Have you accidentally locked yourself out of your car? Getting locked out of your car can be extremely frustrating and inconvenient. As auto locksmiths, we get to see all sorts things when we are called to a car lockout.
Here are some of the main reasons people get locked out of their car, and what to do about it.
Lost Their Car Keys
This the most common reason locksmiths get called out to a car. People lose their car keys all the time which is why it is number one on this list. A lost car key results in no entry to your car.
If you find yourself without any car keys, write down your car’s Vehicles Identification Number (VIN). This can often be found on your registration papers and vehicle log books. Also, write down the year, make and model of your vehicle. This information can then be used to cut and program a new key for you.
Locked In The Car
Nothing is more frustrating than locking your keys in your car. You can see them, it should seem so simple, but you can’t get to them. Particularly if you don’t have a spare car key available.
Before you start shaping a coat hanger to try to open your door, take a step back. Most cars these days cannot be easily opened with just a screwdriver and a coat hanger. Don’t risk damaging your vehicle further.
A locksmith has the tools and equipment to get you back on the road without causing any damage to your vehicle.
Key Fob Battery Is Dead
The Fob is the electronic part of your key. It can also be referred to as a transponder key or remote.
If you use your electronic car keys to open and close your car and nothing happens then likely the battery is dead or dying.
This can easily be fixed by opening the fob and replacing the battery. If it is still not working, then read ahead.
Key Fob Is Faulty
You have replaced the battery and your car is still not opening properly. It could be the Fob itself.
If your Fob is not working this could mean that the computer chip inside has either lost its programming or is no longer functional. If this is the case, check your car warranty to see if the car keys are still covered.
If your keys are under warranty, call your dealer and get them to replace and reprogram your keys. Some common vehicles that have had factory related key and ignition problems include the Nissan Sentra, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cavalier and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
If the keys are not covered under warranty, then your will have to pay for a new key to be cut and programmed. This can be an expensive exercise, particularly if you get your new keys are cut through the dealer. Alternatively, a car locksmith can often come to you and replace your car keys at a cheaper price.
Attempted Vehicle Theft
Unfortunately, this can be a sad reality of owning a car. Most car thieves have a limited knowledge about car door locks and ignition. The result of their break-in attempt is damaged door locks and an ignition that’s a mess. In these cases, there is not much you can do except replace the entire door lock or ignition barrel.
Wrong Key Inserted Into The Lock
Yes, this does happen. Often it’s dark, people are tired, or just have their mind elsewhere and they accidentally put the wrong key in the door lock. In a lot of cases, the key can be easily be pulled out. However, if you can’t pull it out easily then don’t try to remove it.
Within doors locks, there are pins or lock wafers that prevent the lock from opening unless the correct key is inserted. If you try to pull the incorrect key out you can cause damage to these parts and cost you more than you bargained for.
If you damage your locks, you will have to get entire door lock repaired or even replaced.
Lock Is Worn Out Or Jammed
Over time dirt and grime can make it’s way into your lock, causing it to fail. If you can feel your key is starting to “stick” and takes some effort to turn, then it is a good indicator that your lock is starting to wear.
A short term solution is to use some spray lubricant (WD40 is my weapon of choice) to stop the lock from sticking. If the lock continues to stick, get it repaired before it completely fails. A worn lock can often be repaired without the need to replace it, saving you time and money.
Keys Are Worn
Just like locks, your car keys can also wear down and work less effectively as time goes on. Some might think that getting a copy of the key made will fix the problem, however, the problem is you are simply creating a copy of a bad key.
If you find that your key has worn down, then your car key will need to be rekeyed using the factory key cutting code to make sure that is cut correctly. This can be done by consulting your local dealer or a car locksmith.
There Is A Broken Key Or Foreign Object Lodged In The Car Lock
Having something stuck in your car lock or ignition barrel can be extremely frustrating. It is important that you don’t try to fish it out yourself. Call a professional. Trying to fish out the foreign object can potentially cause further damage.
Often a locksmith can remove a broken key or foreign object without having to replace the entire lock or ignition barrel.
Whatever the reason, if you are locked out of your car, it is not the end of the world. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and assess the situation. If you can’t fix it without the risk of damaging your vehicle, then find someone who can.
Nathan Hughes is a founder of Locksmiths In Sydney. When he is not letting you back into your car at 4 am in the morning, he’s helping people keep their home and car safe and secure.