Is It Safe to Rekey Your Car’s Ignition? Or Should You Hire a Car Locksmith to Do It?

Your car is an expensive item and an asset. It is also something you need quite often and not a toy you can mess around with. So, like every other expensive item in your home, it is only logical that you have a number to call when something goes wrong with it.

Rekeying is just one of those things. You will go through the experience of having to do this at some point and you’ll really wish that you have a locksmith like to do this for you. And that’s not just because it’s easy and you don’t have to get your hands dirty. There’s sound reasoning behind this recommendation.

But what exactly is rekeying? And do you need an auto locksmith to do that?

What Is Rekeying?


The term sounds a bit technical but really it is just the process of changing the ignition chamberor the lock of the car so that it accepts a new key. Now, whether it is the ignition chamber or the lock, there are a whole set of tumblers and pins that must be cut precisely so that the grooves of the new key fit the way they should.

When you rekey the car, an auto locksmith typically starts by disassembling the chamber or the lock. And after the process is complete, the wafers must be completely replaced.

That’s how the old key becomes totally useless. As you can see, this might not be the most difficult thing to do but it does require knowing what you are doing. You might still be thinking that it’s something you can pull off. So, keep reading.

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Why Do It?


There are plenty of instances where you might have to have your car rekeyed.

For example, here’s scenario one.

Your car keys got stolen or maybe you lost them. You don’t know who might have access to them and hence your car. Now, what if they know where your car is usually parked and they might knick it the moment you step away?

Now, there’s scenario two.

If you just bought a used car, you don’t know how many copies of the key the previous owner had and who they might have given those keys to. Every time you can’t place your car keys, you don’t want to wonder if you’ve lost them and if someone might have access to your car.

You don’t want to waste time calculating the odds of that happening because there’s no telling how plausible it is. But as long as it is in the realm of possibilities, it is smart to be safe than sorry, as they say.

There’s scenario number three as well.

A lot of manufacturers talk about key combinations and they are finite. So, it’s completely possible that there is a twin for your car out there. And you don’t have to worry about the likelihood of a cloning confusion that ends up with you losing your car, do you?

That might seem like the plot of a lame sci-fi movie, but lean into it and you will see the possibility. Obviously, some of these are far-fetched theories. But you don’t want to be on the news or go viral on social media for being that one guy this happened to, right?

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Now, a lot of people want to do things themselves. And that’s admirable. But there are some areas that you should leave to the professionals because when it involves cars if you don’t get it right, you might cause more damage than what you started with. And no one wants that.

You will find a lot of tutorials online and DIY-ers might be tempted. But it doesn’t mean you won’t cause more damage. There is some amount of risk in taking the DIY path. And Robert Frost should forgive us for not recommending the road not taken in this particular instance.

Here are a few things you could go wrong with when you try to do it yourself.

  • You might have the wrong tools which is the absolute wrong way to fix things involving a car.
  • You don’t know for sure that you won’t make a mistake which might prove to be expensive.
  • You might not know the process for disassembling the ignition or lock without damaging the car.
  • You also need to know how to put things back in.
  • You need the new key to match the rekeyed lock which involves cutting the new key.

You might still think that you have answers to these questions or that they don’t seem all that difficult. But surely, there is no doubt that a licensed professional will have the ability to do this with ease and expertise.

Hiring a locksmith to rekey your car is the safest and most efficient way to ensure that the job is done correctly. Locksmiths have the necessary skills and tools to properly rekey a car without damaging the lock mechanism. Additionally, they can provide advice on the best type of lock for your needs and can install it correctly.

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How long does it take?


The amount of time required to rekey a car depends on the type of lock being rekeyed and the experience of the locksmith. Generally, rekeying a car can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. But, a professional locksmith should be able to provide an estimate of the time needed to complete the job.


That is just one of the reasons why DIY-ing this particular task is not recommended. Hiring a professional is the best way to rekey your car’s ignition. Most car locks can be rekeyed, though there are some exceptions. Most cars manufactured after the mid-90s can be rekeyed, though older models may require specialized tools and parts. It is best to consult a professional locksmith to determine whether your car can be rekeyed.

That is both safe for the car and easy for you. If you still feel that you can do this on your own, remember that we would strongly advise against it.