keys locked in my car

What Are The Right Steps To Take If My Keys Are Locked In The Car?

We’ve all experienced it – that sickening feeling when you’ve shut your car door….and realized your keys are locked in the car. You panic for a second, wondering what you will do now.

The good news is that getting locked out is becoming a thing of the past, just like cars with physical keys. In most situations, “smart” proximity key fobs (or a key card in some cases) will not let you lock the “key” in the car. Many brands now have apps that allow your phone to be the fob, but they won’t save you from running out of battery or losing the fob on your way back to the locked car!

Nevertheless, locking your keys in your car CAN still happen. Keep reading to find the proper steps to follow if this should happen to you. 

What Are The Five Most Important Steps I Should Take If My Keys Are Locked In My Vehicle?

Here are the five first – and most important steps – you need to take if you realize your keys are locked in your vehicle:

  1. The best plan for dealing with a lockout is the one you make before it happens. You have options, whether signing up for an automaker app account, subscribing to a roadside service, or leaving a spare key or fob with family or friends.
  2. If you have no other immediate options and are in a concerning situation on the roadside, in a lonely parking lot, or if your child or pet is in the vehicle, call 911 if you can. Police will respond faster than any other help. Depending on the urgency and your vehicle, they might be able to open the car with a “Slim Jim,” call a locksmith if needed, or just break a window. If you have no phone, break the window yourself and solve the issue immediately. Pick the smallest side window and hit it in a corner with any available hard item. Be sure you’ll be able to reach the door handle before you start!
  3. For an older vehicle with a key or if an app is not an option, a first choice might be to call a friend or family member with whom you’ve left a spare key.
  4. If that’s not an option, you can use your phone or get to a phone to call AAA, automaker roadside assistance, or third-party roadside assistance you have. The wait time will vary, but these offer lockout services that will come to you. Generally, they will let you wait in a safe or comfortable location until the tech is about to arrive. You also can call a local locksmith directly — in many urban areas, you can get a 24-hour response, though it will cost you. Many towing companies like Tow Pro offer lockout services, too. Some automakers also can help with a remote lockout service you can call — something you should check on in advance and which might require a subscription.
  5. If you are self-reliant and have the time to gather the needed tools, pick a method and handle the situation. The possible methods are too numerous to catalog here and range from using long shoelaces (primarily for older button locks) to a screwdriver and coat hanger to a technique using a specialized inflatable locksmith’s wedge (or a blood pressure cuff, according to some) to pry the door ajar and insert a wire or plastic rod to grab the door handle or press the lock button. 

Can I Rely On Tow Pro To Help Me If I Lock My Keys In My Car?

Of course! That’s what we’re here for. You can rely on Tow Pro for a wide range of non-life-threatening roadside emergencies, such as:

If you need a tow in Nashville, Memphis, or the surrounding areas, Tow Pro is here to help! You can reach us online or by phone at 1.888.695.1555!

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