Locked Your Keys in the Car: Who Do You Call?

There may be nothing more stressful than realizing you locked your keys in the car. It puts a damper on even the happiest of times, especially if you’re driving to an important event. Thankfully, the following four services can unlock your car.

car keys locked in car
Car key fob | Gado/Getty Images

1. Local law enforcement might help if you locked your keys in the car

This is one option if you locked your keys in the car. Police are there to help, after all. But keep a few things in mind before making the police your first call.

Unless a person or pet is trapped in the vehicle, locking your keys in the car doesn’t constitute an emergency. It might feel like one to you, and there’s no arguing that being stranded is a nightmare, especially if your car is parked in a dangerous area or you have someplace to be ASAP. This situation is low on the list of most police departments’ priorities. 

Some departments even refuse to respond to non-emergency situations, such as locking your keys in the car. If that’s the case, try contacting the next three services.

2. Roadside assistance is probably your best bet if you locked your keys in the car

One of the surest ways to get back into your vehicle is to call roadside assistance. Whether the service is covered by your car’s manufacturer, your insurance company, or AAA, someone will come out to unlock your vehicle. Response times depend upon the urgency of your situation and the service’s call volume from other customers.

In addition, roadside assistance often costs a fee, but it’s usually low. Though the goal is never to use this service, roadside assistance is helpful if you ever have a flat tire, car trouble, or any other issues that leave you stranded.

3. Towing companies might be able to help if you locked your keys in the car

Calling a towing company might not be ideal, but it’s an option, Erie Insurance explains. Tow companies are better known for repossessing cars or hauling them away from accident scenes, but these services can also unlock cars.

If for some reason the company you called can’t unlock your car, the driver can at least tow your vehicle someplace for you. That might be an option if you don’t feel safe where you’re stranded. 

If you don’t have the number for a tow company, try Googling it. And if you’re stuck in one of those dreaded dead zones where you have no cell reception, try calling 411. The operator can connect you with a towing company that will swoop in to save the day — for a price, of course.

4. Locksmiths are an obvious but expensive option

If anyone can get you back into your car quickly, it’s a locksmith. Most will come out fairly promptly unless they’re busy with other customers.

If you don’t know any local locksmiths, call 411. The operator will give you the phone number to the nearest locksmith to assist you.

Another option is to call your dealership, especially if you’re local. You’ll need proof of ownership and the car’s VIN, but most dealers will be happy to send a locksmith.

The problem with these two options is that they can be pricey. With that in mind, this option should probably be your last resort if you lock your keys in the car.

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