As a car owner, there are days when you will consider yourself so lucky to own a car. However, there are also days when you will wonder if the entire universe is against you; and these days are usually the days when you can’t find your car keys. Whether or not the day eventually turns out fine is largely dependent on if you end up finding your missing keys or if they are gone forever. However, the good news is that you never really have to find yourself in a situation like this, especially when you take all the right precautions which would most likely involve making a spare key.
Nonetheless, if you find yourself unlucky enough not to have thought of this earlier, then here are a few things you should do when you lose your car keys;
- Don’t Get Worked Up
If you lose your car keys, there are very high chances that you could begin to feel some sense of panic or anxiety over the situation. However, it is at times like these you need to calm down and try to think through your next steps logically.
- Think through your last few activities
Start by working your way through the details of your mind, think of the time you likely lost the keys and go back to the location it most likely happened. When you get there, try to search and ask people around if it had been picked up by anyone or taken to a “lost & found” area.
- Have a full understanding of the kind of car keys you use
If all options fail and you are still unable to retrieve your car keys, then it might be a good time for you to start considering making a replacement and also a spare to prevent this from ever happening again. For most older cars like Astra, Holden, Mitsubishi Lancer, Commodore or Cruze, you are very likely to be using a traditional key for your vehicle. However, if your car uses other kinds of lock systems like push-button start and remote unlocking with no metal parts visible, then you are likely to be using an electronic fob. There are also a few set of cars that use both kinds of lock systems.
Regardless of the kind of car you use, you can always obtain new keys, here are the different ways you can get a new set of keys for your car;
- Traditional Key
Traditional keys are usually quite easy to replace, and they tend to cause you less trouble. Unlike most new cars, all you need to do is to have a new key cut to match the ignition and lock of your key and then you are good to go. For this, you will require a car-key replacement specialist and a car locksmith. These two people are capable of making you a new car key immediately. These professionals usually start by removing your car door lock and then they will go ahead to use your car’s lock code to make you a new key. This lock code is always located on the actual car lock or in the manufacturers’ manual.
However, things could get a little complicated if they fail to find your car lock code or if your lock is beaten down and worn out. In such a case, the professionals will need to take your lock apart just to extract the lock barrel and then cut a new key out of it. This process usually takes a lot more time and it is usually considered a last resort by most professionals.
So, in any case your lock code is not found immediately, then it is very likely that you might need to leave your car in the hands of the car-key replacement specialist. Depending on your location, you could end up spending up to $250 just to get this done. However, it is still worthy to remember that car key replacement would have cost you about $5 of key cutting.
- Electronic Key
For this type of key, a replacement is going to cost you a lot more than the replacement cost of a traditional key. This is largely due to the kind of technology that is involved in making such keys, this technology has different parts which need to be replaced when its keys go missing. Unfortunately, this is the most common option for a lot of modern cars.
Although, when you lose a single key, replacement is quite straightforward. This is because your car dealer or auto locksmith will be able to clone your spare key and create a new one for you quite easily but at a costly amount. However, when you lose both your original and spare keys, then this becomes an issue mostly because the computer in your car that controls the doors and immobilizer will need to get reset or replaced to be compatible with a new set of keys. Unfortunately, a complicated process like this can only be done by a car dealership and it is quite expensive.
Cloning a spare key will typically cost you somewhere between $267 to $800 depending on if you unlock your car by pushing a button (cheaper) or just by getting close to it (more expensive). However, losing both keys will cost you somewhere between $1800 to over $5000 to get a new set.
So, while you still have a spare key, it might be a great idea for you to have them cloned just in case you lose the spare key as well. Ultimately, the ideal habit to develop is the ability to be more careful with your car keys as it will save you a lot of trouble. However, we are all human and this can happen to anyone, so if you ever find yourself in this position, then simply follow the guide above of reaching out to an auto locksmith or dealership to help with the process of getting a new car key. It is also important to know the kind of car you use so that you can accurately budget for the costs associated with the replacement.