Does your key look like either of these?
If so, then you are in danger of permanently damaging your door lock and ignition, causing them to eventually fail entirely and need to be replaced. Replacing the ignition can on some cars be as much as a thousand dollars!
Here’s what you need to know. Take a look at this key:
Compare the tip of this key to the tip of the keys in the first two photos. Notice how this key looks all rounded down, doesn’t have those sharp, crisp, angular lines anymore? This is a worn key–probably about 7-10 years of wear.
On most cars, a worn key will eventually stop working, but if you get a new key cut back to the OEM specifications, then the lock will still work.
Honda high security locks have a fundamental flaw in their design which means that a worn key will actually damage the wafers inside the lock. Every single time you insert a worn key like that third picture into your lock, you are wearing down the wafers bit by bit. Eventually the lock will stop working entirely, and at that point, you are screwed–the ignition must be replaced.
Replacing the ignition is a minimum of $300 and can potentially be over $1000 depending on the model. (Some cars are cheaper because you can get away with replacing just the cylinder rather than the entire ignition assembly.)
Technical paragraph: What is actually happening here is that, unlock most other manufacturers, Honda wafers use a tiny triangular-shaped nib to jut out into the keyway and ride along the key. That nib, being so small, is very easily worn down over time, and a worn key aggravates this wear. This is because the tip of the key has less material for the wafer to ride on and “catch” the ramp so it can ride along the key, focusing the wear right on the very tip of the triangular nib. That tip wears down rapidly, turns into a smoothed down nub, and suddenly the wafer stops catching that ramp properly and jams up the tip of the key. Then you, not knowing any better, try a little harder to push the key in and unknowingly bend or shear the tip of the wafer off even worse, leaving an impossible-to-use rounded off flat-ish space where there used to be a triangular nib. Below is a close-up of the wear before and after many years of use. Just imagine what that bottom key would do to a tiny triangular nib of metal.
However, there is a way to prevent this from happening: simply get a new key! Find your local locksmith shop and have them cut and program you a new key back to code, and that fresh key with clean cuts will stop damaging the lock and continue working for several more years.
At my shop, LockPro Locksmith of Elberton GA, a non-remote Honda key (like the first and third picture) would cost $145+tax. Remote-head keys (like the second picture) vary depending on the model but typically run about $200-250. If you currently have a remote-head key, you can still get a cheaper non-remote key for your vehicle.
Thanks for reading!