‘When did car keys get so expensive?’

"A friend of mine just paid $350 for a replacement key!"

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Q: When did car keys get so expensive? I recently purchased a new Jeep Grand Cherokee and the dealer wanted to sell me a “key-coverage” insurance policy just in case I lose my key. What is this all about? A friend of mine just paid $350 for a replacement key!

A: There was a time that a key was nothing more than something that opened a lock. Today the fob tells the car where it is, to automatically unlock the doors, and in some cases remotely start the car. All this technology has a cost attached to it. I have seen keys/fobs costing $1,000 or more. In some cases when the keys are lost, the car’s computer has to be replaced when the new keys are programmed. A $350 key is becoming more of the rule than the exception with many vehicles.

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John Paul, AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor, answers questions from drivers every week. He has 40+ years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician.

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