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What To Do If You Lose Your Car Keys?

Last modified: Jul 24, 2023

Nobody likes to think about lost car keys and the procedure for car key replacement, but it happens more often than you might think. 

If you find yourself in this situation, don't panic! There are plenty of things you can do to get back on the road. 

If you want to know what to do if you lose your car keys, keep reading!

What to Do if You Lose Your Car Keys?

If you've ever lost the keys to your car, you know how frustrating and (in some cases) expensive it can be to get a new set, so let’s see how that can be avoided.

Search Your Car and the Area Around

Check all the obvious places, like under the seat, in the glove box, the trunk, and the area around the car. If you still can't find them, try looking in less obvious places like under the floor mats or between the seats. If you have an alarm system, check if the keys are disabled.  

Retrace Your Steps

Check any surface you drove past on your way to the car and see if you dropped them. Think about where you were when you last had them. Once you have a general idea of where they might be, start calling around to places where you were that day in case someone found them and is holding onto them for you.

Check Your Pockets or Bag (Again!)

It sounds silly, but sometimes we can lose track of things like our keys when we're in a hurry. If there's a chance they could be in your pockets or bag, check again to be sure.

Contact a Locksmith or Dealership

If you've tried all of the above and still can't find your keys, the next step is to contact a locksmith or dealership. A locksmith will make you a new set of keys, and a dealership will have a record of the keys that came with your car. You'll need to provide them with your VIN, so have it ready. 

Keys Got Stolen

If your keys have been stolen, the best thing you can do is call the police and report it as soon as possible. They should be able to help you recover your car if someone has taken it without actually breaking into it. It's also good to get a new set of keys; you never know if those stolen keys got copied by the person who took them or not, so it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Different Types of Car Keys

There are a few types of car keys; let’s take a look at the five most common ones:

  1. Standard car keys: These are the most common type of keys and can be used to open your doors and start your vehicle.

If you lose your standard car key, you can get an exact replacement made by your car dealership or a locksmith.

  1. Car key fob: A car key fob is a small remote control that allows you to lock and unlock your doors and start your vehicle. Key fobs usually have a button on them that you can press to lock or unlock your doors. Some key fobs also have a panic button to press if you're in an emergency.

If you lose your car key fob, you can still unlock and start the vehicle using your key. Car key fobs are available in the aftermarket, and they are simple to set up. They're available at dealerships, auto parts retailers, and online, and you can find them at a reasonable price.

  1. Car key fob and switchblade key: Automakers merged these two into a device that would lock and unlock a car using a spring-loaded key that folds into it, similar to a switchblade.

This type of key is more expensive than a conventional fob, costing more than $100 to repair. These are easiest to get at a dealership, where they can be cut and set on the spot.

  1. Transponder key: Many modern cars use transponder keys, which have a small chip embedded in the plastic key head that signals the ignition system.

If you lose it, you'll need to have your car towed to the dealer and provide proof of ownership before purchasing a replacement key. The dealer will have to electronically link the new computer chip with your car.

  1. Smart key: A smart key is a key that allows you to lock and unlock your car doors, start your engine, and open the trunk without physically touching them. Smart keys are commonly used in newer cars and have push buttons on them that allow you to do all these things as long as they are within range of the vehicle.

Like with the transponder key, you’ll need to tow your car to the dealership if you don’t have a backup key, then order a key (if the dealer doesn’t have one in stock) and have it paired with your vehicle.

Ultimately, the type of car key you have will depend on your budget and vehicle type. No matter what type of key you have, it’s important to take good care of it so that it doesn’t get lost or damaged. You should also keep a copy of your key in a safe place if you ever need it.

How to Avoid Losing Car Keys

Now that we got that out of the way, here are some tips to avoid losing your keys in the future.

Key Tracker

There are lots of different key trackers on the market these days. You can buy ones that attach to your keychain and connect to your phone, so if you lose your keys, you can use the app to find them. 

There are also standalone key trackers that you can keep in your purse or pocket, and they'll emit a loud sound when you press a button on the tracker, helping you locate your keys if they're nearby. Almost two-thirds (65%) of burglars are already well-acquainted with the people they rob.

Designated Spot for Keys

Another way to avoid losing your keys is to have a designated spot in your home. This could be a key rack near the door, a small dish on a table, or a specific drawer where you always put your keys when you come home. Having a set place for your keys will help you remember where they are when you need to leave the house.

Loud Key Holder

These devices are designed to make a loud sound when you set your keys down or take your keys off, helping you remember where they are and reminding you to pick them up before leaving the house. Some key holders also come with LED lights, so they'll be even easier to see in the dark.

Key Takeaways

So, what to do if you lose your car keys? The best thing to do is remain calm and take some time to think things through. Try retracing your steps, and if that doesn’t work, consider asking a friend for help or calling a locksmith.

It’s also good to invest in a spare set of keys if anything like this happens again. With a little bit of patience and planning, you should be able to get back on the road in no time.

Read more: Best Rental Car Insurance


How to know what kind of key your car has?

There are a few ways to determine the type of key your car has. The best way is to take the key to a locksmith or dealership and have them identify it for you. However, if you're feeling adventurous, you can check the car's manual or look online to see if there is a specific way to identify the type of key.

Can a locksmith open a locked car?

Yes, a locksmith can open your locked car. They have the tools and expertise to do so. However, it is essential to note that they will likely charge you for services.

What to do to stop losing your car keys?

First, keep your keys in the same place every time you leave the house. You will always know where they are and won’t waste time looking for them. Another helpful tip is to make sure your keys are distinctive from other people’s keys. This way, if they get mixed up, you will be able to tell which ones are yours easily. You can do this by getting key chains or charms that represent something.

What to do if you lose your car keys?

  1. Check all the obvious places first. This includes anywhere you usually keep your keys (e.g., pockets, purses, backpacks, and home). 
  2. If you still can't find them, retrace your steps from the last time you remember having them. This might give you some clues as to where they could be. 
  3. If all else fails, call a locksmith or tow truck company who can help you get into your car so you can look for your keys inside. 
  4. In the meantime, try not to stress too much about it.

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