Before you mutter under your breath in exasperation “I have lost my car keys. What should I do now?” remember that it has happened to scores of people and help is at hand. You can always depend on your trusted auto locksmith to make you a replacement key. But to save you time and hassle, there are few things to bear in mind. Today’s modern cars come with keys that can be quite complex as well as expensive when it comes to replacing them. And if you’re wondering what to do if you lost your precious set of car keys, read on to know about how to prepare yourself if faced with such a situation.
The immediate questions that come to your mind are “What should I do if I lose my car keys and also do not have a spare set of keys? How much would it cost to replace my car keys if I don’t have the original one?”
Before you contact your auto locksmith, you need to jot down some information that will save your auto locksmith time as well as effort in creating a new car key. To begin with, you need to ascertain the type of car keys you have. There are various types of car keys such as mechanical or traditional keys, transponder keys, laser-cut transponder keys, switchblade keys, and keyless entry remotes or proximity fobs.
Traditional/mechanical keys are less expensive to replace as compared to a transponder key or other electronic keys. For instance, transponder keys have a transponder chip in the head of the car key or the key handle and when the key is inserted in the ignition, the chip transmits a signal to the ignition, and a sensor responds and activates the transponder. These keys are a bit expensive to replace. Similarly, a laser-cut transponder key is laser-cut to exact specifications and you will require an expert auto locksmith for rekeying and car key programming of the built-in transponder before you can use it. Hence replacing these keys is more costly.
The price of replacing your car keys depends on the model, make, the age of your car, the car’s immobilizer system, and the type of key that needs to be replaced, i.e., whether it is a keyless entry, remote key fob, or a traditional key without an in-built chip.
Some insurance providers offer car key cover as an add-on to your car insurance policy for stolen and lost keys. And calling a reliable auto locksmith saves you money as compared to contacting a dealer.
How to be prepared for a lost key situation
Although a good auto locksmith can easily create a new set of car keys, even if you cannot provide him/her with the original key, you will still be required to provide him with some vital information about your vehicle when you place a request for a replacement key. You need to acquire your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the make and model of your car, the car’s registration number, your current location, and your personal identification. All this information is required to ensure that the vehicle belongs to you or proves your ownership. Moreover, the details of the vehicle will be needed for car key programming.
Even if you have lost your only set of car keys, it wouldn’t matter as an auto locksmith will be able to provide you with a replacement key and reprogram it for you to match your car. Moreover, he/she will de-program your old car key and render it useless, in case it has been misplaced or stolen. You don’t need to change the car’s locks or doors as an expert auto locksmith can de-program the lost keys and/or reconfigure the existing locks. Your lost or stolen car keys can be programmed out of the car’s database and prevent anyone else from using them.
Most auto locksmiths offer a mobile service, travel to you, and do the work on-site. They come equipped with programming software and key blanks and ensure that you are back on track in the shortest possible time.
It is always better to be prepared if you face the nightmarish situation of a car lockout due to lost car keys. And a few simple steps can go a long way and help you avoid unnecessary trouble.