PATs Key Issues - Need Copies
I need help as this is driving me crazy.
Years ago, my father bought a used '98 Mercury Mystique GS with the L4 engine that came with what appeared to be one original key and no remote. Shortly after, he decided he need two additional keys made. He cannot remember who made them as he believes it was the dealer but I'm not so sure.
Right now, my father lost two of the keys (the original and a copy) and we need more keys made. I'm trying to determine whether the existing copy has a chip in it or not. I am so confused on what needs to be done to make 3 to 4 more copies without paying an arm and a leg.
So far, I've found the following and I'm not sure what is true.
1) I may need one or two working keys to program copies, depending on when the car was made (before 2/98 or after 3/98).
2) I may need to buy a transponder key (cheaply online at places like eBay or Amazon) and then have a hardware store cut a copy of the transponder key from the existing key. Then I have to program the transponder key.
3) The existing key might not even have a chip, in which case I can just go to a hardware store and make copies. Then program the key.
4) The hardware store may be able to clone the existing key even if it does have a chip, in which case, I wouldn't have to even program it.
So how do I know if the existing copy has a chip? The original key had this slightly bulky black casing (or whatever) at the top of the key where you would typically hold the key. The copies never had this. They are big keys, but totally flat just like any normal copy would be. So I'm wondering if I can just run over to my local hardware store and make copies, then program them in depending on the car's manufacture date. Does anyone know?
I need the key made ASAP because I don't want my father losing the only key there is. He's the kind of guy that loses everything within seconds.