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BMW Replacement Keys

ASKED BY:

Douglas Dayton

FSC MEMBER:

Yes

CATEGORY:

Electronics

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Question

I recently purchased a 2012 X3 (to go with my 2001 Z3 Coupe, 2011 Z4 and two motorcycles). The X3 came with one key fob and I would like to have a spare. I bought a Chinese copy on ebay but the local dealer, Ferman BMW would not guarantee that it would work following their programming at a cost of just under $200. They said I must have a genuine BMW fob. I then bought a used fob on ebay and took it to Ferman. They said they could not program it for my car since the VIN numbers don’t match! They said that there are ten key fobs made for each car at the time of manufacture. I must purchase one of those fobs and have them program it at a cost of approximately $500.

1. Is the story about ten key fobs for each vehicle true?
2. Is there any way to reprogram the genuine BMW key fob (OEM 2012-2016 BMW 2 3 4 5 6 7 SERIES SMART KEY FOB from a sedan) that I purchased, to work with my vehicle?

Answer

Hello Mr. Dayton, I’m sorry for the delay on the answer. Here they are. First, I do not think, but not sure, that the vehicle came with 10 keys, they usually come with 3 keys plus a valet key.

As far as the key that you bought, the dealer is right in saying that the key may not work if it is programmed, that is assuming that it can be programmed at all. The quality of the keys made in China are very poor. On most late-model vehicles the key can only be programmed once, the same goes for most control units. The reason being that it is a security device and they want to prevent theft.

In order to program the key you would need a BMW scan tool, access to the BMW website (a pay site) and security clearance from BMW. Most locksmith cannot program the key because of it. While I know that the price for keys have gone way up in the last 20 to 25 years your best bet is to buy a key from the dealer. Thank you for your patience. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Gil Neves

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