A Really Good Reason Not to Lose Your Car Key Fob

Technology is great, isn’t it? Well, you know, until it isn’t. For example, the key fobs that now come standard with many vehicles are pretty darn cool. They allow you to lock your car from a distance, enter with ease, and sometimes even start your engine remotely. The problem is that these fancy keys come at a high cost as I learned earlier this week.

You may recall that my wife and I recently purchased a new-to-us vehicle from Carvana. While the listing for the vehicle showed two key fobs included, only one was given to us to at pick up. Now, truth be told, my wife and I could probably do without a second key considering we have but a single house key and only had one key for our previous vehicle. However, since these fobs are required to start the car (another potential downside of this “upgrade”) and batteries don’t last forever, we figured having any extra on hand would be a good idea.

Thankfully, when we contacted Carvana, they were able to issue an exception to their warranty plan, meaning they would pick up the tab for the second fob. Well, it’s a good thing they did because I was not prepared for how expensive this tiny piece of technology would be. It turns out that, with $75 in labor added to the price of the key itself, our total cost topped $300 when all was said and done!

Looking around online, it seems like there are a few places where you can order these fobs at a still-expensive-but-discounted price. Unfortunately, since these keys do need to be programmed to your vehicle, it seems likely that you’ll still need to take the car to your local dealership or authorized mechanic and pay them to program it for you. Plus, while I’m sure there are reputable online stores slinging these keys, I’d just as soon get them from the dealership to be sure.

In the event you do lose your spare key and, like me, worry about potentially not being able to start your car due to a dead fob battery, the good news is that the batteries themselves are fairly affordable. Therefore, it can’t hurt to keep an extra one handy. But, if you can at all help it, try not to lose your key fob — or it could end up costing you a pretty penny.


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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