I Locked My Keys in the Car, Now What?

I'm locked out of my car!

If you've accidentally locked your keys in your car or you've lost your keys and can't get back into your car, it's easy to forget the most basic solutions. First, try every door on the car. After you've verified all doors are locked, look at the windows and sunroof. Is there room to gain entry? Can you use a cracked window opening to reach through with a tool of some sort and push the window or door lock button? Those are two common solutions to a panic-inducing problem. 

If you need to call 911 for help because there's a child or pet in the vehicle, or because you are stranded in an unsafe area, be direct with the dispatcher. Be sure to say, "I've locked myself out of my car," clearly. They can quickly send police officers who have the right tools to open your car doors.

Where's Your Spare Key?

Once you've verified that there's no way to reach through an open sunroof or cracked window, think about where you store your spare keys.

"If you’ve locked your keys in your car, it’s important to stay levelheaded and think about your options," said Richard Reina, Product Training Director at CARiD.com. "Do you have a spare key? If so, see if there is someone who can bring it to you. There is the option of getting another key from your car dealer, but you’ll need to find a ride there and provide written documentation which proves that you own the vehicle (not easy if that paperwork is in the locked car’s glove box)."

What About Roadside Assistance?

If you don't have access to someone who can bring you a spare set of keys right away, think carefully about whether you may have roadside assistance.

"Some car insurance policies, warranty services, and certain credit cards include roadside assistance," said Reina. "While coverage limits vary, many roadside assistance policies include lockout service, as it happens all too commonly."

If you have a major credit card in your wallet, call the 800 number on the back of the card and ask a customer service agent if roadside assistance is included in your card's list of benefits. Aceable also offers it's own Roadside Assistance to help you in situations like this.

You May Be Able to Get Help from a Locksmith

Once you've exhausted those options, call a local locksmith for help. Tell them the year, make, and model of your car. They may be able to bring tools to open your door without having to recreate a key.

You may have to call a tow truck. If all else fails, an authorized dealer in the area can safely unlock your vehicle, but you'll have to get it there. When you call the tow company, let them know you've locked your keys in the car and ask if they have the tools to open the door so you can avoid the hassle of towing the vehicle.

Prevent Locking Your Keys in the Car in the Future

Having locked keys in your car is a common problem. It's smart to keep a spare key handy. Some drivers use a magnetic key box or zip tie to fasten a spare key underneath their vehicle. Others leave an extra key with a friend or relative so they have someone to call for help.

Locking your keys in the car is a big problem, but it's also avoidable. Many newer vehicles have a key fob with a "lock" button. Make a habit of using the key fob to lock your car, instead of pushing the "lock" button inside your car. If you drive an older vehicle with a metal key, make a few spares, just in case.

You may also want to consider signing up for roadside assistance. Luckily, when you enroll in our driver's ed class, you'll get one month of free service, which should give you peace of mind when it comes to locking yourself out of the car.