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ooglek

Key Shell Replacement, Cutting For Switchblade-Type Keys

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I'm looking for the best, least expensive way to get a replacement key shell for my 2002 Lexus IS300 key. The transponder still works. I can easily find new shells with blank keys on eBay (search "lexus key shell" and you'll find many, at the time of this writing most are $5 including shipping).

What I'm having trouble with is finding information about some of the online dealers like TransponderIsland.com or DinoDirect.com or Keylessride.com and if anyone has had a good experience.

I'm in the Northern Virginia (Washington DC) area, and would also like to know if anyone knows of a locksmith who can cut "switchblade"-type keys inexpensively.

Keylessride.com: $29.95 for the key, $40 for cutting == $69.95

TransponderIsland.com: $14.95 for the key, $29.95 for cutting == $44.90

Ebay + Local Baldino's: $5 for the key, $40 for cutting == $45

I've got two keys, so if anyone knows where to get switchblade-type keys cut in the Falls Church, VA area, I'd appreciate the reference.

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Be aware that 99% of the "uncut" shells on ebay are aftermarket, NOT original. They're made of cheap plastic and the metal is crap. Look closely and you'll see the poor quality of the plastic shell and how the blades do not have the same grooves.

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Be aware that 99% of the "uncut" shells on ebay are aftermarket, NOT original. They're made of cheap plastic and the metal is crap. Look closely and you'll see the poor quality of the plastic shell and how the blades do not have the same grooves.

I'm not sure the plastic on my original OEM key isn't also cheap and the metal isn't crap. Obviously I don't want to get something that I'll have to replace again soon, but I also am not really interested in spending $100 for more expensive plastic. If it was carbon fiber, I'd be willing, but it's plastic -- and I'm not looking for ultra-high quality here, just functionality and something that will last another 8 years.

How many have you purchased and evaluated off of ebay cduluk? How long ago was it and what buyer or company did you get it from? If your information is 2+ years old, maybe things have changed? If not, is there a good source for OEM good quality shells on the cheap?

Thanks for the reply!

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Anyone else replaced the shell/blank on their Lexus key? I'd love to hear more success or failure stories so I can figure out who to give my money to! :-)

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Two of my keys broke. One time I had to go give my cracked key to my wife whose key completely broke in half and left her stranded. Luckily at a Barnes & Nobles. I bought three of those replacement keys off of ebay and had a key shop cut me a new key. I think I paid about 25$ total. The keys I got from ebay are the same quality as the keys that came with the car. Cheap plastic is cheap plastic. My Subaru keys are much better. Hope this helps.

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I've "accidentally" bought the after-market keys on ebay, and i could tell the difference right away. I'm not too concerned with longevity, it's "quality" and "feel" that concerns me. This happened about 3 months ago when i was working on my key mod (see the link in my signature) and they're still up on ebay.

There are a couple after-market keys on ebay.

Here's the worst of the worst. No ridges in the blade (which guide it into the ignition cylinder) and the plastic mold leaks along the edges (not smooth). The plastic case isn't "rounded" as the OEM shell is, it has sharper angles.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Key-SHELL-Blade-LEXUS-ES-300-GS-LS-LX-RX-SC-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem4aa431b300QQitemZ320582300416QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories

Here's another... A little better, at least it has the ridges in the blade, but the shell has foreign lettering on it.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/LEXUS-3-Buttons-Remote-Key-Case-Shell-Cover-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem2c55850360QQitemZ190413341536QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories

Here’s the one I got. Blade’s not bad, but the "flat" part at the tip isn't long enough, so it often got caught in the ignition. And the shell is crap. The emblem is plastic with some yellow chrome covering (that chipped when I tried to get it out) and the plastic isn’t of the same “texture” as the OEM one.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2002-2009-LEXUS-SC430-REMOTE-KEY-REPLACEMENT-SHELL-CASE-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQfitsZMakeQ3aLexusQQhashZitem3a5dcf45e0QQitemZ250681968096QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories

There’s a way to tell whether it’s OEM or not. The fake shells have sharper angles, and aren’t as rounded as the OEM ones.

2mqq5w0.jpg

If you hold a new OEM key and an after-market one, you’ll feel the difference. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t be driving a Lexus…

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I bought three of those replacement keys off of ebay and had a key shop cut me a new key. I think I paid about 25$ total. The keys I got from ebay are the same quality as the keys that came with the car. Cheap plastic is cheap plastic.

It does, thanks!

There’s a way to tell whether it’s OEM or not. The fake shells have sharper angles, and aren’t as rounded as the OEM ones.

Is there an inexpensive way to find/buy the OEM key shells? Or will I be paying out the nose for it? It doesn't look like this one is really OEM:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/LEXUS-REMOTE-KEY-SHELL-LS430-01-06-LS-430-03-UNCUT-OEM-/280555836381?pt=Car_Audio_Video&hash=item41526e53dd

Though I must say that after reading your key mod, and though I may be very interested in having such a sexy key, I think my standards of quality are simply that the keys work and less about how lux they feel. I'm a man of function in this case; I love my car, but I'm not quite the aficionado you are! Your taste is exquisite, and though I wish I had the time, patience, money and talent you have, I have two young kids and a less than careful-with-nice-things lifestyle that usually leads to nice things breaking a lot. :-)

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Is the back of the key or the front of the key broken?

The back of the key is molded to the blank, but the front is like a cover. You can buy just that cover online and it may solve your problem.

These keys are TERRIBLE!

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Is the back of the key or the front of the key broken?

The back of the key is molded to the blank, but the front is like a cover. You can buy just that cover online and it may solve your problem.

These keys are TERRIBLE!

Well, cash over style, I found a post somewhere on the Intarwebs about an eBay seller named rocket_keys ( now 1010keys on eBay ) that sold two cut empty shells for $39.99 shipped. It was the path of least resistance and was in the ballpark price I was willing to pay.

The keys are fully functional and the shells are solid. Everyone who said the build quality, plastic feel and overall crappy design were correct. The shell is a tad larger than the original, which takes a hair more effort to press the buttons. The edges are not smooth where the top and bottom come together, and as mentioned, the overall feel is equal to the cost: low.

But at the end of the day, I was looking for inexpensive and functional, just not high quality. You only ever get to pick two, right? This was an acceptable compromise for me. If I had more money to spend, I'd probably get the OEM keys, but with the cost of the OEM shells being like $40-$60/piece, plus cutting fees of $20-$60 each, plus the driving around I'd have to do to get it done, two new keys (both broke around the same time) would have cost me $150-$200, and it just wasn't a place I was willing to spend that much when a less expensive functional alternative existed.

cduluk was absolutely correct -- the fakes suck. But they work, and if you need a cheap alternative, the 1010keys eBay seller is a functional alternative to the nicer, albeit more expensive, OEM shells.

I'd love a set of keys like the cduluk customs, but I have other places my time and money need to go at the moment. Happy Recession!

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I have a 1994 ls400. my key is a remote key the top part where you put on keychain is broke.I want to replace it with a remoteless key so i can put it on my keychain. My question is. Can i just go to a locksmith and buy a remoteless key. and have it cut and it will start my car?

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I have a 1994 ls400. my key is a remote key the top part where you put on keychain is broke.I want to replace it with a remoteless key so i can put it on my keychain. My question is. Can i just go to a locksmith and buy a remoteless key. and have it cut and it will start my car?

Yes, that will work fine since the early LS keys were not equipped with a transponder. I had several extra keys made for my previous 92 LS that way, and although finding a locksmith with the correct key blanks and equipment can be challenging, they are much less expensive than an OEM key.

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What I can't figure out is why somebody hasn't taken Lexus / Toyota to court for their poor quality keys. I see a lot of posts here and elsewhere warning me about the cheap plastic aftermarket keys. The original keys for my 2004 RX330 have a small screw holding the two halves of the shell together. These screws are extremely close to the edge of the plastic and v-shaped cracks quickly formed at the screws on both keys. Soon after the cracks formed, one of the key's shell came apart and the transmitter fell out. I ordered a replacement online from Ebay. It was shipped to my house from Hong Kong for $3.99. A local locksmith ground the key for $20.00. I also ordered silicone covers to try to protect the new key and hopefully hold the other original together. Is my new key cheap? Yes. Is it of lower quality than the original? It really doesn't appear to be. Honestly, who knows? My question would be this; why should any of us have to pay anything at all to replace a key that fell apart due to lack of quality in the first place? Lexus should be apologizing and recalling these keys instead of charging us a fortune to replace them with duplicate poor quality. These keys should have lasted the life of the car unless they were run over by the car (In truth, when keys were all metal, even running over it with the car would probably not have broken it). If any of you are lawyers (and I would think lots of lawyers drive a Lexus) maybe you should consider starting a class action lawsuit. I am willing to join it right now. I would bet everybody who has ever had to replace a key that just fell apart would also join.

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To cduluk: Your comment that you are not too concerned about longevity, It's "quality" and "feel" that concerns you. This has me stumped. The quality of my original keys was lacking in the first place. Quality equals longevity. And feel? I hate the feel of the silicone cover I placed over the keys to try to keep the new cheap key from breaking and and the original poor quality key from falling apart. Unless you lost your previous keys, you shouldn't have had to spend your time and money obtaining new keys. Lexus owes you an apology and two keys that will last the life of your car. True quality would be for Lexus to admit they cut corners on the keys and replace everybody's keys with something that will not fall apart in our hands.

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