What to do if you lose your car keys

4 minute read

Bunch of keys sitting on dark beach sand

Losing your car keys can be an inconvenience, but unfortunately, it’s quite a common occurrence. Millions of drivers regularly forget where they have put their car keys. This can be frustrating, especially because it’s likely that you only realise they’re missing when you need to use the car.

A survey conducted by the RAC revealed that lost keys can cost motorists around £180m a year, and this is why it may be a good idea to have key protection on your car insurance. Sometimes, this may be included as standard, but in some cases, you could have to pay extra depending on your insurer and what they cover. For example, Age Co Car Insurance, provided by LV=, includes replacement keys as standard.

While you may have a spare key somewhere, it’s important to try and find the original to rule out the chance of your vehicle being stolen. But where do you start when looking for lost car keys, and, if you can’t find them, is it possible to get a replacement made without the original key?


How to find lost car keys

Retrace your steps

The first thing to do when trying to find your car keys is to retrace your steps. You should think about where you’ve been and what you’ve done recently. These thoughts could give you a clue as to where your keys are. Perhaps, for example, you got home and took the bins round to the back of the house, or you got chatting to a neighbour and put the keys in your pocket.


Check the places where your keys are most likely to be

Once you’ve retraced your steps, you should check the places they’re most likely to be. This could include:

  • jacket pockets
  • handbags
  • underneath furniture
  • down the side of the sofa


Search the most cluttered places

According to a study by the University of Aberdeen, people tend to search for things in the least cluttered places. A quick glance at a tidy workspace or table shows us that the object isn’t there. However, you should also search the most cluttered places, being sure to check underneath other objects


Ask other household members

If you haven’t seen the car keys or moved them yourself, it’s likely that another household member has. You should ask if they have seen them or perhaps moved them somewhere. It’s often the case that they remember seeing them somewhere you hadn’t thought of.


Can I track my car keys?

Adding a tracking device to your keys could mean that if you lose them, you may be able to find them more easily.

For example, the 'Tile' device uses a keyring fob and linked smartphone app. Using your phone you can trigger the fob to make a sound and help you in your search. These also work with smart home devices, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Nest, so you can simply ask Alexa to find your keys and it will activate the Tile.


How to make a duplicate car key without the original

If you’ve tried the methods listed above to find your lost car keys with no luck, it may be that you need to have another key made, however, is this possible if you don’t have the spare key either?

A specialist auto locksmith company should be able to get you a new car key to replace the one you’ve lost, even if you don’t have the spare or original key. Most keys have an electric fob that can be used to lock and unlock the vehicle as well as a key that pops out of the fob to insert into the ignition and turn the engine on. An auto locksmith would be able to get you a replacement key fob without needing to change the locks and can reprogramme the fob so that you can electronically control the door locks as usual.

Some cars have keyless entry. In this case, the car unlocks when it senses the key is somewhere nearby and the engine can be started by pushing a button, without the need for manually inserting a key. These can also be replaced, and a ‘blank’ fob can be programmed into your vehicle by a locksmith.

No matter which kind of key you have, the locksmith will require identification and your vehicle’s VIN number to prove that it belongs to you. If you don’t have key protection insurance, you will need to organise and pay for this service yourself, however, if you do have this insurance, it’s likely that your provider will sort everything for you.