There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing you’ve locked your car keys in the car. Do you try every trick in the book to jimmy the lock or call someone for help? Many car owners don't know there's more than one source of help. Here's who you can call should you lock your keys in the car.
I Locked My Keys in the Car. Who Do I Call?
Making the call to tell someone "I'm locked out of my car," is more common than you think. But who is it you should call?
Michael Lowe, CEO of Car Passionate, has several recommendations, as well as an important piece of advice.
"One thing I would not do is try to break into the car," said Lowe. "While it is your car, to a passerby it would look very suspicious."
Call a Friend or Family Member for the Spare Key
"My first tip is that you have a spare key for the car," says Lowe. "Keep it on you in your purse or wallet, away from the other set of keys, or give it to someone you trust that you can call if you cannot get to your keys."
Ideally, make more than one set of keys to hand to various friends who live in your area. If one person isn’t available, another might be.
Call Emergency Roadside Assistance
"Before calling a locksmith, calling emergency road/car services may actually be cheaper," says Lowe. "They can usually help with problems like this, and if you already have this service on your insurance, it is saving you money."
If you’re a member of AAA, they will send a technician to unlock the car. If the job is more complex, AAA will locate and send the nearest locksmith or arrange for a tow truck.
Call the Dealership
If roadside assistance is included in your vehicle warranty, you’re in luck. The dealership can arrange for a locksmith to assist you. Roadside assistance is often for a limited period only, so check the terms of your warranty to see when this benefit expires.
Another way the dealership may be able to assist is in locating a spare key or unlocking the vehicle via remote access. For example, if you drive a General Motors car (Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, or Cadillac), the dealer can unlock the doors remotely via GM’s OnStar emergency service using your verification PIN.
Call a Locksmith
A fast way to get back into your car is to call a locksmith. A locksmith that’s nearby can arrive within 15 to 30 minutes and have your door unlocked in less than 10 minutes. You’ll be on the road in less than an hour. Lowe recommends checking online reviews or asking a friend for recommendations to find a reliable technician.
"A locksmith would be cheaper than a rekey and it can be done almost instantly for the right price," says Lowe. "If you need your car that day, this is the best option."
The average cost of a car lockout is between $60 and $120. Rekeying costs $75 to $180. If you’ve lost your key, replacing the key costs between $70 and $250. Locksmith costs will vary depending on the car's features, such as a transponder key or additional security features.
Call the Police
If you’re stranded at night or in a remote area and feel unsafe, can call the police. This should be a last resort if you find yourself in a dangerous or life-threatening situation. The police will come to your aid, but remember, unlocking a car door is less of a priority than more serious incidents they need to respond to.
Planning for unexpected circumstances such as a car lockout is an important part of driver safety. To avoid being locked out of your car, follow these vehicle securing procedures every time you park and exit the vehicle.