What to Do if You Lose Your Car Keys

How-To on June 19, 2018

Typically, we like to provide articles based on hypothetical circumstances for informational purposes, or just generally relevant topics – this week, I am writing based on personal experience, as the above incident just so happened to occur in my life this week.

This is not something I’ve heard come up or mentioned too frequently in daily life. While out walking the dogs at a park after dark, my keys fell out of my bag along the way. I did what any person would do immediately after – retraced my steps very carefully with a flashlight. No luck. After leaving my car at the park overnight, I returned the following morning at first light to search again. Unfortunately, I was still not able to find my keys. I then tried to call the local non-emergency police office, who directed me to their property department. If my keys had been turned into an officer, they would go there. Again, no luck. I also tried the park office – same situation, they would keep an eye out, but had received nothing so far. I was starting to get worried – I had no idea what to do, and no clue what re-keying a vehicle cost!

What to Do if You Lose Your Car Keys

My first step was to call AAA since I am a member. They advised me to find a locksmith in my area and offered several recommendations, and stated that though their classic service does not include this at no charge, they could offer a $60 reimbursement if I submitted my receipt online within 30 days of the service. Not too bad, I figured, any bit would help!

So from here I went to find a locksmith. After searching Google and calling around, I found one that was willing to meet me at my vehicle within an hour and re-key it right then and there. There are multiple key options – I wanted one with lock and unlock buttons as that’s what I had lost. Unfortunately for me, those keys are much more expensive. To get a basic key, the total cost started around $185. For my key with push buttons, the cost was $350. $95 out of that cost is a fee paid directly to the dealer in exchange for the information that the locksmith needs to re-key the vehicle using only the VIN.

Watching the locksmith was pretty astounding – he had a new key made for my car in 10 minutes! He even gave me an extra plain metal key to save as a backup in case I ever got locked out or needed it again.

As luck would have it, someone turned in my keys the very next day to the park office – they gave me a call to let me know. So now I have 3 sets of keys! I suppose a little patience might have paid off in this incident, but I did learn a lot about this process and what to do if you lose a keys. The best advice I have is to always keep a backup, even if it’s just one of the cheap basic metal ones. And try to keep an eye on your keys – I know I’m going to watch mine a lot closer!