Getting locked out of your car can happen for a variety of different reasons, many of which you have little control over. Thousands of times per year, dogs left inside of a car will jump up onto the window ledge and inadvertently hit the lockdown thereby locking themselves inside the car, and you outside. Children have been known to do the same, but sometimes are old enough to unlock the door as well. And then there’s that quick run into the minute-mart store where you leave the engine running, have a second thought about not wanting your car stolen, and lock the door, forgetting that, your keys are in the ignition. It happens to everybody once in a while, here are some of the best solutions to prevent the problem, or fix it once it happens.
Start Now, Buy a Hide-a-Key
Before you do anything else, go right now to the local hardware or automotive store and get what is called a Hide-a-Key. They are small containers that have magnets attached and can be hidden inside the frame of your car. Get a copy of your key made and insert it into the small box and then hide it in the frame of your car.
If you do it right now, you’ll someday thank yourself for having listened when you read this article and took immediate action. It may be a year from now or next week, but you’ll save hundreds of dollars, hours of anxiety, and your safety won’t be in jeopardy either. These small hidden boxes are a lifesaver and only cost about $2 plus the cost of making a copy of your key.
While you’re at it, get two of these little boxes and get a copy of your house key made at the same time. Then take the house key and hide it somewhere in your yard, under your porch, or leave it with a neighbor for the next time you get locked out of your home. It’ll save you from calling a locksmith, or breaking your own window, to get in.
Many Car Dealers Can Make A Car Door Key
If you find yourself locked out of your car you can usually call the car dealership where you purchased the car new and they can make you one. They’ll need to have a lot of details like your name, address, phone number, car serial number, and other information. This is to stop common criminals from getting the serial number of your car and using it to have a key made to steal your car.
Some dealerships will even have their own locksmith that they’ll send to your location and open the car for you. This is a safeguard to stop thieves because they will ask for your ID and verify you are the owner before unlocking the door. Since car lockouts are a very common problem, many car dealers have locksmiths on call to help their customers when needed.
Also, due to having so many cars on their lots, and new salespeople coming a going on a daily basis, there are lots of lockout problems that happen at their store. So instead of having an outside locksmith having to come to retrieve keys from cars, they’ll have their own, on-site locksmith do the job instead. He may be a dedicated locksmith, or he may have other duties that he performs in addition to opening cars on the lot.
Some Car Dealers Contract Out The Locksmith Job
This can be a management decision that has lots of variables involved. When a customer calls with a car lock-out problem, how far should the dealer travel to do the service? Or, should they contract out with a dedicated car lockout company that has service representatives all across the country? Having your own service people drive through traffic to a distant location may not be worth risk and cost. They’ll have to have an insured vehicle, covered by the company, and may end up driving long distances through heavy traffic for just one service call.
On the other hand, a car lockout service may have a representative nearby, could get there sooner, and cost less in the long run for the dealership. It all depends on the size of the service area that the dealer decides to cover, how often their customers need help and the costs of having a vehicle ready, insured, and with trained personnel on call.
With Some Brands Of Cars There Are Fewer Keys To Choose From
This is something that some of the larger car brands have gotten in trouble for in the past. At one time, throughout all of the brands under the GM name, there were actually only a few different keys made in a given year. They were sued and soon began making lots more different keys and separating the various brands so that a Buick key wouldn’t fit a Pontiac and vice versa.
Still, in many car dealerships, they’ll have a huge key ring for a given year and all they need is the serial number of your car to know which one will unlock it. Other times they can use the serial number to make a key, with a special machine, that will unlock the door. Each different brand of car will typically have their own policy for providing the car unlocking services that their customers need.
There Are Nationwide Car Unlocking Companies
There are several national companies that work mostly with insurance companies to provide car unlocking services. They usually are covered on your car insurance if you have roadside assistance added to your policy. These riders that are added to your car insurance can be a lifesaver in many ways since they cover car lockouts, flat tires, dead batteries, towing, and even out-of-gas situations. Just one roadside emergency every few years and they’ve paid for themselves. Plus, no man wants his wife and children stranded on a dark road with a flat tire. With roadside emergency service, just a phone call gets the job done.
If you’re locked out of your car, you can start by calling your dealer to see what your options are as far as making a new key. Otherwise, call your insurance company and see how they handle car lockouts. If you don’t have the coverage, it’s a bargain and you should add it now while you’re thinking of it.