Can an Automotive Locksmith Make a New Key Without the Original?


Losing your car keys or having them stolen can be stressful and inconvenient. Being locked out of your vehicle means you can’t drive to important appointments or use your car as needed. 

While some people keep a spare key hidden in their vehicle or inside their home, many need a backup key readily available in an emergency situation. In this case, an automotive locksmith may be able to craft a new functional key without the original to reference. 

This introduces the question – can an automotive locksmith make a new key from scratch without examining the original? Making a replacement key requires extensive technical skills and specialised automotive locksmith tools. 

Through processes like code cutting, impressions, and transponder programming, experienced professionals have methods for decoding factory-installed security systems and key codes. In this article, we will explore the capabilities of automotive locksmiths and under what circumstances they may be able to cut a new key without having the original key on hand as a reference point. 

We’ll consider the factors determining if this is possible for a given vehicle and what additional steps or costs may be involved in recreating a functional replacement key from memory.

Key Replacement Without the Original: Can It Be Done?

Losing your keys can be a hassle, especially if you need the originals to get a duplicate made. But is it possible to get replacement keys made without the original keys? The answer is yes; it can be done through a process called key cutting by code or impressioning

Locksmiths are specially trained to make replacement keys without having the original key. They will first examine the lock to determine the manufacturer and model. This gives them clues as to the cut of the key needed. Then, they will use special tools and techniques like impressions or code cutting to decode the pattern needed to operate the lock. 


This involves carefully manipulating the lock’s pins and reading the markings left behind to cut a new blank key. While it takes more time and skill than duplicating from an original key, an experienced locksmith can open most residential locks and successfully make replacement keys this way. 

The key may not work on the first try, but with multiple attempts, they usually succeed. The process can be more complicated for vehicle ignitions and commercial locks, but many locksmiths offer this service. 

Advanced Techniques and Technology

Over the years, locksmiths have developed increasingly advanced techniques and technology to assist in replacing keys without the original. Here are some examples:

Code Cutting Machines

Sophisticated machines can decode common residential and vehicle lock designs by analysing biting patterns under a microscope. This helps speed up the process compared to manual code cutting.


Laser Impressioning 

A high-precision laser slightly burns the lock’s pins to leave extremely detailed imprints of the cuts needed for the key. This laser reading technique improves success rates, especially for more complex locks.

Decoders and Pick Guns 

Electronic decoders can be coupled with pick guns to manipulate the lock’s pins and precisely read the positions required for the duplicate key. This works well for automotive locks with transponder chips.


DNA Key Cutting 

A cutting-edge method that uses a microscopic 3D scan and molecular “DNA profile” of the lock’s unique internal features to derive the ideal key code mathematically. It provides an alternative for replacing keys of rare or high-security locks.

Artificial Intelligence 

AI and machine learning algorithms are now assisting locksmiths by cross-referencing lock patterns with databases to predict codes, accelerate the process, and minimise errors compared to fully manual impressions. The technology continues to advance each year.

FAQs About Key Replacement

How long does it take to make a replacement key without the original?

The time can vary depending on the lock complexity, but on average, it takes 30-60 minutes for most residential locks. More secure locks may require an hour or more.

Will the replacement key work 100%?

While locksmiths are highly skilled, there is no guarantee the first key attempt will work due to the variables in each lock. But a good locksmith usually succeeds within a few tries for residential locks.

What if I’ve changed the locks since losing my keys?

Even if you’ve replaced the locks, locksmiths may still be able to deduce the new key codes depending on the lock brand/model. They can also use impressioning techniques to read the new pin positions.

Is this service available for vehicles, too?

Many mobile locksmiths offer a key replacement for cars, though it may take longer than homes. The process works best for common vehicle models – rare or high-security keys are more challenging.

Do I need any documentation to prove ownership?

Unlike key duplication, locksmiths replacing keys without the original may ask for ID, rental/lease agreements, or other proof of address/ownership for security purposes.

Connect with Express Locksmiths

When faced with the predicament of needing a new key for your vehicle without the original, an automotive locksmith can indeed be your saviour. Express Locksmiths Gold Coast, renowned for their expertise and efficiency in the field, are the go-to professionals for such situations. 

With their advanced tools and extensive knowledge, they can create a new key for your car, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free experience. Don’t hesitate to contact Express Locksmiths today and let their skilled locksmiths provide you with the key solution you need swiftly and reliably. Your vehicle will be back on the road in no time, thanks to their exceptional services.