Key Fob Replacement – NOT So Easy!


Recently, in June 2023, due to scheduling differences, we drove separately to a family event 400 miles from home. After the event, Susan returned home and I, with our van (a 2016 MB Sprinter NCV3 / 2017 Winnebago Era), would follow a couple of days later…or so I thought. 

As I prepped the van for my not-so-imminent departure, planned for the next day, I noticed the van’s key fob was no where to be found. In a moment of desperation, which I assumed was for not, I called Susan and asked that she check her purse. And there it was. A couple of days earlier, I had thrown a few things, in her purse, later retrieving all the items, except for the most important one. My van key had remained in the bottom of her purse. Did I say she was 400 miles away?

So, remembering that I once needed a car key replicated during the last century, over 40 years ago, how much could the process have changed? Just call the dealer, or even a hardware store, and have a duplicate cut (if you had an existing key already in hand). Assuming some differences with the advent of electronic key fobs, I expected some changes, but not what I ultimately discovered. So I called the local MB dealer, parts department. It could not be more difficult to obtain a new key.

Here we go:

I was given essentially the same story by two MB dealerships approximately 600 miles apart. For MB Sprinter vans with the 906 key fob (2012 – 2020), Mercedes corporate has restricted key fob replacements.


– BOTH keys must be lost.

– Van MUST be towed to the dealer with proof of towing – $$$.

– THEN, a new fob is ordered from Mercedes ~ $216.

– Upon arrival, the new fob is programmed ~ $120.

When I further enquired as to why all the hoops to jump through, I was told that Mercedes issued these requirements in 2020 as a result of an electronic chip shortage effecting the vans with the 906 key fob, being the approximate years of 2012 – 2020. Further, there are 49 different MB vehicles with this type fob. Finally, there is no perceivable end in sight for this restriction.

My solution:

We hadn’t actually lost any key fob, luckily. Rather than pay in both, many hundreds of dollars and many days lost, we opted for the much less expensive UPS overnight delivery at $54, with no insurance, or $72 for $500 worth of insurance (my estimated cost to get a duplicate). At any rate, problem solved with next day fob arrival.


By | 2023-06-29T10:50:07-04:00 June 29th, 2023|Tech Topics|0 Comments

Leave A Comment