The automotive key cutting industry is one of the more complex areas for the modern locksmith. Vehicle key blanks have evolved through the years, and the last 10 or 15 years have birthed the transponder key. All of these things can make it intimidating for someone looking to enter the marketplace of automotive key cutting. It is our hope, atCLK Supplies, to inform you on some of the basics in automotive key cutting.
Our first step is choosing a key cutter. Some older vehicles used single sided keys, but the majority of traditional automotive key blanks are double sided. A key cutter that is capable of cutting double sided keys is important. You will need to be sure the key machine you are looking to purchase, or already have, is capable of cutting these auto key blanks. See our page on manual key machines, semi-automatic, or fully automatic key machines to investigate some of the options available to you in key cutters. There are several benefits to each type of machine. Some may enjoy the versatility of a manual machine or the ease of use of an automatic key machine.
Another consideration is choosing the key blanks needed to duplicate automotive keys. It is best to separate these into four main groups: General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and Import. GM has a list of popular single sided keys used for many models. These are theB44–B51, B62 and RA4 keys. Their double sided keys vary slightly in appearance and design, but many are interchangeable. The B102, B65, B110, B89, and B88 are all good choices to stock initially. Ford uses fewer variations of keys on their popular vehicles. Many older Fords using the H50 and H51 keys. The H60 and H75 have come to replace the older style keys. Chrysler’s older keys used blanks like the Y149 andY152. From the early 90’s, the Y154, Y155, Y157 and Y159 have become popular on most of their vehicles.
Import vehicles may be the most difficult to narrow down a list of popular vehicles. Much depends on the types of vehicles you will be cutting keys for and what may be popular in your service area. Toyota often uses the TR26, TR33, TR37, TR40, TR44, TR46, TR47, DA23, DA24, and DA25. Hyundai uses the HY6, HY12, HY13, HY14, HY15, HY16, and HY17. Honda uses the HD90/83, HD98, and HD103. Mazda vehicles use the MZ31, MZ17, and MZ13. Subaru has used a smaller variety of keys through the years, and most use the SUB1, SR1, DA31, and DA25. Nissan key blanks and part numbers have evolved through Datsun so many of their older keys share these part numbers. The DA23, DA24, DA25, DA31, DA34, and MZ31 are popular Mazda blanks. Lastly, some common keys for Mitsubishi are the MIT1, MIT2, MIT3, MIT4, MIT5, and MIT6.