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. James Duke says

    I love the keys to my truck last week and I still haven’t been able to find them. I wish I had seen you page sooner and maybe I could’ve used some of these tips to prevent myself from losing my keys. Now, I may only have a use for your tips about replacements. I’ll have to keep in mind that I can go to either my dealership or a locksmith. Thanks for sharing I’ll have to keep these things in mind.

  2. Emily says

    This is just the information I need! I tend to lose things a lot and one these days it might be my car keys. The tip about training myself to treat keys differently seems like a good idea. I will have to try that. It is good to know that if I ever misplace my key I can have it replaced my a locksmith.

  3. Laila Keirstead says

    They key is to never lose your keys, but sometimes that is going to happen. I know a lot of people that have to call locksmiths all the time to rescue them and help them get out of being stranded with a locked car. They sure make a lot of money because people are always losing their keys.

  4. Zach Potter says

    Awesome information here on what to do if keys are lost. About a year ago my wife lost all of her keys and we had to call a 24 hour locksmith to come get the door open for her as I was away for the weekend. I will really have to look more into the GPS feature as they become more standard. This would be a great idea for us to have on some of our keys or maybe even attached to her purse or something as well!

  5. Jason Scott says

    It has been quite a while since I have locked myself out of a car, but I do lose my keys every once in a while at home. I like the idea of attaching your keys to something bigger like a wallet and might have to try that out.

  6. Logan Murphy says

    Making your keys “hard to lose” is an excellent plan. I try putting my keys in the same place, same pocket, same bag everyday. Locksmiths can be really helpful, but it’s nice not having to worry about not knowing where my keys are! My wife has even made little hooks by our front door so when we come home we automatically just put our keys up there. Then if we ever have to leave in a hurry, we know where they are. Thanks for the great read! I think everyone has lost a key in one point of their life.

  7. Stephen Adams says

    Backup plans are a must. I use a hide-a-key. It hides on the underside of my car via a couple magnets. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve locked my keys in my car. The hide-a-key is the best backup plan.

  8. Natalie Darcy says

    I am quite possibly the worst at keeping track of my keys. So far, I have yet to lose them permanently, but strangers hand them to me daily with a sympathetic look. I think that if I could find a better purse like you described I would be less likely to lose them, but I also appreciate your information on how to contact a locksmith. It might be giving up too soon, but I like knowing that I could handle myself with grace if I finally did lose them.

  9. Olga Morozova says

    I would always lose my keys so my mom got me a key chain to help me out as a joke gift. It was a little device that beeped if you whistled! The only problem is you had to be near enough to it for it to pick up the whistle, so I spent a lot of time walking around the house whistling. Now I use one of the GPS key chains that I can track from my phone. No more losing my keys and calling locksmiths!

  10. James Bay says

    I always seem to lose my keys at the most inconvenient times, and end up needing a locksmith. I really like the idea of attaching them to something larger. I will need to give that a try. Thank you for your help.

  11. Nick Mallory says

    I agree with your suggestion about making back up keys. Like you said, after you lose the key it’s too late to make extras, so do it now. That was the first thing that we did with my wife’s car after her parents gifted it to us. Of course, most new cars have chip-enabled keys that have to be made at a locksmith, but the extra cost is worth it for the security.

  12. Lilly Sedrick says

    Losing your car keys is definitely something that everyone does. However, there are so many ways that you can help prevent this from happening. It is also nice to know that there are ways that your keys can be replaced if you do lose them. By doing that you can make sure that you can always get into your home or car no matter what. It is always a good idea to have a replacement.

  13. Raylin Sutter says

    I lost my keys this past summer and had to get a car key replacement. I lost my key on the other side of the country and so I felt pretty safe about not replacing the car locks. However, I would most definitely suggest that anyone who loses their keys locally to try and get new locks.

  14. Deanna R. Jones says

    These tips are perfect for me to know right after I replaced my car keys yesterday. I have a habit of losing my keys every few weeks for some reason. Treating my keys differently to make them more difficult to lose by attaching them to a larger item like my bag or wallet is a great tip. I always have my wallet on me, so I should use that to attach my keys so that I won’t lose them as often. Thanks for the tips!