How Much Does it Cost to Program a Key Fob? [Pricing]

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  • According to, the labor cost to program a key fob ranges anywhere from $40.00 USD to $100.00 USD. (Source)
  • The cost of key fob programming depends on the make and model of the vehicle.
  • The Pricer points out the cost can range anywhere from $100.00 USD to $300.00 USD to have both a new key fob and its programming needs covered. (Source)
  • Bear in mind the cost factors involved between a vehicle’s make and model.

Cost Factors

  1. Make and Model
  2. Material
  3. Sellers & Resellers

Make and Model

The average cost of programming a key fob depends entirely on the make and model of the vehicle. The majority of the time, a person can do this themselves if they want to shave the cost down, or they can hire an automotive locksmith to help.

On average, for labor only, to program a key for an Impala from Chevrolet will cost about $35.00 USD. This is much lower than doing the same for a Kia Sorento at $98.00 USD.

Much of it has to do with the number of complexities involved with the program itself as not all key fobs, as well as the vehicles they belong to, are created equal.

Yes, each key fob uses radio wave signals that communicate with your vehicle. They both have memory chips that allow communication between the two possible. When the fob is pressed, it sends a code to the vehicle according to what command was pressed.

The more basic the operation is, the lower the price point is going to be. Usually, a key fob will be purchased from the dealership the vehicle was sold from.

However, qualified locksmiths have this capability as well, assuming they have the proper equipment to do so. The cost factor here falls on the car’s design itself and not the key fob.


If a key or keyless entry device is needed as you program your key fob, the cost factor will go up. Again, this is also based on the make and model of the vehicle involved. Should this be the case, an extra $100.00 USD to $250.00 USD will be tacked on.

This depends if you wish to go through your local dealership or with another source. Dealerships are known to charge at least $150.00 USD for both the key fob and the keyless entry device. Third-party sellers tend to carry knockoffs that will cost much less.

Sellers & Resellers

Toyota Car Key

Local dealerships tend to have higher prices when it comes to accessories related to the vehicles they sold to the consumer. The primary reason for this is the amount of confidence that goes into the brand.

Quite frankly, if the vehicle is a Toyota Corolla, nobody is going to have an exact Toyota Corolla part and get away with branding it with the same name.

However, there are a number of brands that make a business of manufacturing and selling knockoffs as a means to accommodate the market that either can’t afford the premium price tag or simply want a better bargain.

Should one wish to go there, there is a reason why the cliche of “buyer beware” exists. Before making that fateful decision to program a key fob that requires you to buy what you need, do the homework.

Which brands are worth your time and money and which ones should you avoid? If you’d rather not deal with a local dealership because you feel they’re too expensive, you can attempt to program the key fob yourself through a website like Keyless Remotes. (Source)

If you find you’d rather have someone do this for you, access review sites like Yelp in an effort to find someone that has earned a good enough reputation for you to give them the time of day, as well as your money. (Source)

Programming a key fob

A key fob is a small, electronic device that is used to unlock and start a car. It is usually carried in a person’s pocket or attached to a key chain.

  1. Turn on the ignition of the car.
  2. Hold down the lock button on the key fob until the car’s dashboard lights turn on.
  3. Release the button and press it again.
  4. The car’s dashboard lights will flash and the key fob will be programmed.

Can you do it or should a dealership handle it?

The programming instructions above can be easily followed by most people. However, if you are uncomfortable following the instructions or do not feel confident in your ability to do so, then it is best to take the car to a dealership and have them program the key fob for you. If you’re doing a key fob replacement, the dealership will likely help you program it.


The cost of programming a key fob can vary depending on the make and model of the car as well as the dealership that you take it to. However, it is typically between $50 and $100. If you need to replace your key fob, then the cost will be higher.

Key fob technologies

There are a few different key fob technologies that are used in cars today. The most common is the infrared (IR) key fob.

This type of key fob uses an infrared signal to unlock and start the car. Another type of key fob is the radio frequency (RF) key fob.

This type of key fob uses a radio frequency signal to unlock and start the car. RF key fobs are becoming more popular because they are not as susceptible to interference as IR key fobs.

If you have a key fob that is not working, then there are a few things that you can do to troubleshoot it. First, make sure that the batteries in the key fob are fresh. If they are not, then replace them and try again.

If the key fob still does not work, then you may need to take it to a dealership for further diagnosis.

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