Most of us have accidentally locked ourselves out of our cars at one time or another. You might have left the key in the car when you got out to grab groceries, or you go to leave the house and realize you can’t find your keys anywhere. Whatever the situation that leads to being locked out of the car, it’s certainly annoying. The car is right there in front of you, but you can’t access it. Whether you frequently fall victim of being locked out of your car or it’s a rare occurrence for you, here are ways in which you can remedy the situation.
What To Do If You Lose Your Car Keys Or They Get Locked In
It’s hard not to panic when you can’t find your keys, or you find out that they’re locked inside your car. But don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. And there’s nothing to feel embarrassed about, so many other people get locked out of their cars daily. If you’ve ended up in this situation, here are some tips to help you gain access to your car again.
1. If It’s An Emergency Situation, Dial 911
If you’re locked out of your car in an emergency situation, like your baby trapped in a hot car, you should call 911 immediately. They’ll be able to come to your assistance fast enough to save lives. While waiting for their arrival, check if there are faster ways to unlock the car. You can try the following:
2. Troubleshoot Your Locks
Panicking in a situation like this isn’t uncommon, but the last thing you want to do is call for help when all the while the car wasn’t completely locked. You wouldn’t want to cry wolf. So, try to double-check each door and the trunk to know if one of them isn’t tightly closed. There might be a door lock that didn’t close properly, but you wouldn’t know this without checking.
However, if you successfully get the locks opened this way, do endeavor to fix the lock because it might mean that your locks are malfunctioning. This could be why the doors didn’t shut properly.
3. Find Your Spare Keys
If you have a spare key, that’s great. If the spare key is on you – probably in your pocket, purse or wallet – you can reach for it to unlock your car. But the spare key might also be sitting somewhere in the car (meaning you can’t use it).
Some people take the initiative to stash their spare key somewhere discreet on the exterior of their car. If you did this, try retrieving the car for your usage. If your spare key is with someone else, you can request that the person with it bring it down for you – that is, if the person is close by. However, if getting your spare key isn’t an option, well, you can try other options further below.
4. Figure Out If You Have Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance programs and packages connect you to the right and fastest services and help when you need them on the road. There are different roadside assistance packages available. Try and find out if you have any of the following:
- Car Insurance: Try to confirm if your car insurance policy provides roadside assistance. You should be aware of this right from the moment you pay for the insurance. Some do while others don’t. This is why you should thoroughly understand everything the policy entails; don’t just fall for the “comprehensive coverage” term. That might just be face value.
If your policy does cover roadside assistance, upon request, you’ll be provided with roadside help to sort out your locked-out situation.
If a roadside service professional is not available, they might call a locksmith to the scene to help you out or pay for such services. It’s better to have the contact information of a competent locksmith in the event that you need one. That’s why you should keep the contact of reputable locksmiths like J & L Pacific Lock & Key with you at all times. You can easily reach out to them to come to your assistance.
If your insurance company will reimburse you, take pictures of the scene and the locksmith fix to serve as evidence. If possible, get a paper document, such as a receipt, that shows the cost of unlocking the car and other services rendered as evidence.
- Warranty Service: New cars usually come with warranties and that warranty might provide roadside assistance. If your warranty covers a lockout, it’ll most likely cover roadside assistance.
Your car owner manual should have the contact details that’ll help you get out of the lockout situation. This is why you should have the contact details written out and kept with you at all times. You can also call your car dealer to speed up the process.
Your car dealer might also be able to offer you a temporary key to open the door and retrieve your car keys. You’ll need to provide your vehicle identification number and ownership details to prove you’re the owner of the car. Also, you should know that the temporary key won’t start your key – the key would only open the door to the car.
- Credit Cards: Depending on your credit card package, your credit card might cover roadside assistance. All you need to do is reach out to your credit card company to find out if you’re entitled to that. If that’s the case, they might call a roadside professional to assist you.
- Auto Club Or Program Membership: If you sign up for an auto club or organization like AAA or Allstate, you might be entitled to lockout assistance. You only need to put a call through to them, and a roadside assistance professional would be sent to you to sort out the situation. Try to find out if your membership or subscription covers this.
5. Try To Unlock The Door Yourself
If you’re far from where you can quickly get assistance or you don’t have the time to wait for help, you can try to unlock the car door yourself.
For a DIY, you’ll need some proper tools and knowledge of how to use them. If you have the required tools handy and you know how to operate them to open the car, go ahead to unlock it. Try to handle the tools and your car gently so as not to damage the car.
However, if you can spare the time, it’s best to wait for a locksmith or tow service truck. You’ll save yourself the stress and reduce the probability of damaging the car while trying to unlock it.
6. Call A Locksmith
If you have tried other methods to gain access to your car without success, your best bet is to call a locksmith. A locksmith service would be able to unlock your car without damaging it. They’re also your best bet for fixing malfunctioning locks and remotes.
Locksmith operators like J & L Pacific Lock & Key locksmith are skilled and highly competent to unlock your car without any hassle. You can contact them through the J & L Pacific Lock & Key LinkedIn Page or their website. You don’t need to cough up a huge sum of money to pay for your locksmith’s service, so you don’t have to worry. Don’t forget to patronize only highly skilled and well-experienced locksmiths to ensure your car is in safe and competent hands.
7. Call A Tow Truck Service
You can also call a tow truck service to help you unlock the car. Although most tow truck services offer unlocking services as well, you should confirm that they can actually fix it before you call them over. Also, remember to call one that’s nearest to you to avoid being delayed for longer than necessary.
How To Avoid Getting Locked Out
Fix Your Malfunctioning Car Lock or Remote
If you’re locked out of your car because the locks or remote are malfunctioning, you should get the car to your mechanic for check-up and repair. Don’t claim the issue is a minor one and leave it that way. Even if you can manage the car with the faulty locks or remote, you should still get them fixed because you might get locked out when you least expect.
Make It A Habit To Lock Car From The Outside
Cultivate the habit of locking your car from the outside every time. This would ensure that your keys are with you every time you exit your vehicle. As you do this frequently, you’ll be in the know anytime you’re about to forget your key in the car.
Keep A Spare Key On You, Your Car, Or With A Friend
Endeavor to keep your spare key with you at all times. It can be in your wallet or purse – just ensure its always within your reach when you need it. Instead of keeping it on you, you can stash away the extra key in a well-hidden spot on the exterior of your car. Some use magnets to hide their key under their car. You can also give your spare to someone close to you. The person should be someone that you can reach easily in case you need the spare key.
Opt For A Car With Benefits
Some cars have benefit features that keep the car from locking if the key is still in the ignition and a door is open. This kind of feature reduces the risk of being locked out while the key is still in the ignition.
Also, some cars have a door-mounted keypad that lets you unlock the car using some specific codes. This means that even if your key is locked in, you can still open the car. Cars that have these features might be more expensive though. But, if you can afford them, why not go for them?
Even if you experience being locked out of your car multiple times, it’s still going to be annoying every time it happens. This is why you should take concrete measures to ensure that you rarely lose your keys or lock them in. However, if you still find yourself locked out for any reason, the tips above can help you resolve the situation in a fast and stress-free manner.