Sources other than dealers for extra key fobs

Chevy Bolt EV Forum

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Jan 28, 2021
2020 Bolt LT

We received two key fobs when we bought the Bolt last weekend, but I'm a paranoid guy and want to have a backup at my house in case of a catastrophe. The local Chevy dealer has quoted me $243 for the fob plus $160 for the programming (I'm assuming that the total cost includes making sure that the emergency door key is correct). The instructions in the owner's handbook are pretty straightforward and we have two good units right now, so it shouldn't be a problem for me to do the programming. That puts the cost at $243, which isn't too bad by modern automaker ripoff standards, but I want to see if it's possible to shave more off the total. That would mean ordering from a third party vendor.

I'd suspect that this Forum has discussed this subject at various times, but what I found in terms of recent threads didn't have much in the way of identifying recommended 3rd party vendors for the unprogrammed fobs. Any suggestions? If so, how much? And does the cost include the proper emergency door key? If not, any ideas of what a local locksmith would charge for grinding (if that's what they do these days) the door key to match my vehicle?


Nick in Palm Springs
We have 2 Bolts and a Volt; and had lost the Volt fob at one point. After numerous unsuccessful programming attempts with used ebay fob, I ended up purchasing a virgin fob & metallic key here:
(search for your particular vehicle)

and it programmed per manual instruction. I would imagine the same thing for the Bolt, as the manual instructions are very similar. I did have to go to the dealer to have the mechanical key cut but it was weird that the labor cost varied widely, between $20 to $80.

But be mindful to match the fob frequency. My fob's external label had rubbed off along with the frequency number, but it is also printed inside; which is accessible as if you are changing the fob battery.
Thanks to you both for some excellent intel. I decided to give it a whirl with a knockoff fob, given that I've got the two brand new working ones right now (so I'm not desperate for success) and given that the price was low enough that I can take a little risk. It's a "Aftermarket Smart Remote for Chevrolet HYQ4AA 13585722" for about $40 from Called one of the larger locksmith companies near me and they said it wouldn't be a problem for them to cut the blank key that's hidden in the fob, quoting a price between two bucks and 25 bucks depending on some sort of security need. So if all of this works out, and I'm able to follow the instructions in the manual for programming, I'll have a backup fob for about $65 or less, which sounds pretty reasonable compared to what the dealer quoted me.

I'll report back as to how all of this turns out. Thanks again for the info...


Nick in Palm Springs
Sorry! Should have reported back sooner...

So I took the $39 aftermarket fob from Cars& to my local full-service locksmith (auto keys are one of their advertised specialties) who cut the pull-out key in the fob for $25 (I also bought a spare key blank and had that cut as well, and total price for the blank and the cut was $35). Brought the fob home and meticulously followed the instructions for programming a new fob using two existing and working fobs, but the programming sequence never finished on the new fob despite the fact that I had two recognized transmitters. Tried and tried, kept checking various forums to confirm I was doing the right thing and it appeared that I was.

I called Cars& and said I was having a problem. Their initial response was that the website was clear about the need to have it programmed by a dealer for this particular fob. I whined a bit and they were quick to offer a full refund if I sent the fob back. I mentioned in passing that I had dropped $25 for the cutting, and they immediately said just to keep the cut pull-out key. That's how companies selling on the Internet are supposed to act...

So this time I decided to only use a fob that was advertised as OEM, and since Cars& is obviously a righteous corporation, I went straight back to their website and purchased a new one for $93. When a company does you a solid, a little loyalty is in order.

I got the OEM fob from C&TR and again using the two recognized transmitted procedure described in the manual, had zero issues getting it programmed. Worked just like advertised and took all of a few minutes of my time (follow the manual exactly even if you think you can skip or alter any described steps). I swapped out the pull-out blank for the key I had already cut, so total price for a fully functional key fob was $118. I doubt that you'll ever find a dealer that will put together a working transmitter with emergency key for less than double that price.

Hope this helps!

Nick in Palm Springs