So let me tell you all about my experience and story with what i have now dubbed, "the key fiasco". I managed to lose the only key I had to my car on a trip to watch Notre Dame & Oklahoma play. It was a long day on a party bus and then planting my butt on a bleacher seat, and my keys somehow fell out of my pocket. My backup or "spare" key got lost in my move from Cincinnati to Indianapolis, so I was SOL!
My car (2011 Mazda 3 S Sport) was parked in a Meijer parking lot (where the part bus picked me up) under a light in a pretty safe area. I didn't realize I didn't have my keys until we got back to the parking lot Saturday night. After an exhaustive search of the party bus, I realized they were a goner. Since all Mazda dealerships are closed on Sunday in Indianapolis, I was SOL. My search for resolution began.
The dealership wanted to charge me up around $375 - $450 plus the cost of towing to cut me one new switchblade key with FOB!!! Needless to say I wasn't thrilled and new that there had to be a cheaper way. I started going round and round looking for locksmiths or anyone else who can help me.
I ran into a company called High Tech Locksmith (hightechlocksmith.com) who said they could do everything right there in the parking lot from their mobile van. I did some research and they were nationwide and a pretty reputable company. Great BBB reviews and local reviews were great too. I called the guy and he quoted me $160 for 2 basic (non switchblade - without keyless entry fob) keys. That was the price for programming, key cuts, keys, and everything out the door. At this point I had done my research and knew that in order for me to get anywhere, I needed 2 keys and the price seemed like the best I was going to get for price. I set the appointment for Tuesday afternoon.
The guy from High Tech Locksmith showed up and it was one of the most impressive and fascinating things that I have ever seen. First he was able to use the pillow and door hanger trick to get my door open. From there he checked my ID and my registration to make sure it was indeed my car. Next, he popped off a cover from the inside of my driver side door seal and unscrewed the housing that held my actual handle in place to the outside of the door. He then pulled my handle out of my door and on the inside of my door, sure enough, my 5 digit key code needed for cutting and stored in the Mazda database. He then went back into his van and typed this code in and within 2 minutes had 2 brand new keys cut that would lock and unlock my doors and also turn my ignition, but not start the car (programming was still needed). Next he pulled out a tablet looking device that had a cable and plug attached to it. He plugged the female end of the cable into a socket next to the kick panel on the driver side. Typed on the tablet, put the first key in, programmed it. Put the second key in, programmed it. Next thing I know he turns the ignition, and boom... MY CAR STARTED!!! He had everything cut, programmed, complete, put back together (remember he popped my door handle off), and good to go in less than 9 minutes!!! I was fascinated!
So now that my initial crisis was over, it was on to find a key fob so I could still utilize my keyless entry part of my car. On EBay I was able to find a switchblade key fob (like new - used) with a blank key blade for $39.99. I was skeptical of it because the dealer wanted to charge $290, but thought it was worth a $40 gamble. They key came in two days and the only way I could tell it was used was because the trunk release button was faded. I first decided I would try programming the keyless entry function to see if it would accept and unlock my doors. The programming steps were easily located via an internet search and I also listed them below:
Youíll need access to all the FOB units that you want to enable for the vehicle. Apparently you can only have three active FOBs at the same time, so donít try and program more than that.
~ Open the driver side door
~ Lock and then unlock the door using the button on the door. Leave the door open.
~ Insert a key into the ignition and turn the car to the ON position. Leave for about 2 or 3 seconds, then turn off. Repeat this two more times (3 in total). Leave the key in the slot in the OFF position.
~ Close the driverís door. Then open it. Then close it. Then open it. Then close it. Then open it.
~ The onboard computer will respond by locking and unlocking all the doors at this point. That means itís ready to accept FOB programming
~ Press a button on each FOB unit to program it to the computer.
~ When you are done programming FOBs, you can simply remove the key, which causes the computer to cycle the door locks once more.
I found that you need to do these steps in no more than 20-25 seconds for the sequence to be accepted and be able to be programmed. It took me 3-4 times to get it right, but by the time I did, it was obvious that I did it right (the lock cycling back and forth and everything).
At this point I had a working fob, but still had the plain old key blank. I wanted to avoid carrying both the switchblade fob with blank key and the basic key the locksmith cut me, so I was out to get my key blank cut. I set off for the Mazda dealership and got back to the parts counter. I told my sob story of what happened with my key and told the guy at the parts desk what I wanted to do, and he cut the key blank on the switchblade fob for free!! He did however tell me that I would have to pay for programming. Since I already had figured out the programming sequence, I told him it wouldn't be necessary but would appreciate the free cut. He did ask me if I had the key code, as its always better to cut off the code rather than just duplicate my key. I had wrote the key code down from where the locksmith popped my door handle off, so I was good to go. He cut my key and handed it to me and told me good luck with programming. I went out to my car and had my 2 "basic" transponder keys, so programming a third was going to be easy. I followed the steps listed below:
To allow a spare key to start the car, you need to start out with two working keys for the Mazda. This is security precaution to make sure someone with one key canít activate another one, for example, a valet who has the key. If you only have one key, youíre out of luck and will have to take the car to Mazda to have it done. In fact, many people recommend buying a spare key and doing this procedure so that you always have three working keys around (you only receive two when you buy the car). That way if you lose one, you still have the ability to do this procedure on your own.
Here is how you do it:
~ Insert the first working key into the key slot and turn the ignition to ON. Wait about 5 seconds, then remove the key.
~ Insert the second working key into the key slot and turn the ignition to ON. Wait about 5 seconds, then remove the key.
~ Insert your new/spare key into the key slot and turn the ignition to ON. Wait about 5 seconds, then turn to OFF. This should add that keyís information to the onboard computer and allow it to start the car.
After doing that (in the parking lot of the Mazda dealership), I was done. I now have 2 "basic" transponder keys that will manually lock/unlock my doors and start my car, and one switchblade fob with will keylessly lock/unlock my car and start it.
I was very confident in the procedure so I decided to buy another switchblade FOB online so I would have a spare and 4 working keys. I'm waiting for that to come in the mail. Once I have that, I will post a video that shows how to program both.
Overall, it was a $250 adventure for 2 basic keys and 2 fob keys all created from scratch. Not too bad considering what the dealership wanted to charge!!
Hope this helps!