How to get into your car after losing your car keys

car keys on a table

Uh-oh! You cannot find your car keys anywhere and you need to get inside of your vehicle to get something. What do you do? The first thing – don’t panic. If you panic, you won’t have your senses about you to look for the keys or to take a few steps that can help you get back into your car. This might not be an easy or immediate process, and you don’t want to jimmy the car door if you don’t know for sure that your keys are in there. So, here are a couple of things you can do if you have lost your car keys.

Take Time to Look For Your Keys

An obvious but necessary step after losing your car keys is to look for them. Typically people take the time to retrace their steps. In addition, you can consider reaching out to people that you spent time with to help find it. If you were on a trip, consider reviewing photos to see if you can tell when they were in your pocket vs when they were gone to narrow down the search.

Figure Out Your Car Key Type

What type of car key do you have? You will need to know this before you call a locksmith for help. However, if you don’t know, it’ll likely that the locksmith can look it up via your car make and model. Newer vehicles will often come with a programmed transponder key that incorporates a remote keyless entry system. These keys maximize device communication and come on most cars made in the 1990s or after.

You might have a keyless entry remote (better known as a key fob). If you have a set that wasn’t attached to your car key, then you can use that to unlock the doors. Smart keys need to be within the car for you to use keyless ignition, and replacing these can cost a few hundred dollars.

Of course, traditional car keys are still the tried-and-true manner of opening and operating a vehicle. Traditional keys make it easy for duplicates to be made. It is generally recommended that you have at least one copy of your traditional key available in case of a lock-out or lost keys.

No Spare Key Available

Don’t have a spare key or key fob you can use? Start by searching the area you believe you last had your keys. Check all areas where you commonly put them. Take your time searching, and again, don’t panic. You might want to look in unlikely places too since it can be easy to get distracted and misplace your keys.

Be sure to look inside your vehicle as best you can. Forgetfulness is certainly a common cause for lockouts. If your keys are locked inside your car, you will need to get in touch with a locksmith to safely get them out. Jimmying the door can result in permanent damage and generally isn’t advised.

Gather together vehicle info so that the locksmith or your dealership can help you get the right key for your car. You will need to provide the vehicle’s make/model/year as well as its VIN. If your insurance cards are locked inside your car, you can likely pull them up using your insurer’s app.

When to File a Police Report

Can’t find your keys at all and suspect they might have been stolen? Then it is time to file a police report. You might not have anything to worry about, but better safe than sorry. This will be one of your very final steps and hopefully one that you won’t need to take.

There are police reports for lost keys even if you don’t suspect they have been stolen. In many cases, local authorities are equipped with gear to get you inside your car for free if you think the key may be inside. However, they will require proof that it is your car.

Getting into your car after losing your car keys can be stressful and even expensive. But don’t panic. If you still have your key in your possession, think about getting a spare made so that you don’t have to sweat this stress in the future.

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