Car Lockouts: How to Avoid Them and What to Do When They Happen

Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus was a wise man at least when he said, “prevention is better than cure”. God knows we’d all avoid a whole bunch of things if we know about the headache that’s about to follow when they occur. Getting locked out of your car, much like getting locked out of your house, is one such thing.

So, let’s look at a couple of things you can do to avoid the situation. But we’ll also look at what you can do if and when it invariably happens.

Don’t Leave Your Keys in the Car


This is a pretty common situation and it happens to a lot of people. Oftentimes, when we are in a hurry, we are likely to slam the car door and rush. It’s only when we come back that we realize that the keys were in the ignition.

Sometimes we realize it right after slamming the door. It’s fast but not fast enough. It happens in a matter of seconds and it’s hard not to blame yourself. But the very first thing you can do is to change that behavior.

Just the way you would check the seat of a cab before leaving it, you should make it a habit to check the ignition so that you never leave the keys in there. It might not sound like an actual solution but it is. Changing behavior can be tough but it’s not impossible.

And this one will save you from the prospect of getting locked out of your car in the future. So, it is at least worth a shot, right?

Check for Keypad Entry Tech


Some of the cars in the market now come with the option of a keypad entry. This is typically the case with Lincoln and Ford vehicles. You need to enter a code to unlock your car and that’s not a system that’s new to anyone who has ever been to an ATM.

This technology also allows you to use your smartphone as a remote for the same and also a spare key, as a matter of fact. But the option is not limited to the two auto manufacturers mentioned above. So, it is absolutely worth checking if there is a dealer in your locality who can give your car that option.

Maintain a Keychain


When you lose a key, there isn’t much you can do. But you can put in mechanisms to make sure that you don’t lose the key in the first place. It’s easier to lose one key than a bunch. So, you might want to put your keys in a keychain so that the likelihood of losing the key comes down.

Attaching a lanyard is not a bad idea either. This way, it is easy to identify and the chances of you leaving it behind are also brought down. Another idea is to stick a carabiner to your belt loop and keep your keys there.

It might sound a bit dorky but cool is whatever you can pull off. Not for nothing but you should prioritize functionality over fashion.

What to Do When It Does Happen

Now, even though you take a lot of precautions, it’s entirely possible that at some point you might just lock yourself out of your car. Here are some ideas for what you can do then.

Keep a Spare Key Ready


It’s easy to lose a key or if you can’t remember where you put it. You don’t have all day to keep looking so, at that moment, the easiest thing to do is to grab a spare key and dash.

For that, you need to have a spare key and it must always be in one place so that you don’t have to go looking for that too. But also make sure that the place is secure so you don’t have to deal with accidental petty theft. That’s a whole other problem.

Some people like to keep their magnetic key holders under the car. That’s still said to work.

Give a Friend a Copy

Here’s another easy solution. If you live alone, you can keep a copy with a neighbor, a trusted colleague or a family member. This is easy but you should pick the person depending on how easily you can access them.

Use the Fob Only to Lock the Door

Key fobs can break sometimes. That could also lock you out. And in the new cars, the door won’t open if your transponder chip or the fob doesn’t work. This could happen if the key fob’s battery is dead or the chip is damaged.

The way to handle this is to use the fob only to lock the car doors. If your keys have an in-built locking mechanism, this is easy to do.

Keep the Locksmith’s Number Handy


And of course, one of the first things you can think of is the last one on our list. Keep the number of a locksmith handy so that help is just a phone call away – you can simply google car locksmith near me to find a good one close to you.

Having a locksmith’s number on speed dial in case of car lockouts is an excellent idea for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it’s a great way to avoid the potential for a dangerous situation. If you’re locked out of your car, having a locksmith come to your aid as quickly as possible is the safest way to get back in. It also eliminates the temptation to try and “MacGyver” your way back in, which can potentially cause damage to your car or even injury to yourself. In addition, having a locksmith on speed dial can help you avoid the added hassle of researching and choosing a company when you’re already in a stressful situation.

The Bottom Line

This is one of those everyday things that can be easily handled. But bungle it and you’ll have a rough start or end to the day.

So, it’s best to avoid the situation altogether. If you can’t, keep a spare key ready, give a copy to a friend, use only the fob to lock the door and keep the locksmith’s number handy. This way, you’ll always be prepared and have a solution that works for you.

About Adam Miller