Mercedes-Benz makes arguably the best cars in the world. An industry pioneer, its S-Class saloons feature technology that is at least a decade or two away from being used on more commercial vehicles.
If I had to name one drawback of Mercedes vehicles, it would have to be the cost of parts. The prices can be extremely high for newer models, and they don’t get cheap over the years, a fact I’ve learned with my 1988 S-Class. However, when it comes to the key fob, there are a few alternatives we can employ to significantly reduce the replacement cost.
Original Mercedes-Benz key fobs cost $200-300 and can reach as much as $550. For that reason, buying aftermarket key fobs can be a lot cheaper. The best place to find a replacement is on Amazon, because they stock the widest range of options and have the best prices.
How to Find the Right Key Replacement on Amazon
Amazon has fob and uncut keys for almost every Mercedes-Benz model and generation.
Finding the right key can be difficult, so to make it easier, I’ve gone through the products and found two replacements that work with the majority of Mercedes models. If the product doesn’t list model years, you’ll have to check what code your original key was to find a replacement with the same programming.Auto Key Max Replacement Key Fob
Auto Key Max sells a replacement key for around $30, which is 1/10th of what the dealership would charge you. They also sell a pair with a slight discount.
It’s an all-in-one package, with an uncut replacement metal key and a key fob. It’s important that the FCC ID# of your original key matches one of these codes:
The manufacturer claims that it’s compatible with an extensive list of 2006-2011 Mercedes-Benz sedans, roadsters, and SUVs. For the full list, check the manufacturer’s Amazon page. Auto Key Max offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and if the product doesn’t work as intended or doesn’t meet your standards, you can ask for a replacement or money back within 90 days.
This key fob has a 3.3/5 star rating from 125 customers and a decent number of questions answered by the manufacturers. The main reasons for such a low score are the unreasonable expectations of customers. The complaints can be summarized as: “I bought the key and I couldn’t program it myself, and no locksmith or dealership would do it for me.”
This is a valid issue but has nothing to do with the key fob itself. I’ll talk about the main problem with the aftermarket key fob after we’ve gone through the products.Beefunny Smart Replacement Key Fob
Beefunny Key Fob is slightly cheaper than Any Key Max option at $24 for a single, or $46 for a pair of two keys.
They claim that it’s a 315Mhz frequency key suitable for:
- 705 Moto 1997-2000
- NEC 2001-2005
- NEC 2006-2010
- BGA 2011 onwards
Their description isn’t the best, as these codes don’t mean much, and claiming that it’s suitable for every Mercedes-Benz from 2000 onwards, yet not confirming it in the FAQ section is making me doubt its compatibility. However, it did receive 3.8/5 stars from 160 users and has 88 answered questions, so it’s likely that you’ll find another owner of the same Mercedes model that has bought and reviewed this product.
The Problem With Aftermarket Key Fobs
Mercedes-Benz has made it very difficult to avoid their services. Their key fobs cannot be programmed at home or by an unlicensed mechanic or locksmith, while authorized dealerships will refuse to program them, conditioning you into buying an OEM key. If you still have your standard blade key, you can take it to a locksmith along with a blank and have it copied.
So why am I recommending Amazon options when it’s seemingly impossible to make them work? Depending on where you live, you might still be able to find a locksmith or dealership that can program the key for you.
One Auto Key Max customer from Texas says that they called six locksmiths to no success. Then, they found a mechanic that works on old Mercedes cars, who agreed to program the key for $150. Considering that the dealership asked him for $192 for the key fob, $69 for the cut blade key, and another $169 to program the key, his total cost was still half of what the authorized dealership would charge.
Saving a couple of hundred dollars is far from an insignificant sum. Paying a mechanic $150-200 to program seems expensive, but keep in mind that they have to pay a fee to Mercedes-Benz to get the necessary codes for programming. Considering that the Amazon keys only cost $30 and come with the blade key, paying over $200 at the dealership is unreasonable.
If you can’t find a locksmith that will program the key fob for you, then there’s no other way to get a replacement but to go through the dealership. However, you can still avoid spending upwards of $100 on a cut blade key, by buying just the key from Amazon and taking it to a locksmith.
How to Program Mercedes Key Fob
There is a very slim chance that you’ll manage to program the key fob yourself, but still, it’s worth trying, especially on the older models.
- Place the key in the ignition and toggle it from Off to On position twice.
- Take the key out and press the lock button on the fob key.
- Press and hold the unlock button.
- Without releasing the unlock button, press and hold the lock button for 1 second, four times.
- Release the unlock button, then press and hold the lock button for the fifth time.
- The key fob should be programmed, so test it out.
Can I reprogram a Mercedes key?
For safety reasons, Mercedes keys are bound to a single model and cannot be reprogrammed to any other vehicle.
Can I drive my Mercedes without a key?
Mercedes has a Keyless Start feature, which allows you to start and drive the vehicle without placing a key in the ignition. However, you still need to have a programmed key fob to be able to access the vehicle.
Why are Mercedes keys so expensive?
Mercedes makes luxury cars and SUVs, which also prices of parts, maintenance, and service. From a manufacturing perspective, there shouldn’t be a reason why their key fobs are so expensive, especially when Amazon options work just as well when properly programmed.
How long does it take to program a Mercedes key?
It should take up to two days to get a new Mercedes key fob programmed unless they have to import it directly from Germany.
Mercedes-Benz certainly lives up to its luxury brand title, both in craftsmanship and features of their vehicles, but also in the cost of components. However, we’ve found a few ways of replacing your Mercedes key without going through the licensed dealership. Spend enough time researching and making calls, and you’ll surely find a mechanic that can take the job, and do it for cheaper than any dealership.