What to do if you've lost your car keys
Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago
5 min read
WhoCanFixMyCar explains the different options available to you if you've lost your car keys
Even if you don’t have a spare key, there’s no need to panic. Here are the basic steps you should follow:
Search the area (providing your key has been lost rather than stolen)
Check whether your car is open; if it is, look inside
Gather information about the vehicle
Get a new key from an auto locksmith
Make sure you get a spare key cut as well
Should you change the locks on your car?
How car keys work
Most car keys actually contain three different methods of unlocking:
A mechanical key that releases the steering lock
A coded electronic transponder chip that’s read by the car when placed in the ignition
A remote control to unlock doors and turn off the alarm
Some modern car keys offer keyless entry and remote keyless ignition, so a mechanical key is no longer needed.
Unfortunately, cars that use keyless entry can be more vulnerable to theft.
Most car remote controls use a radio transmitter which sends a signal to the car. If your remote doesn’t work, try the following:
Check whether the battery is flat
Try using the remote key closer to the vehicle
If all else fails, use your mechanical key if you have one until you can get the remote working again
Getting a replacement key
There are five ways you could potentially get replacement car keys:
Using an auto locksmith
Car insurance provider
However, the best option is usually to find an auto locksmith who will have all the necessary tools to help you out. Regular garages might not necessarily offer this specialist service.
Whether you’ve lost the keys to your Vauxhall Corsa or it’s a lost Mercedes car key that you need to replace, the process is usually the same. Auto locksmiths are used to being called out to all sorts of different locations, and they can help with:
A broken lock
A broken key
Keys that have been locked inside a vehicle
Following a break-in
To find an auto locksmith, simply enter your reg number into WhoCanFixMyCar and we’ll connect you with the best mechanics in your area.
Should you change the locks on your car?
This is often one of the most common questions asked by motorists who have lost their keys. The answer is that it depends, firstly on the situation and secondly on the type of car you have.
With modern vehicles that don’t have a manual locking system (e.g. a traditional mechanical key), you’re actually in luck. An auto locksmith should be able to reprogramme your car’s system so that it no longer recognises the old key and only recognises the new one.
However, if your car has both a remote control and a mechanical key the situation is more complex. Even if your car’s computer system is reprogrammed, anyone who has your old key can still get into the vehicle thanks to its manual locks.
In this situation you’ll probably want to consider the context surrounding your lost keys. If they were stolen then the thief likely knows which vehicle they belong to and may also be aware of your address. Consequently, you’ll want to have your locks changed to avoid your car being stolen as well.
On the other hand, if you simply misplaced your keys then changing your locks might not be necessary (though it certainly is advisable).
Lost car key insurance
Insurance for your car keys might come as part of your existing insurance, or you might be able to add it on at an extra cost.
This type of cover is worthwhile when you consider the average cost of lock changing and key replacement, which can be well over £400 depending on the vehicle make and model in question.
Check your existing insurance policy to see if you’re already covered. If not, contact your provider to see if this type of insurance is available as an add-on.
Lost car key replacement near me
You need new keys pronto - after all, you rely on your car every day - but how do you find an auto locksmith in your area who’s reliable? That’s where WhoCanFixMyCar comes in. We work with the best mechanics across the country so you don’t have to spend hours searching for them.
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