue reading for more information about each of the 3 main modern car key characteristics.







Your car key may not have all 3 of these components, but if you own a vehicle that was built after 1995, then you can almost guarantee that the vehicle has an electronic immobiliser and the key is a transponder key. There are a few exceptions (some trucks and industrial vehicles), but they are very rare. Even if your key has no visible electronics, but has a plastic head, chances are that is has a chip hidden within the plastic head.

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Frequently Asked Questions

There are no fixed rules as to the pricing of these keys, as every vehicle is different depending on the make, model and year, and the type of key & remote required. There are literally thousands of cars and keys out there, and some are harder to make keys for than others. Here are some examples of typical prices:

Open and make car keys for 1990 Toyota Hilux, 10 am Monday = $250

Open and make keys for 2004 Subaru Impreza, 10am Monday = $350 (non-remote)

Open and make key for VZ Holden Commodore, 10 am Monday = $350(with remote)

Open and make keys for 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer, 10 am Monday = $350 (non-remote)

Open and make keys for 2002 Toyota Camry, 10am Monday = $450 (with remote)

Open and make keys for 2012 Toyota LandCruiser, 10am Monday = $1495 (Proximity Smart Key)

We can save considerable time and money, as we can do the job at the roadside instead of you having to tow the car and wait days for the dealership. All our work comes with a 100% guarantee on parts and labour.

However many you like, however modern auto keys are not cheap and we can’t just “throw in an extra.” Some cars in fact require a minimum of 2 keys to be programmed at the same time, so sometimes economising by just getting one is not an option. Our locksmiths will be able to quote for and cut extra keys on site.

No. There is a significant risk that the parts purchased by you are incorrect or sub-standard. We will not risk wasting our time and having an unhappy customer by using faulty, wrong or sub-standard parts to make car keys. It’s a big bad digital world out there and those charlatans in China will tell you anything to sell you their cheap crap.  We know and trust our suppliers and have never had an issue with them yet. We only work with keys that we supply.

Whenever you like. We have technicians available 24 hours per day. The cost depends on your location and the situation. We aim to respond to emergency situations within 30 minutes, and at the time of booking, you will be given an ETA of the locksmith’s arrival and their direct phone number confirmed by SMS. You’ll generally receive a 15 minute arrival window.

Yes. You can pay with Visa, AMEX or Mastercard.

No. All services must be paid for once they’re completed, unless arranged prior with the management. We accept Cash, or Visa/Mastercard.

Yes. We stand by the quality of our car key replacement in Melbourne 100% and provide a 1 year guarantee.

Get in Touch

Whether you’ve locked yourself out of your home, you’ve lost your car keys, or you simply want to rekey your locks for added security, there’s only one 24 hour locksmith in Melbourne you need to call – 24h Melbourne Locksmith. For an accurate quote and a prompt response from our 24 hour emergency locksmith in Melbourne, call us anytime on

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