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What To Do If I Lost My Car Keys? Everything You Need To Know!

What To Do If I Lost My Car Keys

There might be too many people across the globe who have muttered “I lost my car keys” under their breaths a lot of times. If this happened long ago, it wouldn’t be much of a big deal since you might have a spare key hidden somewhere. Usually you can find it secured in a little box, fixed to the inside of the bumper. Then there’s the old method of just getting a blank key cut to replace the key you’ve lost. But today’s modern cars have keys that can be too complex, difficult, and a bit more expensive to replace. So you wonder, “what would I do if I lost my car keys?” There are a number of things you can do. You can try to search for your key and the usual do-it-yourself methods that involve using tools, go to the dealership, or go to an auto locksmith to request for a replacement key. 

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Modern cars today are more technologically advanced which means that their keys are also more complicated. So what would I do if I lost my car keys? Let’s find out!


What to do if I lost my car keys? – How much is it to replace a car key without the original?


In order to know what to do if I lost my car keys, I need to have an idea what kind of car keys I have. Knowing what kind of car keys you have will come in handy in the future. Car keys can get lost, stolen, or become damaged. Having an idea what car keys you own can help you prepare for the possible replacement cost if you lose them accidentally. 


There are different kinds of car keys and it include:

  • Traditional key or mechanical key.


This is the most basic type of key and is more common in older cars. This key doesn't have any encoding nor any electronic components that are used to validate the key.  This type of key can be made or duplicated by using a machine to cut metal from a standard key blank using die punch and other methods. This is also the cheapest way to get a spare key or a key replacement. This key can be usually replaced for around $5  to $15. 

  • Master key.


There are older cars that were equipped with a master key. This master key is meant to be used to make duplicates or replacement keys for cars and not for daily use since they are more expensive to replace. Master keys are no longer common today but if you are planning to buy a used car, make sure that you ask the previous owner or check the owner’s manual if the car comes with a master key. 

  • Transponder key.


Transponder keys are equipped with a transponder chip in the key handle or the head of the car key. This type of key has added security features that can help prevent cars from being stolen. When the key is inserted in the ignition, the said chip will send a signal to the ignition, a sensor will respond and will activate the transponder. If the wrong key is used, the car will not start since the key won’t be validated. If I lost my car keys and it is a transponder key, it will be more expensive to replace since this type of key needs to be programmed to the car so you will be able to use it. You usually have to go to the dealership or an auto locksmith to have this key replaced and you will have to give certain details about your car. To replace this key, you need to prepare at least $160 for the replacement and around $75 for the additional fob.

  • Laser-cut transponder key.


The laser-cut transponder key is a lot thicker than the common keys. It also has fewer grooves on its design. These keys are laser-cut to precise specifications and will need an expert auto locksmith to handle the rekeying and locksmithing. It will use a special machine to cut a laser-cut key and it is quite expensive. The laser-cut transponder key is equipped with a built-in transponder that needs to be programmed before it can be used. You can visit your local dealer or an expert auto locksmith to have your key replaced. The estimated cost for the laser-cut transponder key replacement plus reprogram is around $150 to $250. 

  • Switchblade key.


The switchblade key is the type of key that you can fold into the fob when it is not used and there is a button you can press that pops out the key if you need to use it again. If you have lost this kind of key, the replacement of the key and the fob can go around $200 to $300.    

  • Keyless entry remote or the proximity fob.


Keyless entry remotes or proximity fobs are one of the more modern car access options. This type of key looks like a remote and some has buttons on them. It can unlock the doors and start your car when you are near the car. This key goes by many names like the smart key, keyless access, keyless, entry, push button start, keyless go, and push-to-start key. 


A driver doesn't have to get the key from a bag or pocket to unlock, lock, and start the vehicle. The smart key will be recognized by one of the antennas in the bodywork of the car and the radio pulse generator in the housing. This car access option usually has a mechanical key that can be used in emergencies or as a back up. The back-up key will be supplied as a key blade.  


When the driver with the smart key is inside the car, it can disengage the car’s immobilizer and turn on the ignition even without inserting the key in the ignition. It is usually done by pressing a button or by turning an ignition switch.  


The smart key provides more extensive security measures that help ensure that your car won’t get stolen. The smart key system comes up and puts off random codes that will be picked up by the car. The code will then be confirmed and the car will be able to start. Since it involves a lot of electrical components and a more complex system, replacing it will be costly than other kinds of car keys. The estimated price for a smart key replacement can go around $220 to $600 depending your car’s model and year. 


What to do if I lost my car keys? – How can I get a replacement key for my car without the original?


Losing your car keys can be a hassle. You can’t go anywhere and drive your car until you find the missing keys. When you think finding it is impossible and you can only ask, “what could I do if I lost my car keys?”. Ask no more! We will tell you what you need to do if you can’t find your car keys.


  • Do not panic. You need to stay calm and avoid panicking. While it is true that it is worrisome if you have lost your car keys but panicking won’t do you any good. You won’t be able to think straight and you might do something unnecessary and unhelpful out of frustration. Once you are calm, you will be able to think straight and plan how to fix the problem. Chances are, you might remember that you have a spare key hidden somewhere.

  • Look for your keys. Just saying “I lost my car keys” again and again won’t do you any good. You need to compose yourself and think where or when you last saw or got hold of your car keys. Assess your surroundings or retrace your steps and take time to search for your missing car key until you are completely sure that you have lost it. 

  • Check your car. Sometimes it happens that you’ve been searching everywhere for your car keys only to find out that it is there in your car all along. If you have been locked out and you are sure that your key is in your car, you will have to call an auto locksmith to help you open your car door to retrieve your keys. 

  • Gather all your car’s information. If you are sure that you really lost your car keys, you need to get all your car’s information. You will need this when you request for a replacement key from your car’s dealer or from the auto locksmiths. You need to get your VIN or Vehicle Identification Number, your car’s make and model, its registration number, your personal identification, and your current location. All this information is needed to make sure that the car really belongs to you. Plus, vehicle details will be needed so that your key can be reprogrammed.  

  • Ask for a key replacement.


You somehow knew from the moment you said “I lost my car keys”, that there would be a chance that you would be requesting for a key replacement if you wouldn’t find it. That is the only thing you can do – two if you consider using tools to open your car but it is not recommended – to fix the problem. You can choose between the two options on where to get a car key replacement – a local dealer or an auto locksmith. 


If you have an older car and it still uses the traditional or mechanical key, then choosing to call a locksmith will be the better option. Calling a locksmith instead of a dealer can save you a lot of bucks. Locksmiths can easily make you a replacement key since it won’t need any programming.   


If you own a modern car that has complex keys that needs to be reprogrammed you can call your dealer and request for a new key. However, there are a lot of auto locksmiths now that have the tools and machines needed to make replacement keys for the modern cars. They can also reprogram the keys for you. You just need to find one that is reliable and knows exactly what to do. But if your car keys are too complicated for an auto locksmith to replace, you will have no choice but to contact your car brand’s dealership. 


Keep in mind that before you have your smart key replaced or pick a shop that does key replacements, you need to ask first if they offer warranties. While it is good to save a few bucks, it is also important to make sure that you will get a reliable and dependable new key. It is better to invest on keys that you know will last for a long time since your car key is also a vital part of your car’s security. 

  • Get a spare key. While you’re at it, you can get yourself a spare key for your vehicle in case you lost your car keys again. It is better to be prepared so you don’t end up muttering “I lost my car keys” over and over again. 


Additional Note:


If you think or suspect that your car keys have been stolen and not lost, you should proceed to contact the police and file a police report. You will need to give them the complete details.  


If you dropped your case outside, you can also notify the police about the loss in case of accidental misplacement and you can lodge a Non-Cognizable Report (NCR) with the authorities. You will have to give them details such as the approximate time of loss, the date, location, and other details.   


What to do if I lost my car keys? – Final Word


What would I do if I lost my car keys? I need to stay calm and think straight – that’s what you should say when you have lost your car keys. It can be a hassle and worrisome but there is always a solution to every car problem. Replacing car keys can be expensive especially if you own a modern car with a complex key. That is why it is important that you avoid this kind of problem by getting a spare key in advance, attaching it to a key ring, put your keys in one spot and try not to put them anywhere.  







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