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What to Do if You Lock Yourself out of Your Car

We will probably all do it at least once in our lifetime, lock ourselves out of the car. There will come a time where you feel the car door close behind you with a thud and hear the electric lock do its thing. Then, a quick check-in the pocket leads to that heart-sinking moment of realisation that the key isn’t in your pocket, it’s in the car that just locked itself behind you. Oh dear!

Now, if you’re at home, it can make the problem a little less of a problem. However, if you’re out shopping, visiting friends or even worse, on holiday the situation could be a whole lot worse (or at least a whole lot more expensive).

Your Car Might Not Be Fully Locked

Luckily for some people who own modern cars with electronic central locking and a key fob, the car doesn’t usually let you lock yourself out. Sometimes the car may only lock the passenger doors leaving the driver's door open until it’s double locked or vice versa.

Alternatively, it may lock all the doors but leave the boot open so you can scramble though and get the keys. Another common locking system is where the car locks everything but doesn’t close the windows. So, if it’s a warm day and you've forgotten to close the windows as well as grab your keys, you might be able to skilfully lean in and grab the keys without setting the alarm off if the gap is large enough.

If all else fails and you can see your keys but can’t quite reach them there are a few things you can do to get them back, but it will cost you a few quid. The upside is you probably won’t end up doing it again!

Getting Back into Your Car

For those whose thoughts go straight to putting an elbow through the window, don’t. It’s a terrible idea. Any kind of attempted break in is a bad idea.

  1. You’ll look like you’re breaking in and risk people calling the police which will waste their time and leave you looking red-faced
  2. It’s probably more expensive to get a window replaced that it is to get your car unlocked by a professional
  3. You’ll hurt your elbow

Stay calm, go grab a coffee, and think about the best next move. It’s not like you’re going anywhere fast. If you’re lucky you will have a spare key somewhere although if you’re away from your home it might be a job to get it. See if you can get a partner or a friend to bring it to you otherwise, it’s a bus or an uber back home then back to your car. (That’s if you didn’t lock your house keys in too!)

If you don’t have a spare key then you will need to call out a professional lock out specialist like Motors Recovery. These types of companies specialise in unlocking cars using special equipment and can usually get to you pretty quickly.

Another option is to call a recovery company and have your car towed back home if you have a spare key there. You may need to prove the car is yours before they tow a vehicle back to your house so be prepared to have some kind of proof of ownership.

Finally, as a matter of prevention against it happening again you should consider getting a spare key cut if you don’t have one. Spares with electronic chips can be expensive, especially if you get them done at a main dealer but there are other companies who can cut and programme keys for you at a more competitive price.


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© Carol Trehearn 2019