What to do when your keys are locked in the car
It's happened to all of us at one point or another; you walk up to your Chevy Malibu after a nice dinner or with your arms full of groceries, you check your pocket for your key, getting more frantic by the second, only to realize you've locked your key in the car and are now stranded in a parking lot. It is definitely one of the worst feelings, that sickening combination of foolishness and helplessness. However, this guide on what to do when your keys are locked in the car exists because enough people make this mistake to warrant it, so don't feel too bad.
Many modern cars typically come with keyless entry in some form or another. Often, this includes remotes, or a paired app on your smart device like those found in the newest electric cars. This lets you unlock the vehicle without needing a key at all. But, if you have an older model or the maker hasn't included this feature as part of the standard installation, never fear - there is no such thing as a hopeless situation. A little bit of foresight or some street smarts can get you out of this tricky situation. First things first, take a deep breath, then try out this list of tips and suggestions.
Before you risk getting your hands dirty or drawing unwanted attention to yourself, there are a few different, less drastic, measures you can take to gain access to your car. In most cases, this revolves around calling for help. Assuming you were fortunate enough not to lock your mobile in the car, there are some people you can dial up.
As mentioned, there may be times when calling for help isn't an option. Still, taking matters into your own hands should always be a last resort as there are always risks involved. Keep firmly in mind that your insurance provider will be unlikely to cover the cost of damages you cause in the process. That said, here are some of the DIY methods on how to get your keys out of a locked car:
At the end of the day, you'd be best served calling for professional help from a locksmith or roadside assistance. Even a towing company may have the tools and expertise to open your car without causing damage. This peace of mind is well worth the price. Just be sure to explain beforehand what your situation is, so that they know which tools to bring with them.
Ideally, no, you should not try to gain entry yourself. Apart from the risk you run of damaging the vehicle, you may be mistaken for a car thief, which could lead to an awkward conversation with law enforcement if someone spots you.
If you have roadside assistance, then you can call them for help if you've locked your keys in your car, and you won't need to worry about additional costs. However, a locksmith will charge you. The price varies from around $50 to $100 for a callout, going up to $150 to $250 when working after hours.
The police do not unlock cars for anyone as a general rule, for free or otherwise. However, if there is an emergency, such as a pet or child trapped inside the vehicle, they will either pick the lock, if they have the tools, or safely break the window. Though free, it may cost you in the long run.
You are definitely free to call AAA to unlock your car for you, and they will send a technician to assist you anywhere in the US. If they are unable to do so on site, they will tow your vehicle to an accredited service station.