Several years ago, it wouldn’t have been a big deal if you lost your car key. Getting a spare key is pretty quick and easy. However, as cars have grown to be technology-dependent, so have their keys. Now, there are numerous types of car keys, each having more complex mechanisms than the other. As such, fixing the issue won’t be as simple as getting a new key, unlike before.
However, while it may take time, it’s most certainly possible to get back in your car if you lost your only key. With that said, here are five steps you need to follow when you lose your car key.
Determine the type of car key you lost
As stated earlier, there are several types of car keys. Here’s a look at the most common types:
- Traditional key: Also known as a mechanical key, this is an old type of car key. While it’s no longer as prevalent as years ago, you can still find it in older models.
- Transponder key: This type is very much like mechanical keys, except it contains an electrical component that communicates with the car to determine if it’s valid. So, it’s a more secure car key and is also the most commonly used type.
- Laser-cut key: A laser-cut key is basically a transponder key, but with extra security, which comes from the fact that it’s harder to duplicate or copy due to its unique shape.
- Proximity key: As the name suggests, this type of key only requires you to place the key within the car’s vicinity to unlock it. Unfortunately, while it does offer a level of convenience, it requires you to replace the entire lock system of your vehicle if you ever lose one since there’s a chance it was stolen.
- Remote car keys: A remote car key is basically a key that allows you to unlock or lock a car without coming in contact with the vehicle. It only needs a press of a button.
Depending on the type of your car key, the steps you must take to regain access to your car may vary. It typically comes down to two choices: calling for locksmith services from ASAP Locksmith and similar agencies or visiting your local dealership. Regardless, you must always gather information on your car before you attempt to contact either of these two places.
Gather information on your car
Normally, if you want to get a spare key for your car, you’ll have to show the service provider your existing key. They’ll use this as a point of reference when creating the spare. While dealerships and locksmith services are indeed convenient, they also still require a bit of information about your vehicle to use as a reference when recovering access to your car.
Since you lost your key, you most likely can’t bring the car to the agency. So, you can’t expect them to gather info on the vehicle themselves if you can’t physically present the car. For these reasons, it’s crucial that you collect information on your vehicle yourself.
Here’s a list of info the locksmith or dealership may require:
- Year, make, and model
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Personal identification
- Vehicle registration
Once you’ve gathered the necessary info, the next step would be to choose between the two options. Keep in mind that the best choice of the two would vary according to your car key type. It might be best to start with locksmith services and the car key types they can handle.
File a police report
If you suspect your car key was stolen rather than lost, you may have to file a police report for two reasons:
- If the thief manages to steal your car afterwards, you won’t be held responsible for any damage or issue the vehicle causes.
- Insurance companies may require you to provide a police report in order to cover the costs of getting a new key.
Call for locksmith services
Locksmith services will be the ideal choice if your car key isn’t very complex or intricate. It’s much cheaper than going to a dealership, and you don’t have to wait for the crew to tow your car. You only need to provide the necessary info, and they should be able to do the work.
The process of getting a new key is pretty straightforward. You provide them with the info you gathered from the previous step, show them proof of ownership, and wait for them to create a key (if they don’t have one in stock already). Locksmith services should be able to recover access for the following key types:
- Traditional keys
- Transponder keys
- Smart keys
- Proximity keys
Perhaps the only type they can’t handle is the laser-cut key due to the difficulty of duplicating the key. However, keep in mind that not all locksmith service providers would have the same expertise. In some cases, they may not have the ability to program transponder, smart, or proximity keys.
For that reason, you must take your time to choose a locksmith agency. If you do manage to find one that fits your criteria, make sure the prices are reasonable. For your reference, the cost of replacing a car key or reprogramming a locking system ranges from USD$50 to USD$200. (3)
- Visit your local dealership
As mentioned, your second option to regain access to your car would be to send your vehicle to a local dealership. Do note that they generally have higher rates than locksmith service providers. But since they have access to the car’s record, they often have a higher chance of successfully regaining access to your vehicle.
Another issue is that it’s not ideal if you’re in a rush. This is because you’ll have to wait for their crew to tow your car, unlike locksmith services where you only need to contact them online. The waiting time may take hours, so it’s not advisable if you’re on a tight schedule. (3)
Losing a car key has always been a massive inconvenience. Not only does it interfere with your schedule, but it’s also an expense you could’ve avoided. On the bright side, unlike before, getting a new car key is much faster, as long as you know what you’re doing, and that’s what this article is all about. With this guide, you should be able to regain access to your car in a jiffy.