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What is a Universal Car Key?

You might be here because you’re looking for a key that can open every car, or because you’re looking for a universal car key replacement. Well, whatever your reason, we are here to explain what it means when we talk about universal car keys and what they do for your car.

Universal keys are usually the cheapest and quickest option for getting a new car key, especially when the alternative is getting a car brand specific key, as these usually take time to get ordered in, and are higher in cost due to the brand name.

Is There a Universal Key Fob?

Are car keys universal, yes and no! If you’re asking can car keys unlock other cars, then no. A car key is specially programmed to work with your car alone. However, a universal car key fob is a generic key that can be programmed to a wide variety of car makes and models.

Usually, you’ll be given the option of a universal key fob or a specialist brand fob from an Auto Locksmith as a car key replacement or for a spare car key. Universal car keys are car key remotes that usually offer three buttons and a flip blade and are usually the easiest option to get from an Auto Locksmith.

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Do Universal Keys Work?

Universal car keys work with your vehicle once they’ve be correctly programmed with your car’s computer. There is no such thing as a universal key that can open any door lock, whether your house or your car.

If your universal car key isn't working, there may be an issue with the battery or the programming. We’d suggest calling a local Auto Locksmith, they’ll be able to quickly identify the issue you’re having and offer a solution to resolve it. Need some advice? Call us on 01202 830625!

What Type of Car Key Can Be Cloned?

Universal key fobs such as smart car keys or remote car keys are the most at risk of being cloned. Old style mechanical car keys are harder to be cloned as they don’t ‘transmit’ information, as they simply go in the door lock and unlock/lock the car.


Remotes or smart keys, whether a universal car key or specialist brand model, that transmit a signal to lock and unlock the car are at risk of being cloned through a thief using an electronic car key relay box, which receives the signal and then uses it to unlock the car once you’ve walked away. However, many car manufacturers are working to tackle this issue and building security features to protect against these kinds of attacks.

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Should I Get Universal Key Cover?

Getting cover for your universal car central locking remote or checking if your insurance covers it is a good idea, to ensure your vehicle is protected and you won’t be without a car key if your car key gets lost or stolen, or it breaks and doesn’t work.


It’s worth noting that claiming on your car insurance to get a new car key replacement may affect your no claims discount and you might need to pay the excess cost, so it’s worth deciding if it’s worth it before going ahead. On the other hand, depending on the make and model of your vehicle you could be looking at a few hundred pounds or upwards, so you may find it worthwhile to make the claim.

How Do You Program a Universal Car Key Fob?

Universal car key fobs can be specially programmed to your car, however sometimes they need specialist diagnostic equipment to complete the programming process.  Depending on the make and model of your vehicle it may be a simple process, or a slightly more complicated one.

When you book an Auto Locksmith, they will be able to program your universal car key fob to your vehicle quickly and accurately, even from the comfort of your own home.

Contact Keytek Auto Locksmiths

If you’ve come this far and you’ve not found what you’re looking for, why not give us a call to get more information? Or if you’d rather us call you, fill out our form and we’ll give you a call back as soon as possible.

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