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What to Do If You’re Locked Out of Your Car

Most probably, you’ll lock your keys inside your car sometime, and those odds are increasing. Why? Keyless ignition and extremely high-tech electronic anti-theft systems.

Should this happen to you, take the following steps will get out of the situation fast and safe:

Get 911.
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Safety should always come first, so don’t hesitate to ring 911 if you suspect there’s danger. In plenty of cases, cops can unlock the car door. If they can’t, they will likely call a tow truck, and of course, they will put it on your tab. At least, you can be safe.
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Request roadside assistance.

Those fees paid to auto clubs actually pay off. If you don’t have a roadside service subscription, you have other options. New cars usually come with roadside assistance throughout the whole basic warranty period.

Your owner’s manual will give the details, but most probably, it’s also inside the car with the keys. Maybe the number to call is printed on a window decal.

If that still doesn’t work, you can ring a dealership (one of the reasons you should have this number in your phone or wallet all the time). A dealer might be able to make you a cheap temporary key just to open your car doors so you can get your keys inside, but not to start the vehicle.

You may need your vehicle identification number (you can see it on the driver’s side of your windshield, lower edge) as evidence that you own the car.

If your vehicle isn’t new or you’re not a member of any club that offers roadside assistance, talk to your auto insurance agent about adding the service to your policy. Also keep an eye out for trucks patrolling major highways to provide emergency aid to motorists.

Get a tow truck.

If you’re short of free options, call a towing service that responds to lockout emergencies.

Keep a spare key handy all the time.

Stashing an extra key in your wallet can be lifesaving.

You can get one of those small magnetic containers that can hold keys and be placed on a vehicle’s underside. Or just leave a spare with a friend or relative who can rescue you.

When keyless, call a locksmith.

Finally, if you actually lost your key, you’ll have to call a locksmith. But again, you have to prove that you’re the real owner of the vehicle you’d like them to provide you access to. To get a replacement key, you could pay a minimum of $200. For higher-end models, don’t be surprised if the price goes much, much higher. Note that a new key can only be provided by a dealer, who will have to set the remote for you.