Always Find Your Car Keys

Searching for car keys in a bag

More and more new cars have smart keys and remotes that let you unlock the door and start the engine without a key. The devices are a marvel of technology and convenience … until you lose one and have to pay up to $500 to replace it at your dealership. Instead, try these tips for hanging on to your high-tech car keys and ways to make replacing them less painful:

Hard to Lose

First things first: Train yourself to treat keys differently, says Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book KBB, a vehicle valuation and information source used by consumers and the automotive industry. Attaching your keyless-entry remote or fob to a larger item like a wallet or handbag makes it harder to lose. Brauer carries a compartmentalized athletic bag that holds his laptop, wallet and key. I walk up to the car, pass my hand near the unlock button, then push the engine start button on the dash,” he says. “My key never leaves the bag.”

The Backup Plan

Don’t wait until keys are missing to make duplicates. Price out what they would cost, then look into alternatives,” suggests Brauer. “Find out where your particular brand of replacements are available and order them ahead of time.” This way, you won’t end up stranded for days without keys.

Tag Your Stuff

As auto-key technologies improve, so do the means of tracking lost goods. For example, Austrian-based company Locca offers miniature GPS-powered trackers that attach to small items. Should your stuff go missing, you can track it on the Locca app in real time. An alternative to GPS locators, Okoban tracker tags let you register items with the company’s global lost-and-found service. Attach a tag to your keys; whoever finds them can follow the goodness of their heart and tell you where the keys are by entering an identification code online.

The Replacements

If your keys are lost for good, replacements from your dealership can be expensive. But sites like eBay, KeylessRide and others offer after-market and factory keys that are often considerably cheaper. You may need to visit your dealer to have your new keys programmed (for a fee) and you still may need to pay a locksmith if your smart system includes a good old-fashioned metal key. The total cost should still be lower, and the relief, as they say, priceless.

Losing your keys is a minor annoyance compared with having your car stolen. Read GEICO’s 12 tips to prevent your car being stolen.

Have you ever lost your car keys? Tell us about it below.

By Maria Carter

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  1. Zach Thalman says

    I should definitely talk to my roommate about some of these because he has already lost the keys to his motorcycle at least twice. He lost his sisters car keys and ended up having to pay a lot of money just to get a new key. I was talking to him about this yesterday and how much it cost him to get a replacement.

  2. Rhys Rawson says

    This article is a lifesaver! I lose my keys at least twice a week, and it is constantly making me late! I like the idea of attaching my keys to my wallet. That will make it bigger, but also even more valuable. I’ll definitely give it a try!

  3. Jessy Shaw says

    I literally lose my keys at least once a day and it can be really frustrating. I lost my keys at work yesterday and I haven’t been able to find them since. My co workers haven’t had any luck in the search either so I am thinking that they are finally gone for good. I am looking into car key replacement here in Austin and I think I will be able to find a good deal. I will definitely have them make a few extra copies. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  4. Rachelle Reeves says

    I have a really bad habit of losing my keys very often. I also made the mistake of not having any back-up keys, so when I lose the keys I am stuck. Thanks for the tips, I’ll make sure to get back-ups and take better care of my keys.

  5. Skylar Mitchell says

    I always seem to be losing my car keys, so it would be really nice to follow these tips to help me out. It would be really smart to always keep my keys in my purse and never put them on the counter or in my bedroom. If I always knew that they were in my purse, I am sure they would be much easier to keep track of. It would also be really great to have a backup plan set up like you suggest, so I should probably look into getting new keys made soon, just in case I do end up losing my keys again!

  6. Callie Marie says

    Thanks for the advice on how to avoid getting locked out of your car. Making duplicate keys before you actually need them is great advice. I wish I had left copies with all of my friends, that way no matter where I get locked out, someone will a key will live nearby. My phone has a locksmith’s number in it just in case though.

  7. Elsie Todd says

    I have locked myself out of my car so many times. My neice suggested a tag like soldiers wear. I now have a key around my neck at all times. It is not one that will start the car, but gets me in to get the key in the car that will start the car.

  8. Chase Wilson says

    Oh my gosh, great tips! I keep track of things really well, but it is a huge inconvenience when I lose something. Especially my keys. Thankfully the police is really good at breaking into my car to find my keys. I don’t know what I would do without a good locksmith. Maybe I should get an extra key made up. How much do those cost generally?

  9. Jamarcus Dantley says

    I didn’t know that there were so many ways to help you not lose your keys. I can be so forgetful, so I know that it’s happened to me a lot. I like the idea of tagging them so it makes them much harder to lose. We’ll be sure to give that a shot in the future.

  10. Mark Daniels says

    I’ve learned from my teenage experience how quick you can be to lock yourself out. My experience was just going to a dentist and locking myself out after work hours. Police came and helped me. It wasn’t soon after that I arrived home and locked myself out again. Pathetic, I know. You definitely want to tag your stuff, just in case; however, I would recommend getting a replacement key and placing it your wallet, as I have done so. Otherwise, a locksmith will be the next best step for you if you are out of luck.

  11. Jeff Bridges says

    I have locked my keys in my car once in the last 7 years. Luckily we had a police office help us get in without needing a locksmith, but that was enough for me to learn my lesson. What I do to prevent locking my keys is I always manually lock the car with the keys now. I don’t use the lock button on the inside. I have never locked my keys in since.

  12. Mia Boyd says

    Thanks for the information. I’m the type of girl that loses her keys on a regular basis. I’m going to follow your tip about making my keys hard to lose. I’ll also think about having a backup plan. But, if either of those fail, I’ll make sure I call a locksmith.

  13. Deanna R. Jones says

    I agree, having a backup plan in case you lose your keys is a great way to recover them. There seems to be many locksmith contractors available. It seems like looking up a good locksmith and carrying their contact information in your phone would be a good idea so that you can have someone to call in case of an emergency. I also liked your idea to look into how much it would cost to replace your keys. That would give you a better idea of how much it should cost to have them replaced.

  14. Glenn Murison says

    Good topic …the basics !!!
    I recently had to show my 27 year old son in law how to do a tire change.
    ( I had my daughter rotate tires at 16 y.o. ) In your instruction video, your car pro was shown
    TIGHTENING lug nuts in a sequential pattern, rather than the suggested opposite nut in a star pattern. Thank you for what you do…..–glenn

  15. Esther Oakley says

    This is great advice to anyone who regularly loses there keys. I have had to call a locksmith on several occasions and will start implementing these tips to helpfully reduce that number. One suggestion I have for people is to find a locksmith they can trust today, that way when you need it you aren’t stressed out finding one you can trust.