How to Replace a Key for an Older (or Vintage) Vehicle

Written by Big Red Locksmiths on . Posted in Blog

Locksmith services Omaha NEWe know that most newer vehicles today have remote keyless entry fobs designed to do a number of things from locking and unlocking your doors, to popping the end gate, to starting the engine from a distance away. If your vehicle is newer than 2006, this is likely your reality to one degree or another depending on the make, model, and extravagance of your vehicle.

We also know that there are a number of cars still on the road that many would reference as “old school.” If you drive one of these, let’s call them “vintage” machines, then you have a somewhat simplified road ahead of you should you lose or break a key to your vehicle. As you work through the details of replacing that key, here are a few helpful tips to save you time in the process.

You’ll need your car’s VIN number.

No matter where you go to get a key replacement, you’ll need this little piece of information. In most cars, the VIN is located on the driver’s side dashboard and can be seen through the window, but it may also be located on a rear wheel well or the front of the engine block, in the trunk or door jam, or on the frame of the car between the carburetor and windshield washer. Happy hunting! You can also refer to the proof of insurance card that you carry in your glovebox. It should have the VIN number somewhere on that document.

Come prepared with the year, make and model of your vehicle.

To replace a car key knowing the year, make and model is essential so the professional locksmith can identify the specific kind of key needed for your car’s locking system. Find this information can be located by reviewing your proof of insurance card, just like your VIN number. 

Don’t try to recover a broken key from you lock.

If you have the unfortunate circumstance of a key breaking off in the lock, don’t try to go fishing to retrieve the broken pieces. The pieces won’t be helpful to any key professional who recreates a key for you and you will likely do damage to the lock itself, which will cause you to incur yet another repair.

Bypass the hardware store or dealership and go directly to a local locksmith.

This should be your first option. Local locksmiths work with keys and locks all day and they can open your car and then proceed to make you a new key for about half as much as it would cost to get a new key from your manufacturer or dealer. Hardware stores aren’t generally equipped to create new car keys (as opposed to simply copying them), and locksmiths have the precise equipment and expertise to create a new key for you. The older your vehicle, the better the odds that a locksmith will be able to help you with a replacement key.

Big Red Locksmiths knows keys and any vehicle-related key issue you could possibly bring to us, no matter the age of your vehicle. We’ve been opening car doors and replacing keys since 1992. Call us at 402-554-0499 to get your ride back on the road with a minimum of hassle and expense.



  • "Big Red Locksmiths provide GREAT service from start to finish! I have been very pleased with their work for many years! Fast reliable service always!"

  • "Big Red Locksmiths came highly recommended when I needed a duplicate key for my Ford truck. The personnel at Big Red were friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and efficient! I expected to wait some time for my key to be programmed, but I had barely become settled in the waiting area when my key was ready and waiting. The key has worked great with no problems! The key is sturdy and obviously high quality... unlike other places. It was a pleasure doing business with Big Red Locksmiths!"
  • "Great trustful service. I was in a late night pinch and Big Red locksmiths saved the night fast and with a smile. Any time of day I trust Big Red!"
  • "Unfortunately/fortunately I have had the need to use Big Red several times in the past. They are always so professional, on time, responsive and pleasant to work with. HIGHLY recommend putting them in your contacts so you have the number when you need it most."

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Big Red Locksmiths, Inc.

7611 Main St., Omaha, NE 68127

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