Vital Tips to Prevent Locking Your Keys in Your Car

Car key in ignition
Car key in ignition

There’s nothing worse than realizing as the door to your car thumps closed, that your keys are in the ignition, and the door is now locked. It always seems to happen at the least opportune time, too – whether you’re in a rush to get to your child’s birthday party, or you’re running late for work, you can count on it happening when the chances for fallout are at their maximum.

There’s good news, though. You can do quite a few things to help prevent locking your keys in the car again. Not sure what those things might be? Let’s run through some of the most important, yet simplest steps to take.

Spares, Spares, and More Spares

One of the first and most important tips to avoid locking yourself out actually has nothing to do with preventing yourself from forgetting your keys in the car, and everything to do with realizing that it’s going to happen at some point no matter what you do. Make spares. You need at least two of them.

You should carry a spare key on you (your purse should work well, or tuck one in your wallet), and you should also hide a spare key on your vehicle somewhere. A magnetic lock box attached to the inside of a wheel well is a great idea. Just put it out of sight, and make sure you never tell anyone that it’s there. Word can get around, and you might find that a friend of a friend decided that your car needed a new owner.

Keep Your Fob Elsewhere

Man opening his car with the remote control key
Man opening his car with the remote control key

Key fobs come in many different configurations. There are types that include the key blade, as well as those without a key in them at all (both remote start, and older style fobs that only let you lock/unlock the doors and the trunk). Whichever type you have, don’t keep it with the key if possible.

Carry the fob in your pocket, and leave the key itself on the keyring. This ensures that even if you do lock your key in the car, you have a way to open the door easily. Note that some key fobs actually have a metal key blade hidden inside them designed to open your door if the battery in the fob dies.

Only Lock the Doors from Outside

This is one of those “I wish I’d thought of that” tips – a commonsense step that too many of us overlook. Don’t lock your doors from inside the car. Only lock them from outside. This will prevent you from locking the keys in your car, because you can’t lock the doors from outside unless you have either the key or the key fob.

Let a Trusted Friend or Relative Carry a Spare

If you’re married, make sure that your spouse has a copy of your key. If you’re not married or don’t have a significant other, find a trusted friend, and make sure that he or she has a copy of your car key. This will ensure that if you do manage to lock your keys in the car, there’s someone you can trust that will be able to let you in, without incurring the costs involved with calling an automotive locksmith.

Be Mindful

Mindfulness
Mindfulness

It’s important to note that most of the instances when someone locks their keys in their car, it’s because they’re distracted. Maybe you’re in a rush. Maybe you’re in a bad mood. Maybe you just had an argument with your significant other, and you’re rerunning everything through your mind nonstop. Maybe you’re just plain not paying attention to what you’re doing.

Whatever the case might be, it usually results in the same thing – your car door gets locked and shut, while the keys are still inside. Be mindful. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Be aware of your surroundings, and your actions. Take a deep breath before getting out of the car, and double check that, yes, you do have your keys in your hand.

Secure Your Keys in a New Way

If you use a standard keyring, that might be part of the reason that you forget your keys. It’s easy to overlook them when you’ve got other things on your mind, and you’re trying to gather up everything to get out of the car. You can try a new way to secure your keys, like a lanyard or a carabiner.

Both of these options have their benefits. For instance, a lanyard can loop around your neck, making it easier to get out of the car while holding multiple things. A carabiner can hook to a belt loop and do the same thing. Both lanyards and carabiners are larger than your average keyring, too, and they can be brightly colored. This makes them a lot harder to overlook.

Form a Habit

Sometimes, habits can be bad for us – smoking, drinking too much, or overindulging in delicious chocolate cake are just a few examples. However, they can sometimes be helpful. If you create a habit around your car exit routine, it can help ensure that you don’t leave your keys behind. Just create an exit strategy, and then follow that every time you get out of the car. Eventually, it becomes second nature.

Call for Help

Opening car door with lockpicker
Opening car door with lockpicker

Finally, understand that there will always be a chance that life will conspire to make all your efforts fail, and you’ll end up locking your keys in the car anyway. There’s little you can do about that, other than being prepared. Make sure you have the name and contact information for a trusted local mobile locksmith for these situations. This ensures that you can easily call for help when you need it, and that you will never be stranded without access to a helping hand.

Of course, not all locksmiths are created equal, so you’ll need to research the reputation for each company in your area and choose one that has a reputation for honesty, integrity, low prices and prompt service.

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