What to do if you lose your car keys
Do you have a spare car key?
The best thing to do is avoid losing all sets of keys in the first place. The ideal way to do this is to always have a spare car key ready. Losing all of your keys can be time consuming. It can also cost more than simply duplicating a car key.That is why it is always smart to have a backup set of car keys. You can leave this set at home or with a family member.
This way if you are ever stuck somewhere and can’t find your keys, a loved one would be able to come to your rescue. After you locate your spare it is always good to duplicate that spare key. A properly trained locksmith should be able to cut and program a duplicate key for you. Doing that will ensure you are prepared in case something similar happens in the future.
Are you worried about stolen car keys?
It may be possible that your keys were stolen. If you are worried about that there is something we can do to help. If you have a transponder key it is possible to do an “Immobilizer reset” on your car. This process is done to ensure that no previous keys which used to work for your vehicle still function. This would make it irrelevant if someone else has an old copy of your key. They could use that key to try and start your car, but your car would not start.
It is sometimes more complicated to do this. Some cars do this automatically when you program new keys. Other cars require extra steps to do this. Take for example, newer Honda models versus Ford models. With newer honda models you would have to deprogram all the old keys to program a new one. Note that this is only true if you do not already have an existing car key. If you want to do this with ford, there is an additional step. You would have to reset the immobilizer separately, and then add the new keys. If you do this you would also have to program two new keys at once.
Have you lost all copies of your car keys?
First you will want to gather some information about your vehicle. Some things to find out about your car include:
- Who is the owner of the car? Is the car in your name? Is the title in a family member’s name or perhaps a previous owners name?
- What is the make, model and year of your car?
- Is your car a push to start or a regular ignition key?
- Did the same key operate the door and the ignition?
- How long has it been since someone drove the car?
- What is the VIN number of your car?
This is the information a locksmith or dealer needs to help make you a key. It will give the technician the information he needs to determine certain things. Based on this information he will know which key fits your car, and how it should be cut. It will also tell him whether or not he needs to program the car key. If he does need to program the key it will also tell him which tools are necessary for the programming. There are two main types of companies that can help you get a new car key. Locksmiths and Dealerships.
Going to a Dealership
You may choose to go to a dealer for a new car key. Your local car dealership will probably be able to help you out. This, however, is usually not your best option. Dealerships do not specialize in keys. They may sometimes even call locksmiths to cut and program car keys for them. There are many disadvantages in choosing a dealer over a locksmith.
The Disadvantage of choosing a car dealership:
- Paying for towing – Dealerships do not have mobile capabilities. If you lost all your keys you probably can’t drive your car. This means that you would have to pay a tow truck just for the dealer to work on it.
- Longer wait times – Dealerships don’t always have the tools on hand to help you out. Best case scenario you wait several hours for the dealer to help you. They however may even take days or a week to help you. This is because they may need to order in parts from somewhere else
- Higher Prices – Towing isn’t the only additional charge a dealer will charge you. A car dealership usually charges higher prices in general. You may end up paying more for the parts, labor, and programming of the key.
- Inability to provide service – Dealerships have a harder time with older vehicles. The dealership sometimes doesn’t keep records past 15 years. If your car is more than 15 years old the dealer might not be able to cut you a key.
Going to a Locksmith for a new car key
You are usually better off going to a locksmith for a new car key. This is usually your best option. Locksmiths specialize in keys. We have different tools, and methods than dealerships. Instead of just looking at a VIN number, we can sometimes get a key code. Since we have these tools available, it is usually a cheaper to hire a locksmith.
The Advantages of Hiring a locksmith for a new vehicle key:
- Fully Mobile Services – A locksmith comes to you. We do charge a trip charge to come on site. However, this charge is usually much cheaper than what it would cost to get your car towed.
- Shorter Wait times – A locksmith coming to you isn’t the only upside to hiring one. Usually the wait times will be shorter. You won’t have to leave your car all day or for multiple days.
- Lower Prices – Getting a car key with a locksmith is usually cheaper. We have different tools and methods to make the key. Instead of a VIN number we sometimes use a key code. Our labor and parts are generally a lower cost than at a dealership.
- Making keys for older vehicles – Our records usually go further back. Your car may be too old for a dealer to make you a key. If this is the case we can probably still help.
If you have lost your car keys don’t panic. First look for a spare. If you have one we strongly advise to go get it duplicated. If not then simply call a Locksmith. Make sure the company you are calling is licensed, bonded, and insured. Most Locksmiths will be able to cut and program a key for you wherever your car may be. We also recommend getting a spare key so that you don’t get stuck in the future.