Lock Your Keys in the Car? Helpful Tips to Get By
It happens to almost everyone at some point. Maybe you thought you put your keys in your pocket before you slammed the door, or maybe the door closed on accident with the locks already engaged. Regardless of the reason, it is a frustrating situation. Depending on whether you are home or out and about, you may feel you have limited options to manage your situation once it happens.
However, there are alternatives to calling a locksmith. Some of these must be planned in advance, while others can work in the moment. To help you survive your next car key disaster, here are some tips to get you back in the driver’s seat.
Using Valet Keys
Some cars come with an extra key referred to as the Valet Key. Often, these keys have some form of limited use in the vehicle. Some can only open the car doors and operate the ignition, but can’t access areas like the trunk. Others can only be used for a few minutes at a time before the car automatically stops.
Regardless of the limits, these keys traditionally unlock the driver’s side door at a minimum. One way to help overcome the issue of keys locked in your car is to keep your valet key in a different location. For example, since these often do not include remote unlock buttons, you may be able to simply place it in your wallet as a backup.
If someone else has access to your home, such as a spouse or child, you can store the valet key in a drawer at home and have someone else in the family pick it up. In a pinch, you can learn how to pick a lock with a credit card, and your wallet can ultimately come to your rescue.
Alternatively, you can leave it with a friend or family member, so you always have access to an extra key during an emergency. Instead of waiting for a locksmith, you simply call them up and your key can be on its way to you.
If your vehicle is equipped with OnStar, access to your car may be a simple phone call away. Often, you call them directly, verify your account information, and have a remote signal sent within minutes. Their support line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
While the service can be pricey once the free trial expires, it does offer many other features beyond simply unlocking your doors in a pinch. However, if you have locked your keys in the car a few times, paying for OnStar may be less expensive, and less of a hassle, than repeatedly calling a locksmith.
Call Your Auto Insurer
Even though this seems similar to calling a locksmith, you may have access to better pricing if you contact your auto insurer first. Some insurance packages include roadside assistance. While this isn’t the fastest way to gain access to your vehicle, it may not cost you anything to have the service provided. If you aren’t in a hurry, and you and your car are in a generally safe place, then having a bit of patience can save you money over calling a locksmith.
If your insurer doesn’t include roadside assistance, you can add policies from car clubs like AAA can fill in that gap for a nominal fee. Like OnStar, these services offer more benefits than simply unlocking your doors, so take a look and see if the whole package is worth the investment in your specific situation.