For awhile I REALLY wanted to make a side hobby biz out of doing key repairs/upgrades.
When I got my CLK it had the black plastic keys and I really preferred the Chrome metal ones.
So I read what drknight wrote as a DIY and bought some chrome ones on Ebay.
I was extraordinarily lucky and both worked first try. SO I got excited and bought more used Chrome ones on Ebay. Then I discovered why he was charging as much as he did. Most of the ads on Ebay:
1. Know that for 99% of people these keys are worthless.
2. Found the key at a bar or somewhere else and decided to sell it for some $$$, thus they have no idea what they are selling, and can't tell you even if you ask.
3. Are junkyards just trying to sell some more parts that savvy buyers won't touch. (see #1
Most of the ads vaguely mention "see your locksmith for reprogramming" and absolve themselves for responsibility at that point. Most locksmiths will laugh you out of their shop if you ask.
As it turns out, there are several styles of these Chrome keys, the Keyless-Go ones are apparently non-useable. The ones with Triangular "Panic" button are completely useless. And I know this not only because dark night posted it, but also because I bought some, and they are in fact useless. But I didn't mean to buy them, just that is what I got.
But since many sellers are just unloading something they found somewhere, they have no idea what they are selling and may have even used a picture form someone else.
Thus i realized that I got very lucky.
I agree wholeheartedly that having at least 2 keys is crucial. Aside from the fact that I couldn't sleep at night if I had just one, it is so much easier to diagnose problems with 2.
Most of the time my 2nd key is in my safe. When I go out of town on a long trip I bring it.
If the drying and cleaning doesn't work, get $300 or so ready and call the dealer. After that, PM me, I may have a key or two still here. I certainly have a black plastic one or two, may have a chrome as well.
I would love to be able to help people in LA area with this, would be better to be able to test them after moving chip over, rather then mail and hear back, ship back, etc.
I have a computer company and thus a hot air rework station. But originally I did it with a $25 Sears heat gun.
I'm not sure where drknight went, I think he was still on Ebay a while back, but I imagine that he found it a difficult business, possibly for the reasons mentioned.
Also, someone with 1 key doesn't always know for a fact why their car won't start or doors won't unlock. May be the key, may be EIS or radio antenna or IR receiver. With 2 keys, you can quickly diagnose such issues. And then you aren't in a panic to get 1st one fixed.
BTW, if anyone in LA has a "bad" key in a drawer, I may be able to help.