A new ignition key for a Porsche 996 costs a cool £214. That’s from an Official Porsche Centre and, as far as I understand, that’s the only place you can buy them. The problem, as with most other modern cars, is that the key is more than just a key.
Back in the good old days, if you needed a new key for your car, you simply popped down to your friendly locksmith with the old one and he’d take a blank key from a rack and cut it to match the existing one. Easy and cheap. Sadly, it also made it easy to steal cars…
Now, though, a car key is a triumph of electronics which incorporates a remote locking device so you no longer have to mess around putting a key in the door lock and turning it. More importantly, though, it acts an immobiliser and is ‘matched’ to the car, making it pretty much impossible to start the engine without the key being present. The actual ‘key’ part is less important and, on some cars has been eliminated altogether.
The downside to all this is that new keys have to be electronically paired to the car they are to be used for, and that’s not a job your local Timpsons can do for a fiver, hence the expensive trip to the OPC. What’s more, you have to treat keys with respect – no taking them swimming – and their batteries need replacing occasionally.