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How To Get A Replacement Motorcycle Key

The Ultimate Guide On How To Replace A Motorcycle Key

Do you own a motorbike? In this post, we’ll go over the ins and outs of motorcycle keys, how to replace a motorcycle key and common key problems. Keep reading for more information!


Types Of Motorcycle Keys Available

All motorcycle keys are not created equal. In fact, there are several different types of motorcycle keys that can be used to start your bike. Knowing what kind of key you have and how to use it is important for keeping your bike safe and secure. Here is a look at the different types of motorcycle keys and what you need to know about them before you replace a motorcycle key.

1. Traditional Metal Key

This is the simplest type of key, it doesn’t connect to any onboard electronics or engine immobilizer. It’s easy to copy and to replace a motorcycle key, but it also lacks the added security of other key types.

2. Plastic-Head Keys (Non-Transponder)

Essentially these bike keys resemble a transponder key but they lack the chip inside the plastic head of the key. They are very closely related to a traditional metal key and very to replace a motorcycle key.

3. Transponder Keys

As with newer model cars, newer motorcycles have transponder keys with a chip inserted into the plastic head. This transponder chip connects with the bike’s ECU or engine immobilizer when inserted into the ignition. They are a bit harder to replace a motorcycle key, and the transponder chips require programming in order to turn on your bike. You can read more about how to replace and program your remote.

4. Smart Keys

Keyless entry is all the rage in security features these days and motorbike keys are no exception. If you have a new motorcycle or a luxury model your bike may have this type of motorcycle key. These keys don’t have the physical metal ‘key’ but instead only the plastic key fob that sends electrical signals to disable the engine immobilizer and allow the engine to start. These typically use a push button to start and are often very difficult and costly when you want to replace a motorcycle key.


Common Reasons You Need To Be Replacing A Motorcycle Key

1. Keys stuck in the ignition

Typically, a stuck or jammed key happens when the key has been in the ignition for too long without being turned or when the bike is leaning at a slight angle. In some cases, weather conditions may also result in jammed keys. Cold weather can increase the chances of things seizing. It’s important to remain calm, assess the situation, and take appropriate action as needed. Before taking drastic action or calling a locksmith you can try thoroughly checking the ignition and trying to wiggle the key back and forth to free it. Don’t force it too much or it may snap, particularly in cold weather.

2. Damaged or broken keys

This is something that can easily follow having your key stuck in the ignition. However, there are many ways a key can become damaged. If your motorcycle key is damaged you might have difficulty inserting it into the ignition cylinder or getting the engine to turn over. If this is the case then you’ll need to replace a motorcycle key.

3. Lost the original key

If you have lost your motorcycle key, it’s completely understandable. One of the main reasons why losing keys is so common is that they tend to blend in with their surroundings. In addition, because most keys are relatively small and shiny, they are easily overlooked when we are in a hurry or distracted by other things going on around us.

While it’s certainly annoying, lost keys don’t have to be a massive drama. It is possible to replace a motorcycle key, depending on the type of key you have will determine where you can acquire them and how much this costs. However, it’s always advisable to avoid losing them in the future. A quick tip is to have a photo of your motorcycle’s vehicle identification number in your phone in case you need to get a motorcycle key replacement in a hurry.


How To Replace A Motorcycle Key

If you need to replace a motorcycle key, it’s easy to get a copy made. At Locksmith Tacoma, we can cut and program almost any model of motorcycle key, and have blank keys on hand at all times to replace a motorcycle key. Be aware that if you have a luxury brand of bike you may face more difficulty when you want to replace a motorcycle key since you may have to visit the dealership.

Although it’s much easier to let us handle it when you want to replace a motorcycle key, there are still other methods you can use to obtain a new motorcycle key.

1. Hardware Store

First, you’ll need to find a blank key that is compatible with your motorbike and its whole ignition cylinder. You’ll need the vehicle identification number in order to ensure you purchase the correct key and for security reasons. A store will only be able to replace a motorcycle key with a blade, a transponder key, or a traditional key. Key fobs will have to be purchased separately and programmed and will also need to be programmed to connect with your bike’s ignition system.

2. Locksmith

An experienced locksmith will have the equipment to replace a motorcycle key for most motorcycles on-site, including luxury bikes. They can provide the full service and even program the key. If you have a standard key, you can go to any locksmith or hardware store and purchase a motorcycle key replacement. However, if you have a transponder key, the process is more complicated. You’ll often need your bike’s VIN and you’ll have to provide proof of ownership when you want to replace a motorcycle key.

3. Online

It’s possible to purchase a motorcycle key online, however, it comes with a larger range of risks. Make sure the seller is reputable and ensure you know the exact type of key you need. You may need to have a locksmith from Locksmith Tacoma program and cut the key for you as well.

4. Hardware store

Hardware or specialist motorcycle parts stores should be able to replace a transponder or fob key. Depending on the model you need. In most cases they should be able to program it for you too, otherwise, you’ll have to program it yourself. If you need a simple traditional key cut and don’t have the original key, you’ll require motorcycle key blanks to cut the new key from.

5. Dealership

Naturally, you can purchase a motorcycle replacement key from a local dealership directly. Potentially even the same dealership you purchased the bike from. Just take into consideration that it will cost more than a mobile locksmith to replace a motorcycle key.


DIY: Programming A Motorcycle Key

Start by determining which type of ignition cylinder code your motorcycle key uses. There are three types of systems- fixed code, rolling code, and encrypted code. Most newer motorcycles use either a rolling code or an encrypted code system. On the ignition cylinder, you’ll find this 3 or 4-digit key code, in some cases this ignition code may not be clearly visible and you’ll have to loosen the ignition cylinder a little.

1. Fixed-Code System

This type of system does not require a programming sequence, only the correct key code needs to be applied to the ignition cylinder.

2. Rolling-Code System

In order to program a new key for this type of system, the motorbike must first be placed in what is called “programming mode”. To do this, you’ll need to use a specific procedure based on the make and model of your motorcycle. Once in programming mode, you will then be able to enter the code for your new key into the ignition cylinder.

3. Encrypted-Code System

This type of system requires an advanced programmer to reprogram the keyless entry remote or program a new key. The programming sequence is unique to each motorcycle, so the best option is to seek professional help from a certified locksmith.

If you’re having difficulty programming your key, it’s recommended that you consult with a licensed locksmith from Locksmith Tacoma for assistance. Our experts will be able to provide further guidance and help ensure that your new key works properly.


Dealership, Locksmith, Or DIY?

When it comes to programming or replacing a motorcycle key, there are a few different options available. Many dealerships have the equipment and expertise necessary to program keys quickly and easily and may be your only option if you have a newer model motorcycle that has keys with an encrypted key code. However, visiting the dealership can also be the most expensive option.

The second option is to use a locksmith from Locksmith Tacoma. While not all the other locksmiths will be able to program keys for motorcycles, we have the necessary tools and know-how and can always redirect you to the right place in case there are any difficulties. This can be a more affordable option than going to a dealership and usually faster as well.

The third option is to program the key yourself. This can only be done with some models of motorcycle, but it is generally not recommended unless you have experience with programming keys. If you do attempt to program the key yourself, it is important to follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging the bike or the motorcycle key.


How To Store Your Keys Safely

Many motorcycles have a master key type system, where the same key works for both the steering lock, ignition switch, gas tank, and rear seat. This does make it imperative to store your motorcycle key in a secure location at all times. Losing your motorcycle key and having to replace a motorcycle key will be the last thing you’ll want to be faced with so here are some quick tips that will hopefully help you avoid problems.

Get a spare

Make sure you have spare keys, so you’ll have two keys, or even a third key is a good idea. You’ll have that spare handy for future use, should you ever lose your motorcycle key. Then you should leave the spare in logical places, like with a family member or friend. That way you can access that spare key in a timely manner when you need it most.

Keychains and tracking technology

Motorcycle key chains may sound a bit old-fashioned but they’re really helpful. Your motorcycle key is a small, but important item and it’s pretty easy to lose. If you have a keychain with a clip, you’ll avoid the risk of it falling out of your pocket.

In terms of high-tech options, you can purchase and attach a Bluetooth tracker to your keychain. In the event you forget where you placed your keys, you will be able to identify the location with the ease of a smartphone app.




Are motorcycle keys universal?


Motorcycle keys are not technically universal in that they can be used on every bike. Your motorcycle key code and cut will be unique to your bike. However, your key will work in the rear seat, gas tank cap and ignition switch.


How much do replacement motorcycle key cost?


Replacement motorcycle keys can vary widely in price depending on a number of factors. Traditional metal keys tend to be much cheaper than a transponder or smart key. Additionally, the retailer you choose and any associated fees that may apply, such as shipping costs and handling charges, will also affect the overall price of your motorcycle key replacement.


If you want to get an accurate estimate of how much repairing or replacing your motorcycle key will cost, it is best to contact a few different dealerships, locksmiths or specialty stores. In general, you should expect to pay anywhere from $100 and much more for a completely new set of replacement motorcycle keys (it is always better to have a spare key!).


Want to know how a locksmith make a new key? – This page will give you an idea.


How many keys should you have for a motorcycle?


If you have a motorcycle, you should have at least two keys- a primary key and a backup. However, it doesn’t hurt to also have a third spare key. If you purchase a brand new motorbike you’ll be provided with three keys.


If you have more than one motorcycle, you should have a separate set of keys for each one. This will help to prevent confusion and ensure that you always have the right set of keys with you when you need them.


Do motorcycle keys have a ‘chip’ like with modern car keys?


The answer is yes, some motorcycles do have keys with chips. However, this is not the case for all motorcycles. Some models still use a traditional key that do not contain a chip. In general, whether or not a motorcycle has a key with a chip depends on the make and model of the bike. However, it is becoming more common for newer models to come equipped with this type of key.


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