$124 for two extra Honda keys...why so pricey?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

We recently purchased our fourth Honda Accord, and I am now disgusted,
amazed, angry and upset. I went back to the dealer to get two keys for my
wife. Normally, the cost would be about six bucks. The dealer said the keys
would cost $124, and it would be necessary for me to come back and pick
them up another time! If I'd known this, I would have purchased a Camry!
What's the story here? -- Henry

RAY: The story is that your Honda key contains a computer chip that's part
of the car's anti-theft system.

TOM: Honda tells us it works by radio waves. When you insert your key, it
sends a radio signal to the transponder in your car's ignition system. And
if the two codes match up, it allows you to start the car. If there's no
code coming from the key (or if someone tries to hot-wire the car), it
won't start.

RAY: So next time you go out and find your car still in its parking space,
you can, in part, thank this little chip.

TOM: Unfortunately, it does increase the cost of the key significantly.
Plus, replacement keys have to be programmed with your car's specific code,
which is why it takes at least a day.

RAY: So you could buy a Camry, which doesn't have such a system. Or better
yet, just negotiate some extra keys when you buy the car. When the guy with
the white belt and plaid pants comes back from the mysterious little room
and offers to throw in the floor mats, tell him, "Add in an extra set of
keys and you've got a deal." If you're lucky, HE won't know they cost 125
bucks either!

Don't get stuck with a lemon. Read Tom and Ray's guide "How to Buy a Great
Used Car: Things Detroit and Tokyo Don?-t Want You to Know." Send $3 and a
stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Used Car, PO Box
6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.

Copyright (c) 1999 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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