Lost Your Jeep Key and Have No Spare? Here’s What To Do Next!
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Lost Your Jeep Key and Have No Spare? Here’s What To Do Next!

It wasn’t so long ago that misplacing your car keys wasn’t that big of a deal. However, with new advancements in technology, the need for advanced security, and the sheer diversity of the type of cars on the market today, the complexity of today’s car keys make them far more difficult and expensive to replace than they used to be. 

If you’ve lost your Jeep key and have also misplaced your spare, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Many people depend on their vehicles daily to do just about everything, and to realize you may no longer have access to it—even if it’s only temporarily—can be extremely panic-inducing. Before you get too worked up though, take a breath! Losing your key is not the end of the world, even if it may feel like it. 

In this article, we’ll explore the things you can do before you have to make that call to a locksmith or head into your dealer to make handling this process a little bit easier. 

Table of Contents

First: Grab Your Owner’s Manual

The first thing you should reach for before anything else is your Jeep’s Owner Manual. Both locksmiths and car dealers will need the information present here to (1) confirm that you are the actual owner of the car and (2) to confirm the correct specifications for your car to get you the correct key. 

When you locate your manual, make sure to register the following: 

  • The model and version of your Jeep
  • The year it was manufactured 
  • Your registration 
  • The Title, and finally, 
  • The VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number

The dealer or locksmith will use all of this information to determine the type of key you need, a topic we will also explore a bit more in the section below. 

Know Your Key Type

When it comes to Jeep keys, there are a multitude of types—and understanding the type of key your Jeep uses to operate is crucial when it comes to dealing with getting a replacement.  

Just as with any other type of car, Jeep keys differ greatly depending largely on the year they were made. 

If you happen to have a model that was made in mid-90’s or sooner, then you may have a bit of an easier time with the replacement process than newer Jeeps produced afterwards. This is because back then, Jeeps (as well as other types of cars) tended to use a plain standard key that had no extra electrical or other more sophisticated technologies. But newer models today may have several variations of advanced keys, which also vary in price. 

Regardless of the year or model, the type of key your Jeep uses will typically include one of the following:

  • Transponder Chip Keys
  • Remote Key Fobs, and
  • Regular Ignition Keys 

Now that we know a little more about the types of key your Jeep may utilize, we’ll delve a little deeper into each of these types and the models of the cars they’re typically associated with. 

Transponder Chip Keys

You’ll find that many models of Jeep released during the late 1990’s feature Transponder Chip Keys used for anti-theft purposes. These keys are often also associated with the Cherokee, Commander, and Compass line of Jeeps. 

Transponder keys contain a special microchip that transmits a low-level radio signal for a special receiver (called an RFID, or radio frequency identification receiver) in your Jeep to read. Manufacturers program these microchips with unique serial numbers that can lock or unlock your car doors by the RFID detecting the correct serial number in your key. 

Your locksmith or dealer will need to set up your new key correctly for the locks and the ignition system to work correctly. Unfortunately, this also usually translates to an increase in cost for replacement keys that utilize this technology. 

Remote Key Fobs

Remotes that are used for keyless entry into your vehicle are often known as “key fobs.” Keys that utilize this technology are always in communication with your car, and, as a result, allow you to have much greater access to it. 

And while this type of key has plenty of advantages, it also comes with one huge drawback: when you lose it, it’s often much more expensive to replace. 

When you keep in mind that many lines of Jeep also often pair remote fobs with transponder keys, then it’s not too difficult to see why the costs of replacing these key types can be rather high. 

Regular Ignition Keys

Since cars were first invented, the technology in them has remained relatively unchanged until more recent times. If you happen to have a slightly older model of Jeep (from about the mid-90’s or older), then this is something you can definitely utilize when trying to get a new spare! 

While not necessarily the most secure, these keys are more widely available, and are thus much less expensive to replace than the other types listed in this article. 

Dealer or Locksmith? (And General Costs)

The general cost of getting a replacement key will be somewhere between $30-$430, depending largely on the type of key, make, year, and model of your Jeep.

While it may make sense at first to go straight to your dealer, this usually is way more inconvenient and time-consuming than going to a locksmith, as you will likely have to deal with additional paperwork as well as other technical things your dealer will have to go over with you. 

Locksmiths can generally provide the same keying services your dealer can at a much lower price—though it’s also wise to get quotes from a few different ones since locksmithing fees have no set structure and each locksmith can set their own rates. 

Final Thoughts

It’s never fun when you realize you’ve lost your keys and can’t get into your car. Though it can often be a frustrating process, there are steps you can take to make things easier for yourself so you’re not overly stressed over worrying about what to do next. 

While it’s wise to keep a few spare keys on hand at all times, hopefully this article has shed some light on the steps you can take should you ever find yourself needing a new one! 

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