Bent Car Key – What should I do?
Once upon a time, finding yourself with a bent car key was common. The older style, double-sided car key was prone to getting bent. However, it’s less common now with the new type of key with a groove. Therefore, when you do manage to bend your key, it’s very important that you do the correct thing. Don’t to try and bend it back, you may snap it!
What causes a bent car key?
There are several common causes, some can be avoided, other times you’re just unlucky. Here are a few that we have seen over the years, so you can avoid them.
- Opening a tin of paint or a parcel.
- Trying to dis-lodge a stone in the sole of a shoe.
- Leaving the key in the car door and someone bumping into them when passing by. This is common in a garage or car sales.
- Slamming a house or car door and the keys becoming trapped in between the door and the frame.
- Trying to turn the lock with the wrong key!
- Running over the keys with another vehicle.
We’ve seen all these situations, and I’m sure there are plenty of others out there. What you do with your bent car key matters a lot.
Can you still use your bent car key?
This is important, because it will save you the cost of having to use a recovery truck. Or it will save you the cost of a mobile Auto-locksmith coming out to you.
The first thing to try is can you still get into the car? If you have buttons that work on your key, then just press those to get in. However, if the buttons don’t work, or you have a more basic key, you’ll need to try the bent car key in the door lock.
You don’t want to make things worse here by having a bent or broken key in the lock. So, here’s our advice.
- Don’t try and straighten the key, it may crack and break.
- Try to slide the bent key into the door lock. Will it go in all the way? Now obviously, if it’s like a Banana then there’s no point trying.
- Gently turn the key to open the car. If the lock doesn’t want to turn do not force it. Avoid breaking the key in the lock at all cost.
- Once you’re in the car, again see if it will slide into the ignition ok and if it will, plan to get the car as soon as possible to a specialist key cutting company, or Auto-locksmith.
What’s the cheapest way to fix a bent car key?
Good news. If you’ve only bent the key, then all the expensive electronics should be working just as before (unless the car key has been run over!). Let’s assume they are all working well. There are three type of car keys we see, and all three can normally be repaired at a reasonable cost, compared to a new key. Your car key should fall into one of these three types.
Bent Car Key Type 1
The most common type of key we see now is the remote style with a flick-out blade. Common on Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat, and Vauxhall cars. A good Auto-Locksmith will be able to take your key apart, put the expensive electronics into a new repair key case, and then cut the blade to suit your car. This is a key repair service that all good Auto-Locksmiths will offer, and you should expect to pay around £35-£45, which is much cheaper than a new key.
Bent Car Key Type 2
The second type of bent car key we see is on the type where the key is made of two parts and the blade detaches from the body of the key. Examples of cars that use this type of key are some Fords, older style Astra, Corsa and Vectra and many of the new Nissan cars.
When this happens, it should be possible just to have just the key blade replaced at a cost of around £25. Make sure that whoever cuts your new key blade does not copy the old bent one. This is a bad practice and results in a fresh new key blade that has been copied from an old worn-out bent blade. It will just get you a new, shiny, worn out blade.
Bent Car Key Type 3
The last type of key we see is the old-fashioned key with no buttons. We used to replace alot of this type of bent car key, but they are less common now. When these are bent, it is very simple to cut a fresh key.
Unfortunately, this won’t start the car without a valid transponder chip. The cheapest way to get up and running is to remove the old chip from the bent key and re-use it.
This can be a bit tricky because some of the chips are made of glass so whoever does it, take care. When we remove chips from keys, we usually have a soldering iron at hand in case we need to melt plastic.
Can the dealer help me with my bent car key?
Probably not. We get on very well with the dealers in Lincoln and they’re filled with good, helpful people. However, they can only sell you what they are told, and they’re not allowed to do key repairs. It’s not that they’re trying to rip you off, the manufacturer constrains what they can sell. Click Here to read our take on why they cannot help you.
Sometimes, trying to fix your own key will make things worse for an Auto Locksmith or key cutting shop. We truly believe that the best thing you can do, if possible, is to get professional help from an independent. If there’s a local drop in centre then pop in and ask for help, advice is free! You may need to call an Auto Locksmith out to the car or get it recovered to your local garage. Talk to them first and see who they recommend.
Good luck, we hope this is helpful.