Help me avoid locking my keys in my car

All my life, I’ve been afraid of locking my keys in my car. For many years I carried a duplicate car key in my wallet. That isn’t practical anymore because car keys aren’t just plain old flat keys anymore; they all have that huge fat plastic thing on them.

I did lock keys into a car many years ago, and it didn’t go well. It was a friend’s car that I had borrowed, and the helpful police officer who got it unlocked damaged the locking mechanism. A few years ago I almost locked my keys into a rental car, but the car had a feature that prevented the doors from locking if the keys were in the ignition. My present car doesn’t have this.

I bought one of those little magnetic key-hiding boxes; it fell off. So I went to a locksmith’s shop and bought one with a much more powerful magnet. It fell off.

Are there any practical strategies for avoiding this problem, other than “don’t lock your keys in your car” or “don’t lock your car at all”?

My uncle’s trick:

Keep a key in your pocket and a key under your seat.
Unlock your car and put the key back in your pocket.
Use the key under your seat for driving. When you get to your destination put the key back under your seat.

This way you always have a key in your pocket.
OTOH, with $125 key fobs, it means running the risk of locking all your keys in the car at once if you screw it up. You have to get into the habit of doing this and being really good and putting the key right back in your pocket.

You might consider having a regular flat key cut at a hardware store just for unlocking the door in case you do lock your keys in the car (or lose them). Then you can mount that under the car and if you lose it you’re only out a few bucks. Better yet, leave it at a friend’s house or at work so you can just call and have someone drive it over. Another trick I learned was to just stick it under one of the screws of your license plate and if you need it it’s just a matter of coming up with a screwdriver or a dime or something to get it.

You can get a key without the plastic bit cut and store that in your wallet. It won’t work in the ignition but it will unlock the door.

This is my recommendation.

My Jeep has a chipped key. It won’t run without it. But I don’t need a chipped key to open the doors. I had a regular flat key made, which I keep in my wallet. If I lock the real keep in the Jeep, I can use the flat key to get in. I rarely drive the Jeep though. If I lock the Prius smart key inside, I’ll have to get the spare – which can’t be programmed to work with my replacement car. But there’s still a metal key for opening the doors. (And the fob can be used still, but it needs to be inserted into the slot on the dash.)

I don’t bother with keeping the other key in my wallet, I just have a keyring in each pocket. Your pockets may vary.

… I just keep a Slim Jim under the back seat! :stuck_out_tongue:

You could just get into the habit of only ever locking the car with the key.

You must drive an older vehicle as most cars after 1998 can be opened and locked using a keychain fob. If this is not the case with your vehicle and being locked out is TRULY a serious concern, then I would suggest:

[li]Getting a chain and hanging the key around your neck. It might feel silly; but if locking your keys in the car is more than a minor concern, it may be necessary.[/li][li]Make several copies of your key and keep them at strategic locations in your home and at work.[/li][li]Don’t lock your car - Seriously. When I lived in Chicago, vehicle burglaries were so bad for a while that I just took everything out of my car and left the doors open. It was cheaper than replacing broken windows.[/li][/ol]

My old car had a keypad on it. I’d just type in 31551 and the driver door would open. I’d intentionally leave my keys in my car at times, like when i went to go work out. It was great. Unfortunately my new car didn’t come with the same feature. All cars should, though.

On the underside of your car, is there a place where you can safely loop a heavy wire? Put a car door key on the wire, hook the wire around the safe place. Emphasis on safety, choose carefully.

After a friend locked herself out of her car with keys and infant daughter inside, this is what we did and it worked great. But that was 12-yrs ago; I’m not familiar with more-recent car design/construction.

Also keep spare door key in wallet and/or moneybelt.

Instead of the magnet key holder find a spot where you can place a wire or bent paperclip to hold a key in place. Either under/thru the grill/front or under the back, perhaps under the trunk or license plate.

Use a keychain on a cord to keep it attached to you.

Use the keyfob to lock the car.

Yes, this is what I did. My brother taught me this trick when I was learning to drive, so I easily got into the habit.

Although it sounds like you are already in the habit of locking the car without the key, so it’s going to be a tough habit to change.

I do this, too. Of course, since I’ve started doing this, I haven’t locked my car with the keys in it. But at least I’m prepared for the next time.

I’m Batman!

I’ve found being a CAA member very helpful for this. It’s been a couple of years since I stupidly locked my keys in the car (put keys in coat pocket, decide I don’t need coat, toss it back in car and slam door). Having somebody available at 3am when your miles from home at a job site is worth every penny I pay to them for my yearly membership.

I also taped a spare key to the underside of my license plate after that. But that was back in the days of flat no chip keys. Not sure it would work so well now.

I only shut the driver’s door with the hand holding the keys. Never failed me yet.

I think I actually have locked up the car with one keyring in it since I started the ‘two pockets protocol.’ But it was hardly even an event!

Don’t the new “keyless” cars (with remote fob and push button start) refuse to lock with the keys inside? You could also get this and leave your keys on it; I heard you can drive with your keys stretched to the ignition.

1: Cut a flat duplicate key at a hardware store and put it in your wallet. Then make another flat key to use below.

2: Go and buy a roll of Scotch or 3M sticky foam tape, no generic brands. Also get some super glue. Clean off a section on the interior lip of your bumper. First super glue the head (only the head) of the key to the metal surface of the bumper. Then layer over the key with several strips of foam tape molding it over the key until you have a key sarcophagus. When you need the key it will be there but you have to have the hand strength to be able to pull on the key shaft and snap the head off the surface of the bumper. You don’t have to be a gorilla to do this but people with weak hands might not be able to do it. Only use superglue to do this. It dries quickly but is weak if stressed at an angle which allows the key to pop off.


You can’t lock inside that which must be outside.