Looking for a cheap car key? You can save a lot of money, but also waste money too. In this article, we’re going to tell you about eBay car keys to avoid.
There’s no problem with eBay itself. It’s a great place to find unusual items and second-hand bargains and even most new items quickly and easily. We understand why you’d want to buy a car key from eBay.
After all, a car key that would normally cost £150 can be bought off eBay for £10.
Unfortunately there’s a problem.
eBay Car keys to Avoid – Why can’t I buy one?
The car manufacturers have screwed you over. Let’s look at the problem.
Do you remember the old days of burning CD’s? Car keys are very much like this.
There are two types of CD’s. One of them can be written over and over again. It’s a CD-RW and if you mess up the recording, no bother, just do it again.
Then there’s the other type, CD-R’s. When you burn these, you get one chance. Once it’s burnt, right or wrong, you either have a good CD copy, or it has to go into the bin!
eBay car keys to avoid – Problem 1
Ok, lets get back to car keys, so it all makes sense.
Unfortunately, as of 2019, most car keys are the same as CD-R’s. This means that once a key has been programmed once to a car, it cannot be coded in to another car again. This is like the ‘used’ key in the photo above.
The car key electronics are full of information. However when they are new, the have some empty space. This space on the car key electronics chip is ready to accept the information from the first car that it’s programmed to.
The car details are ‘burnt’, or written into the key. It’s like a handshake between the car and key, and when it’s done, that’s it. The empty space on the key has been filled up.
That car key can never be coded to a different car again, ever.
Is there a way to make a used car key work again?
Well yes. Ok, there is some very specialist equipment available, that can change a programmed key into a ‘virgin key’, but it’s very unusual. We don’t have it. We don’t know any Auto Locksmiths with it. The equipment ‘unlocks’ the key, so fresh new data can be written to it.
We looked through over 200 eBay adverts and none mentioned that the key had been ‘unlocked’.
So yes, in theory, it can be done.
If there’s a company that sell eBay car keys, and they state that it has been ‘unlocked’, then that is one of three problems overcome
However, if it’s just a regular seller, getting rid of their old spare car key that’s been stuck in a drawer, then you must avoid this.
There are two other problems with buying car keys online.
eBay car keys to avoid problem 2
Is it the correct key for your car?
Even though you may get hold of a ‘virgin key, that’s been refreshed and made like new, how do you know if it’s the correct key?
Let’s look at ink you buy for your printer at home.
Have you had the frustration of buying an ink cartridge, opening up all the packaging and finding out it’s the wrong one for what you need?
For a start, it won’t fit into your printer, and then the shop don’t want it back because no-one wants to buy an ink cartridge that’s been opened! This is why they add numbers to ink cartridges, so you get the correct part number.
This is the problem you have with buying used car keys.
When you’re looking at Ford, the choices are very basic, and the chances are that you have the correct part number, the correct key for your car.
However, as soon as you leave Ford, you’re in big trouble.
Peugeot and Citroen Keys
There are about twenty different car keys that look the same. They may have 2 or 3 buttons, but they look similar. Unfortunately, they all have different part numbers.
pic of many different types of psa key together
Despite what eBay sellers advertise, most Peugeot and Citroen keys will only fit one model of car. The reasons are that there are four different shape of key blade, different button types and the electronics are not compatible between different models.
Therefore there’s a problem if we look at this type of eBay advert
The key blade for a Peugeot 407, is different to that of a 207 and 307 and 308. So obviously, this key blade shape will not fit into half the models listed. It’s not rocket science.
The next issue, is the buttons. So on this key, there are two, and on a 407 there are three. So it won’t work. It’s not as if you’ll miss out on a button, it means that the key will not programme so it will end in the bin.
eBay car keys to avoid problem 3
Finding someone to cut and code your eBay key.
There’s a bit of a problem with getting your car key cut. We’re learning that large national brands, are refusing to cut any car keys that have not been sold by them.
When you look on Amazon at the reviews, some of the bad reviews are not actually about the quality of the car key.
The reason they leave such bad reviews are that buyers are struggling to find someone to cut the keys from eBay and Amazon.
So if you buy your own key from Amazon, and it’s a virgin key, and it’s the correct key, there’s still the problem of getting the key cut.
Our advice it to find a local Auto Locksmith that understands what you’ve bought and what you need. If you’ve got a good key, then a local specialist will look at it and know whether they want to touch it or not.
We’re more than happy to cut and code keys that customers bring in, because we know which eBay car keys to avoid. As long as a customer is honest about where they got it, and can show us the listing, we’ll check it out before we touch it.
If you have a good quality car key that you have got from eBay or Amazon, there’s no reason for us not to cut and code it. Whereas, if you bring in something bad to us, we’ll not touch it. We’ll explain why and actually save you money. There’s no point throwing good money after bad!
All good independent Auto Locksmiths have the skills to make a sensible decision.
eBay Car Keys to avoid Checklist
- Is it a ‘virgin’ key – avoid anything that says ‘used’.
- Is it the correct key for your car? – A good eBay or Amazon seller will be able to tell you if it’s compatible.
- Can you find someone to cut and code your car key? Talk to a local expert first, before wasting money on something that you can’t get cut.
Let us know how you get on. If you find a really helpful Auto Locksmith that deserves a mention, leave it in the comments below.