Locking your keys inside your car is easy to do - all it takes is a few seconds’ lapse in concentration and you can be locked out of your car. It is surprisingly common - about 25% of us will have been locked out of our car at some point.
While being locked out of your car, van, SUV, or pickup truck is an inconvenience, it doesn’t have to ruin your entire day, or cost too much money to sort the problem out.
How car lockouts happen
There are a range of ways that people can end up locked out of their cars, and which auto locksmiths will deal with every day. Here are the most common:
- The keys have been locked inside the car - most commonly they have been shut inside the boot or trunk
- The car keys have been lost or stolen
- The car keys are broken or damaged
- The car door latch has stuck and won’t open
- The transponder chip inside the key has been damaged and needs to be replaced
- The lock on the car door has broken.
What to do if you’re locked out of your car
Firstly, if you are locked out of your car, don’t panic - the problem is easily solvable. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to smash a window to get into your car. Not only is this dangerous, it could end up costing you money by having to replace the broken glass. Also, don’t be tempted to try any homespun techniques you may have seen, such as inserting a wire coat hanger between the window and seal, which won’t work with many of today’s automatic locking cars, and could well just cause damage to it.
Instead, make your first call to an auto locksmith.
What’s an auto locksmith?
Auto locksmiths are specialists in everything to do with car, van, SUV and truck keys and locks. They have had specialist training in how to unlock doors, and, if necessary, repair and replace keys or fix broken locks.
In addition, auto locksmiths are mobile and can come out to you wherever you may be; in under an hour in an emergency, whatever the time of day or night, 365 days a year. Their vans are fully equipped with every tool they need to be able to unlock the vehicle without actually damaging it.
Auto locksmiths can often get into your vehicle and retrieve your keys within minutes thanks to their expertise and specialist equipment, although this can depend on how complex the locking system is - in general, the newer the vehicle, the higher tech the locking system tends to be.
Then, if needs be, the auto locksmith can cut and program a new key for you while you wait - they have the equipment to be able to create replacement keys for the vast majority of vehicles on UK and US roads today - which means you will be able to get back to your day in next to no time.
Your car dealership vs a local auto locksmith
You may be tempted to call your car dealership to sort out the problem, but many do not offer roadside assistance, so you would have to get your vehicle towed to them. In addition, car dealerships usually don’t have spare keys in stock, so one would have to be ordered in, which takes time. Dealerships also tend to charge a premium for such services.
So, the simplest, and most cost-effective solution, is to request a quote from an auto locksmith through the Auto Locksmiths website.
The type of car keys out there:
You will find that there are a wide variety of car keys types in use, ranging from the straightforward type of key that has been around for years, to high-tech electronic gadgets for the newer, more technologically complex locks. In fact, there are five main key types:
- Standard keys - just a traditional key that operates a lock. These are generally only found in pre-1995 cars.
- Laser cut keys - have a complex pattern cut into both sides, and are inserted into the door lock and the ignition.
- Transponder keys - contain a sensor that only matches the ignition of your individual car.
- Switchblade keys - a button is pressed to unlock the doors, then a key is inserted into the ignition.
- Smart proximity - this key unlocks the car doors automatically when you are near to it. The engine is started with a push button.
How the auto locksmiths unlock cars
Auto locksmiths have been trained in the locking mechanisms of all the makes and models of vehicles, and this training is regularly refreshed to reflect new models coming onto the market. Coupled with that, they use tools that are exclusive to the automotive locksmith industry, and that can open any lock of any make or marque of vehicle.
Finding a professional auto locksmith near you
It doesn’t matter what make, model or age of vehicle you drive, auto locksmiths can help with any lock or key problem you may have. However, finding a reputable technician local to you can be difficult, especially if the situation is an emergency and time is of the essence.
Rest assured - the Auto Locksmiths network of 400+ technicians across the UK and USA is here to help take the uncertainty out of searching for an auto locksmith. All the car, van, SUV, and truck locksmiths featured on this site have been approved and verified by industry experts, so you can be confident you will be engaging an experienced and trustworthy auto locksmith. An expert who can solve any lock or key problem you are experiencing, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.