It happens to everyone at one point or another. You press the lock button inside of your car, get out and shut the door only to feel your heart sink as you realize your keys are still on the inside. You can always call a locksmith, like The Lock Shop, if you are really in a bind.
However, why not take steps to avoid this problem in the first place? If you have frequently locked your keys in your car, here are eight tricks you can use to break that habit:
- Purchase a special plastic key that fits easily into your wallet. Car dealerships, locksmiths, and automotive parts stores often make these keys, which will unlock the car door allowing you to enter your vehicle and retrieve your "real" keys. You can also make a key holder with an old plastic card to keep the key from clogging up your wallet.
- Make a habit of always locking your car manually using your key rather than pressing the lock button or using the key fob. No keys in hand, no locked door.
- Attach your keys to a long chain or lanyard. As soon as you remove the key from the ignition, hang the chain or lanyard around your neck. Before long, this practice will become routine and you will never forget your keychain.
- Alternatively, use a keychain with a hook, such as a carabiner and ritually connect it to your belt loop, purse strap or cell phone to avoid leaving your keys behind.
- Loop a hairband through your key ring. When you turn off the vehicle, slide the hairband over your wrist. Rubber bracelets and even elastic bands will work for this practice, as well. This tip is ideal for those times when you are without a purse or pockets where you can stash your keys.
- Carry a spare set of keys or even just a spare car door key in your purse or pocket at all times. Caveat: try not to lock your purse and your primary set of keys in the car together!
- Hide a spare valet key on the exterior of your vehicle. You can opt for a store-bought magnetic box and attach it to a hidden metal spot on your car or you can scrub and lightly sand a secluded but easily accessible area and duct tape the key in place.
- Make multiple spare valet keys. Give one to a trusted neighbor, another to your closest friend, and leave one in your desk at work. You may not lock yourself out at home, at work, or near your friend's house, but this could lower the odds of an emergency.
One more valuable idea: program the name and phone number of a reputable locksmith into your phone. Even with careful planning and preparation, you might still find yourself unable to get into your vehicle and having a trusted connection available will save you time and frustration.