Lock Your Keys in the Car? Here's What to Do
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Picture it: You’re walking to your parked car, looking forward to hopping in and hitting the road.
But as you approach your vehicle and begin to search for your keys — be it in your pockets or your purse — you realize that you accidentally locked them inside.
If you’re like most drivers, you’ve probably been in this situation at least once. Even if you haven’t, we needn’t tell you what an inconvenience it is. To make matters more complicated, these days, lost car keys create a more problematic situation than before because of keyless entry and remote start. Instead of a locksmith or a hardware store simply cutting out a copy of your old metal key, you may wind up having to shell out hundreds of dollars for a replacement electronic key fob.
If you leave your keys inside your vehicle, where can you get a car key replacement? Fear not. We’re here to help you know how to open that door and get back on the road as soon as possible.
Let's look at the different types of car keys and how to replace lost car keys.
Lost car keys? First steps
Once you've realized your keys are inside your vehicle, it's a good idea to take a deep breath and go over your options.
You might have a good backup plan courtesy of your car insurance company, automotive warranty, or roadside assistance policy that covers damaged or lost car keys.
And some extended vehicle warranties come with insurance for your key or key fob.
If your vehicle uses mechanical door locks, calling a mobile automotive locksmith can have you back on the road in no time.
Just as a locksmith can save you from the stress of a set of keys locked in your car, shopping for a vehicle with Shift saves you from the hassle of car buying at a traditional dealer.
When you lose a car key fob, not only do you need a replacement, but you also require assistance unlocking your vehicle. And when you're away from home, it may take a while before help arrives. But with a Shift Appearance Protection Plan, you can rest assured knowing you'll receive support in a timely manner. Shift Appearance Protection Plans enlist the services of Dent Wizard, who can unlock cars and replace many types of keys. And with their vast inventory of keys and a broad vendor base, Dent Wizard can perform most services within 24 hours.
Shift offers fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. Whether you're after a Honda, Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, or any of the three dozen makes currently in our inventory, Shift has what you need.
The different types of car keys
Cars use one of four different types of keys: a basic key, a basic key with remote, a key fob with remote, a key fob with keyless entry, and a push-button start.
Traditional keys function the same way on a vehicle as on door locks for a house or an apartment. They open your car door or allow your vehicle to start by mechanical action.
The next step up from a standard key is a separate fob for remotely locking and unlocking the doors or trunk.
Then there are key fobs with push-button start and remote unlocking and locking.
And the top of the line are car key fobs you can keep in your pocket at all times, with keyless entry and push-button start.
Car key replacement types
If you experience lost car keys and need to open your car and obtain a replacement set, locksmith services may be your best option.
Many locksmiths are mobile and can not only open the locked door on your vehicle but also make new keys then and there.
Due to the simplicity of traditional car keys, their replacement cost is significantly less than modern versions with remote fobs and keyless entry, with duplicates running as little as $7.
Two types of remote-locking fobs exist: standalone devices with a separate key and fobs with a built-in key.
If you lose a standalone fob, you can still use your separate key to get into your car and start it up. And finding a replacement fob won't set you back too much, with aftermarket versions running about $20. These basic fobs are also simple to program, so you won't be spending hundreds taking them to a specialist.
Key fobs with a built-in key are a more convenient design that combines two functions (your door locks and ignition) into one.
But if you lose this type of key fob, you'll need to pay more for a replacement, with aftermarket versions costing around $125.
The most advanced car keys available today are smart keys that automatically open your door locks and allow you to start your car with the push of a button. They do this by using proximity sensors that know when you're within a certain distance of the vehicle.
Due to their high technology and need for manufacturer-specific programming, you'll probably have to visit a dealer for your car's brand.
When you lose a smart key, you need to pay for a tow to a dealer, where you can purchase a replacement, costing up to $600. The cost of a replacement smart key depends on the make and model of your vehicle, with those for high-end luxury cars typically being higher.
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Lost car keys in summary
Though locking your keys in your car (or losing them altogether) is inconvenient, there are steps you can take to both open the doors to your vehicle and obtain a replacement set.
First, checking with your car insurance company could save you time and money because some policies cover lost key replacement. In addition to that, your vehicle warranty or roadside assistance plan could also come to the rescue.
If you experience lost keys on a car with mechanical locks, having a replacement set made isn't too costly, and a locksmith may be able to make them on the spot. You could be back inside of your vehicle and back on the road in a relatively short time.
Separate key fobs aren't much of a hassle to replace because you can still open and start your vehicle with the metal key that comes with them.
However, losing key fobs with an attached key is more problematic, requiring specific reprogramming and costing more to duplicate.
If you own a newer vehicle with keyless entry, obtaining a replacement key could take longer and set you back a significant amount of money.
On modern vehicles with keyless entry and start, usually, it's good to visit a dealership specializing in your brand of car to ensure accurate key programming and optimal vehicle function.
Replacing lost car keys and fobs may be a drawn out process and cost a significant amount of money. But an Appearance Protection Plan from Shift is there for you if you lose your car keys.
Shift’s Appearance Protection Plans offer service through Dent Wizard, whose experience unlocking vehicles and cutting and reprogramming keys ensures you’re back on the road in a timely manner. Not only that, but you’ll be fully reimbursed for your replacement key.
When it comes to buying a car, however, visiting the dealership can be quite the hassle. Driving around town and looking at (and haggling over) different makes and models takes time and energy. But Shift makes finding your next vehicle easy, with a large inventory of fully inspected cars located across the country that are ready to go. The website is user-friendly, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget. Shift also works with a network of trusted lenders who compete for your business, so you get the best deal on financing.
Applying for financing with Shift is quick and easy, with no cost or obligation. Most applicants receive an offer within minutes instead of days. Financing with Shift is so convenient that nine out of 10 customers choose us when they need a loan.
Start shopping with personalized financing terms today.
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April 15, 2022
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