Sometimes you’re running a quick errand and absentmindedly drop your keys or key fob on the way out of the car. Other times, you might be heading home after a long day and forget to pick up your keys from the front seat. No matter how it happens, a lost car key can be a huge inconvenience. Luckily, it is fairly easy to replace these handy devices once you know what to do.
The first thing you should do after losing your car keys is retrace your steps. It’s natural for people to return to the last place they think they put something, so make sure you check all your pockets (especially those cluttered ones). If you’ve had a full day, it’s possible that you shoved your keys into your bag or purse to avoid them getting in the way of your hands. In these cases, it’s a good idea to empty your bag and check the bottom.
You can also try the “lost and found” at your work, school or gym. It’s possible that a co-worker, student or fellow member of the gym has found your key and turned it in. Just remember to tell them what it looks like, so they can help you find it later.
Another option is to ask a friend or family member to search with you. This will give you an entire search party and will make finding your lost items much easier. If you’re lost at the grocery store, ask a roommate or friend to search the meat section while you look in the produce section. It’s also a good idea to get yourself a key ring and hook your important keys on it — including your car keys — so you can quickly find them whenever you need them.
If you have a traditional, metal key, you’ll probably be able to go to a locksmith and have a new one made. This is cheaper than going to the dealer and will usually be completed sooner.
However, if you have a transponder key, the process of replacing your lost car key will be more complicated. This type of key contains a small chip that communicates with your car’s computer system, and you need to supply proof of ownership before a new key can be cut for your vehicle.
Fortunately, most auto dealers will still be able to help you with this. They may charge a premium, but they can often cut a new key for you on the spot and pair it up with your car’s computer so that it works. In some cases, they can even program a new key for you, so that it will automatically unlock your door and start your engine. You’ll need to check your warranty or car insurance policy to see if these services are covered. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for the service from an outside source. It’s best to purchase a replacement car key before you lose yours, so that you can be prepared for this worst-case scenario. lost car key