What Is Automotive Key Cutting?

Maybe you’ve been in a situation where you need another car key and didn’t
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Maybe you’ve been in a situation where you need another car key and didn’t have one. If this is your current predicament then you know firsthand how frustrating it can be that it’s not always a simple process to get another copy or replacement car key.

Unlike house keys or apartment keys that can easily be copied on a key-cutting machine found at local convenience stores, car keys are more complicated to create. To get another key, you’ll have to find a dealership or other place that offers automotive key cutting services.

Consider these reasons to look for a key cutter.


There are plenty of reasons why you might need an extra key. Even if you’ve never lost your original car key, it’s always a good idea to have a key replacement on hand in the case of emergencies. It’s also just a wise idea to have another key if you and your spouse or maybe even your children share a vehicle. This way, each person can have a copy of the car key on their lanyard or keychain without worrying about passing it back and forth.

What is key cutting and how does it work?


To put it simply, key cutting is using metalworking to duplicate a pre-existing key. A key cutting machine does this by making a copy of the current key’s teeth by tracing the teeth of the original key with another part of the machine.

This part will grind the replication of the original key’s teeth into the blank key. Once this process is finished, you’ll have an exact copy of the original key. However, you should note that most common key machines, like Minute-Key brand machines, usually only work for standard keys like a house key.

Learn more about the different kinds of car keys.


Automotive keys are more detailed than traditional keys. This is for various reasons, one of which is the numerous kinds of car keys that are sold. Not to mention, these keys have changed over the years resulting in different methods of key duplication.

More specifically, car keys now come in the form of smart keys, some even having a keyless entry. Some cars don’t even require a key to start their engine. Nowadays, manufacturers are even making newer vehicles without keys. These new cars can be opened by installing a specific app from the car manufacturer on your cell phone and using Bluetooth to take the hassle out of having a spare key on hand.

In addition to these newer types of keys, there are still vehicles out there that use mechanical car keys or a key fob for locking and unlocking. The mechanical component of these keys still uses a key cutting machine just like any traditional key does. There are also laser cut keys that are similar to mechanical keys, the only difference being a key cutting machine uses a laser to replicate the key.

Where can you find key cutting services?


Now that you’re well aware of the different kinds of automotive keys, you might wonder where exactly you can get your key copied? The answer is a bit complicated. Generally speaking, mechanical keys can be copied at some common hardware stores like Ace Hardware stores. For a standard key, they’re cut with a key duplicator machine.

With all of this in mind, it’s safe to say that key replacement services for standard keys are a bit simpler than key fobs that likely require more time for programming. Keep this in mind when getting a car key replacement and remember to call your dealership or local hardware store to get the rundown on their automotive key cutting services.