What To Do If You Lose Your Car Keys?

September 19, 2021

We never really realize how essential our car keys are until we reach into our pocket, and they aren't there. Losing your car keys is not a fun situation, but there is no need to panic. This isn't as bad as it seems and while it may be uncomfortable, it is solvable. When dealing with a loss of car keys there are several things to keep in mind which we will cover now.

Important Things to Note

When you lose your car keys it isn't as simple as getting a new key cut at your local hardware store. Car keys cannot be replicated at a self-service machine if you do not have the original. This is to make sure that criminals are not given access to cars they do not own.

The only way that a car key can be duplicated at a hardware store is if they have a key machine that is employee-operated. They in some cases can replicate the key if you have your VIN number. This number identifies your specific car. However, this is not always possible. Some keys may need professional key programming which could only be done with access to your car's computer.

Are Your Keys Lost?

So, the first thing you need to find out is if your keys are lost. This may seem unnecessary to check but getting a brand-new car key replacement without the original can cost upwards of $200, so it is best to check to be sure.

Take the time to look around the area, retrace your steps, and try to remember the last place you saw them. If you don't find them then check to see if you locked them in the car and if so, you could call a locksmith who will help you regain access. Last, check to see if anyone has a spare car key that you can use so that you don't have to get a new key made without the original. If none of these are relevant for you then you will need to move on to the next step.

Types of Keys

The next thing you need to determine is what type of key you are dealing with. Each type of key has its own security features and the computerization of locks will make it imperative to know the type of key you're dealing with. There are three types of keys you could have. They are transponder keys, key fobs, and traditional keys. Let's go over the differences between these keys.

Transponder keys will be used on most cars after the late 1990s. These keys are more secure because the communication between the vehicle and the key is better. It cannot easily be manipulated like with traditional keys. However, this makes it more difficult to replace if the key is lost.

Another modern form of key is a key fob. This allows you to press a button to unlock and access your car. These types of keys make your car much more accessible because the key and the car are in constant contact. This however is a much more expensive type of key to replace due to the computerization and programming needed.

The last type of key is your traditional key with no computerization. You unlock your doors manually and no programming is necessary. This is the least secure of all the types as it makes it much easier for intruders to break in, but it is the easiest key to get replaced if the original is lost.

Action Plan

Now that you know what type of key you are dealing with you are ready to reach out for assistance. Following this simple plan of action will help ease your stress and get this problem fixed as soon as possible. Something very important to remember is that if you are stranded in a dangerous situation, please call emergency services, and get to a safe location. Your well-being is more important, the keys and car can wait.

If you are in a safe situation and you just need assistance getting back into your car the first thing you need to do is make sure you have some important information. The process of having your key replaced will go much smoother if you can provide the following information: the type of key, the VIN, and the make and model of your vehicle. This information can be located on your car insurance card or your vehicle registration. In situations that you do not have access to this information, a professional will also be able to analyze your car and find the needed information.

Once you have this information you need to determine who to call for assistance. When making this decision you will want to weigh cost and function. You don't want to overpay for the problem to be rectified, but you also want to have a key that will last a long time and won't compromise your security.

Who to Call?

hands of locksmith give car keys

The options to call when met with this dilemma are your dealership or an automotive locksmith. Who you call will depend greatly on your situation? The dealership will in most cases be much more expensive than the locksmith. However, in some cases, the dealership may be your only option.  Let's go over the pros and cons of each choice, so you can find which one will help you the most.

If your car is a newer model with a more complex or unique key you may have to contact the dealership. This is because a locksmith may not always be able to handle more intricate key systems that need specific programming. While more expensive in these cases it is best to reach out to your dealership for assistance.

If you have an older car model the dealership may not be able to help you. Dealerships may no longer have keys for vehicles past a certain age. If this is the case with your car then your only option is an automotive locksmith. Also, if you lost your keys and need them remade on-site you will need to call a locksmith.

Final Notes

Once this problem is resolved make sure to get a second spare key made. This may be a little more costly, but it will help prevent this situation from happening again. We hope this article has been informative and helpful for you. If you need a locksmith, please call us here at ASAP Locksmith and we will be happy to help!

Article written by Dustin Fernandez
I am Dustin Fernandez, and I'm the owner of ASAP Locksmith in Dallas. My company is a family business, and we provide locksmith services to residential, commercial, and automotive customers. I’ve been in the locksmith industry since 1995, when I was just 20 years old. I started by working for another locksmith company before eventually starting my own. Over time, my father joined me as a partner in this venture, which made him proud to help his son succeed at something he loved doing!

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