Locked keys in my car – what to do

Locked keys in my car – what to do

Have you just had that sinking feeling that you may have locked your keys inside your vehicle? Are you unable to access your vehicle and suspect the keys may be locked inside? Don’t panic, there are simple steps to take to resurrect the situation.

If you are locked out your vehicle, don’t rush into making a rash decision. If you are at home, check to see if you have a spare key. This is a quick fix that will avoid having to take any other steps.

However, if you are here, then you will be wanting to know what to do next. This guide provides all the information you will need to know.

Find or get a spare key

As already mentioned, if you’re spare key is inside the house, then go look for it and unlock your vehicle.

However, if you’re stuck at work or somewhere within driving distance, then ask a friend of family member to drop it to you.

Should you no own a spare key, then you will need to contact your manufacturer to get one made and sent to you. There are several other ways to get a replacement key – which we will over in this guide.

Once you have this, store it in a safe place at home.

Car companion app

As technology has evolved in recent years, the automotive industry has introduced new innovations to make a driver’s life easier.

An example of this is the introduction of car comparison apps.

These are largely created by the manufacturers themselves, and provide a handheld way of managing your vehicle.

The phrase ‘there’s probably an app for that’ applies to this situation.

You can use it as a key, share your location, check your charge or fuel level, control the climate within the vehicle, flash the headlights, and even offer a concierge service.

However, this is only available in newer models. But as the industry continues to evolve, these might become more commonplace for both new and used vehicles.

Should you lose your keys somewhere else, then it might be worth downloading a key finder app. This is a fob that you attach to your keys that can be tracked from your smart device.

Call for recovery

If you have noticed that you’ve locked your keys in your car, then one of the best options for you is to call your breakdown provider.

Our expert patrols will attend and try to get in to retrieve your keys. However, you may have to contact a locksmith or have it taken to your local garage to retrieve the key.

If you are an RAC member, then please call 0333 2000 999 or report that you’ve broken down online.

However, if you are not a member, then do not worry! You can still call the RAC for assistance by contacting 0330 159 8743 and find out your options.

RAC Key Replace

Here at the RAC, we provide a range of extra cover options that can make your life as a car owner a lot easier.

And this is something that can help if you have lost or locked your car keys in the vehicle.

According to RAC data, the average cost to replace keys and a fob is around £300 on average. By adding Key Replace to your cover, you can leave yourself covered.

With Key Replace, your car and house keys are covered if they’re lost, stolen accidentally broken – or locked in your vehicle.

The RAC will cover the cost of replacing them and your locks if needed. And we can arrange a hire car if you need one. Call 0330 159 0925 to add Key Replace to your cover today.

So, how does it work?

If you lose your car or house keys, or they’re accidentally broken or stolen, we’ll replace them and cover the cost. Following this, we’ll re-programme the electrics so your locks, alarm and immobiliser still work correctly.

Call a locksmith

If you’re still not sure on what to do if your keys are locked in the car, then you may need to contact a locksmith.

The price for this could vary depending on the time and place where you have the problem – and how far away the nearest mechanic might be.

Should you use this method for accessing a locked car, then it is more appropriate for traditional lock and key, rather than modern keyless technology.

This is because modern keys will need to be reprogrammed – and your local locksmith will not have this information.

Only the manufacturer will have the codes and software. They will often provide this to your local garage if you take it there instead.

Will my local garage be able to help?

Aside from having contacts with the major manufacturers, they will also have the experience and technical knowledge to carry out the necessary work.

If you are nearby, they may even send someone out to help you get inside your vehicle.

Although there are ways for you to potentially access the vehicle yourself, it is likely that you may not have the necessary tools to do it. This is a problem that a local garage will not have.

Should your situation require you to have your vehicle towed back to the garage, then it could end up costing you quite a lot.

You can also contact a local mobile mechanic.

What information will I need to get a replacement key?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to get an extra car key, then there are a few things you will need.

No matter what option you choose, you’ll need to have this information to hand.

  • A form of ID along with your driving licence
  • Your car’s make, model, and age
  • The car’s vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • A V5C logbook with your details

This is all crucial to prove you own the vehicle, and that you have the right to enter the vehicle.

Keep your logbook inside your home, in a safe space, where you can access it should an issue arise.

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

With our cover, the difference is in your pocket. 

*Max 40% applies to new Extra and Complete for 1 vehicle or 1 person. Ends 17/07/24, 7am. ^ £6.75 for Basic, not on sale. 

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

Car key locked in boot

You’ve walked away from your vehicle and realised you’ve left your keys in the car – but you can’t see them through the window. Then that sinking feeling hits, and you realise they may be in the boot.

Don’t panic, there are some easy steps to take.

If you’re at home, use your spare key and fish them out. If not, then you will need to use one of the other tactics above to get access to the boot.

In the situation where your boot is locked shut, but you can open and lock the other doors, then you will need to take a different tactic.

Some vehicles have a manual boot release within the reach of the driver’s seat. If you don’t know where to find it, Google your make, model and year and you’ll find your answer.

If not, then you may have to climb into the backseat and use the levers to pull them down, or remove the internal boot lid and see if your keys are in there.

Cut a spare key

As a preventive measure for those who do not have keyless technology, you can get a spare key cut from your local specialist.

This is a relatively cheap option and can save you from a large bill or callout to your breakdown provider.

Should you ever call emergency services?

When you have locked your keys inside your vehicle, you have several options in front of you.

Unless you, your passengers, or pets are in immediate danger, do not call the emergency services.

However, if you cannot get into your vehicle and it is a hazardous situation, then you may need to contact 999.

This could include your vehicle being trapped in active lane, or maybe other people in the car are trapped hot day. There may also be old, very young children, others that need medical assistance or people that are in urgent need of water or help.

Check your car insurance

Although this won’t help you in the moment when you are trying to get your keys that are locked inside the vehicle – this is something to check to see if key replacement is a part of your car insurance.

Being covered will give you peace of mind that you are sorted, should you make this mistake again in the future.

How to get the keys out yourself

If you are concerned and in a rush to get your keys out of your locked vehicle, then you may be trying to find a DIY way of retrieving them.

However, this isn’t advisable, as in most cases you will end up damaging your vehicle and could result in a large bill.

In extreme cases, there are a few tactics you can use – but we advise that these should only be used as a last resort.

All of these could break parts of your car doors and will often only work on older vehicles. Also, they will often only work on older vehicles. However, these are the most common ways of getting your keys from your vehicle, using items from home.

Use a shoelace

Tie a slip knot in the middle of a shoelace, and then slip one end through the top part of the door frame, and the other end down the side where the pop lock is situated.

You will then need to carefully shuffle the shoelace down the door until the slip knot can be wrapped around the lock.

Tighten the knot and pull up the lace – and the door should unlock.

The coat hanger method

First you will need to straighten out the coat hanger, and then bend a V-shape at the bottom of one end to use as a hook.

Slip the V-shaped end between the window and the weatherstripping until you can feel the locking mechanism.

Use the hook to pull up the lock – this may take a bit of careful manoeuvring.

How can you use a hair pin to get into your car?

This requires some technical knowledge of how a lock and key works – and it will make you look like a criminal.

Use the flat edge to align the bent side with the mechanism, and then find the right angle to twist to disengage the locks.

This will only work in really old cars with a weak lock.

Using a wedge to access a vehicle

A common door wedge can be inserted – with a bit of force into the top or side of the door.

By doing this, you might be able to create a large enough gap to somehow reach the internal lock.

However, this could permanently damage the door or lead to a situation where you cannot close the door properly.

Can a blood pressure tool help get into a car?

If the wedge doesn’t create enough space, then you can slip in a blood pressure cuff – and then pump it up to increase the gap between the door frame and the vehicle.

Hopefully you’ll now know what to do if you’ve locked your car keys in the vehicle. But, if you still need some assistance, call us on 0333 2000 999 or report that you’ve broken down online to find out what you’ll need to do next.

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

With our cover, the difference is in your pocket. 

*Max 40% applies to new Extra and Complete for 1 vehicle or 1 person. Ends 17/07/24, 7am. ^ £6.75 for Basic, not on sale. 

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale