Can a Locksmith Create a New Key For a Lock If I Lost All the Copies?

by Hannah Stephens
duplicate machine make new key. Locksmith theme

Picture the scene: You arrive home, put your hand in your pocket and discover your house key is missing. Not just any key — your only key.

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While this situation is enough to raise even the most chilled-out homeowner's blood pressure, all is not lost. Locksmiths routinely make replacement keys, but can they replace them without the original? 

Can a Locksmith Make a Key Without the Original?

Locksmiths are able to make a key without the original using several techniques. It's a complicated job requiring significant skill, so you'll need to hire a qualified locksmith instead of a regular key cutter.

The most common way to recreate a missing key is to file a "key blank" (an uncut key) to the correct shape for the lock and insert it inside the lock cylinder. Turning the key against the lock pins creates tiny marks and impressions in the blank, showing the locksmith where to file it to produce the correct shape. 

Alternatively, the locksmith may look for a code printed on the lock itself or inside the lock's user manual. Entering this code into a device called a code cutter enables professionals to cut an exact replica of the missing key. However, not all locksmiths have code cutters on hand, and only major manufacturers code their locks and keys. Therefore, this method may not be viable if you have an older lock or one made by a smaller company.

Finally, the locksmith could try taking the lock apart, carefully examining the pins and attempting to reverse engineer a key to match. However, disassembling the lock is a method of last resort because it can damage the pins and is painstaking work. 

Before asking a locksmith to make a key without the original, consider whether doing so puts your security at risk. If someone finds your lost key and knows where you live, they could use it to access your home. Therefore, replacing or rekeying the lock is often safer (and sometimes cheaper) than getting a locksmith to replicate the existing key.

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Can a Locksmith Make a New House Key Without the Original or a Copy?

Your locksmith may ask you to prove ownership of your home before agreeing to make a new house key without the original. The cost of creating a new key depends on the complexity of the job, but This Old House says most locksmiths charge between $50 and $75 (CAD 68 and CAD 103) per hour. 

Locksmith services typically cost more in an emergency or after hours. If you've lost your keys and need a locksmith to reach your home quickly, expect to pay a higher hourly rate of $150 to $250 (CAD 205 to CAD 342).

Can a Locksmith Make a New Car Key Without the Original or a Copy?

If you've lost your only car key, you can often get a new one from the dealership you purchased it from or an auto locksmith. You'll need to prove ownership of the car before getting a new car key without the original. Car key prices vary significantly depending on the car's age and type, so your locksmith will need the following information:

  • Manufacturer and model
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Title
  • Car registration
  • Year of manufacture

The cost to replace your lost car keys depends on the key type. According to Metromile, can cost as little as $3 to $7 (CAD 4.10 to CAD 9.58). Meanwhile, you should expect to pay up to $250 (CAD 342) to replace an electronic key or fob.

Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. Systems, equipment, issues and circumstances vary. Follow the manufacturer's safety precautions. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of the Blog is subject to the

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Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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