Today auto companies have consumers by the keys. And none do so more than Mercedes Benz and Toyota which require some consumers to get a new computer to get a new key. With the advent of smart keys with embedded computer chips, the days of a consumer going to the local hardware store to get a replacement have all but vanished. CAS found the average price of a smart key from a dealer is $152 versus $12 for a mechanical key. If one has to replace a computer to get a new smart key, the costs soars to $2,200 for a Toyota and $3,600 for a Mercedes.
Whether it is a new smart key costing over $150 or a new computer/key system costing $2,000 to $4,000, auto companies have used smart keys to wring money from unsuspecting consumers who are not told that they face replacement key costs up to $300 or at least 10 to 15 times what they have paid for replacement keys in the past. In the worst case scenarios, consumers may have to buy a new computer to get a new key at a cost of 100 to 200 times what they have paid for replacement keys in the past. While they wait up to 8 weeks for a replacement computer, they have no use of their vehicle adding to the unforeseen cost imposed on the owner.