The modern, high-tech remote keys for our vehicles are amazing. They can, not only start your car, but lock and unlock the doors, open the trunk, and help you find your car at the mall by flashing lights or blowing the horn. Some of us didn’t really want or need the extra “bells and whistles”, but you can’t buy a car today with an old-fashioned, inexpensive key that will “only” start your car.
The auto manufacturer executives must have been thrilled when they discovered a minicomputer, they named a “keyless remote”, aka key fob, with so many bells and whistles. The design and manufacturing engineers must have “joyously” met with the marketing people to come up with a “big fat” price to maximize this new source of profits in their new vehicles. We may never know what it costs an auto manufacturer to make a key fob. This sort of thing is top secret, but we do know that a key fob is far less complex to design and far less costly to manufacturer than a smart phone; however, you can buy smartphones today for less than $200 which is on the low end of what many key fobs cost. Remember that prices are set by supply and demand, not what it costs to manufacture. The best way to bring down your cost of buying a key fob, is to shop and compare prices with what the car dealers charges you with other retailers. Dealers pay their manufacturers too much for key fobs too, and then their dealers mark them up even more, charging you “an arm and a leg”.
My motivation for writing this column is to offer you several sources, rather than just your car dealer, to buy another key fob at a significantly lower price. In full disclosure, I’m taking this information from October 2021 edition of Consumer Reports, the very best of source of information to consumers of every product.
1. If you would prefer, or must, buy an OEM key fob made by the manufacturer of your car, you don’t necessarily have to buy it from the car dealer. My favorite source for buying almost anything is Amazon. www.CarAndTruckRemotes and www.Walmart.com are two more good online sources. Or, you can “Google” key fob for your particular year-make-model car and find other online sources. Consumer Reports found a genuine Hyundai key fob for a 2017 for $93 including shipping, $208 less than the Hyundai dealer charges.
2. Or, buy an aftermarket key fob online. Consumer Reports was able to save $208 by buying a key fob for a 2008 Chrysler Town G Country minivan through Amazon.
3. You can buy a key fob from your local locksmith. Consumer Reports paid $95 less for key fob for a 2009 Honda than the Honda dealer would have charged.
4. Ace Hardware and Batteries Plus are two national chains that offer significant saving over car dealers.
When more and more car owners boycott car dealerships in buying replacement and second keyless remotes/key fobs, the auto manufacturers will lower their prices to their dealers, and you will be able to buy one at a fair price.