Chances are most of us have locked our keys in the car at one time or another and if we haven’t well, there’s a good chance we will at least once in our lifetime. Nobody does it on purpose, it’s just one of those things that happen; and while it can be frustrating, embarrassing or downright maddening, there are some things that we can do to remedy the situation.
I’ve heard almost everything, from carrying a tennis ball with a hole drilled in it (reportedly you place the tennis ball against the outside lock where you would normally insert your key and push as hard as you can; the air pressure will supposedly pop the inside lock open) to watching clips online which show using anything from a coat hanger to a small wooden wedge and a metal pole. My question has always been the same: Unless you’re parked in front of your home or at the home of a friend or family member who just happens to have these items on hand, exactly who has a tennis ball with a pre-drilled hole or pieces of wood and a metal pole at the ready?
I’ve also read online about the cell phone magic that will supposedly unlock your car if your car has a key-less entry system. Supposedly, if you lock your keys in the car and your spare key is at home, you call someone at the house from your cell phone to their cell phone. You then hold your cell phone a few inches from the car door while the person on the other end of the phone presses the unlock button on the key-less entry fob and like magic, the lock will spring open. Reportedly, distance is no object and it’s been claimed that this works anywhere, no matter how far away you are from the person who has your extra remote entry key fob. I don’t know anyone who has actually had success with this, so I checked Snopes.com, where I found it may be possible for this to work on vehicles that have something other than RKE (which transmits encrypted data to a receiver inside the vehicle via a radio frequency system), but it doesn’t work on most models.
So what can you do when you lock the keys in the car? Here are some solutions that really work:
Get a spare key made: Go to the nearest hardware store and have them make you a spare or two. For less than $10.00, you’ve got real peace of mind.
Keep your spare key in a secure location: Give one spare key to a trusted family member or friend and place the other one in a magnetic key case, which can be hidden along a metal surface of your vehicle. These are available in different sizes and can be purchased for under $10.00. You can also keep a spare key at your house and if close, call for a ride to retrieve your key, or if you’ve left it with someone you can trust, call to have them bring it to you.
Sign Up for an AAA Membership: If you’re a member of AAA, you automatically receive Roadside Assistance, which includes lock-out service up to $50.00. A Membership costs less than $70.00/year and is well worth it. Even if you never lock your keys in your car, you may need to take advantage of their other services, such as tire service, battery service, towing service and more.
Talk to your insurance company: Some insurance companies offer this type of coverage in your insurance policy. All it takes is a phone call to determine if lock-out service is covered and if so, you’re already ahead of the game!
Sign up for OnStar: By calling the helpline, OnStar remotely sends a signal to your vehicle and unlocks your doors.
Call the police: You can call the police and ask them to unlock your car. They usually have tools (like a Slim Jim) and will eventually come to your assistance. Even though it may take a while for them to arrive at your location (unless you have a child in the car), the best thing about this option is that it’s free.
Call a tow truck: As a last resort, this is your best option. Although somewhat expensive (some charge as much as $100.00 for lock-out services) at least you’ll know help is on the way.
Have you locked your keys in your car? If so, what did you do?
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