Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Losing your set of car keys is a huge inconvenience. You don’t just lose your keys; you lose access to reliable transportation if you don’t have a spare. So what do you do when you discover a lost set of car keys? We’ve researched some solutions for this situation.
Here are some options for you if you find a set of keys:
- Turn them in to the police station.
- Leave them where you found them.
- Press the alarm on the key fob.
- Post online that you found them.
If you still have some questions about what to do if you find a set of car keys, don't worry. In this guide, we'll discuss the topic in greater detail. Continue reading for tips for finding someone else’s keys and advice for if you’ve lost yours. Without further ado, let's get into it!
How Each of These Options Can Help
There’s no perfect solution to getting a lost key to its owner; it depends on the situation. Below are scenarios where each of our solutions would be the most effective.
Turn it in to the Police
When you turn in a seemingly valuable item to the police, they place it in a lost-and-found. That item will stay there until the owner claims the item.
There’s no telling if the owner will go to a police station to find their key. But if they do, they can find it and possibly recognize it by any distinct scratches or marks.
Leave the Keys Where They Were Found
This option sounds dismissive of the situation, but it could be helpful. Likely, the individual who lost the key hasn’t gone far. At some point, they have to realize that their keys are gone.
If you leave the missing keys alone, that gives the owner a chance to repeat their steps. Eventually, they could end up right back at the location where they accidentally dropped their key.
Press the Alarm Button on the Key Fob
Newer cars tend to come with key fobs instead of traditional keys. If you see a key or fob, that almost ensures that the car is still in the parking lot somewhere.
Press the alarm button and listen for the car. Once you hear it, walk towards the vehicle and wait. Sooner or later, the owner will return to their vehicle. That’s when you can return the key to them.
Share That You Found Keys Online
Posting on social media that you found lost keys may not seem effective. Although, that could be your last resort option.
Social media networks like Facebook have groups targeted to a geographic area.
If you post the lost keys in this group (provide details such as a picture, the location the key was found, etc.), the owner might come across your post. Then, they’ll reach out to you, and you can coordinate a time to return their keys.
Should You Get Two Keys When Buying a Car?
Whether you get an extra set of keys depends on the dealer and the car itself.
When you purchase a NEW car, you are given the owner’s manual and an extra set of remote control keys. It won’t cost you any extra money to receive this spare set.
However, this won’t always be the case with the purchase of a USED vehicle. The dealership you’re purchasing the used vehicle from may not have a spare key. More than likely, it’s because of one of the following reasons:
- The previous owner did not provide the dealer with the spare key.
- The spare was lost.
- The vehicle was repossessed, and the repossessors decided not to purchase the spare key.
- On rare occasions, the dealer is secretly in possession of the spare and holding it if you fail to make payments, and the repossession process begins.
Regardless of whether you bought the vehicle new or used, you shouldn’t walk out of the door without two sets of keys on hand.
As mentioned before, new cars will have two sets of keys. When you buy a used car, you need to ask about it before any paperwork is signed.
If the dealer doesn’t already give you the spare, ask for it. Use it as part of the negotiation process. Failing to do so is a commonly used car buying mistake.
It’s also costly; Consumer Law Group explains that a second key could cost $300-$400.
What do I do if I Lost Both Sets of Car Keys?
The type of key you own will determine what you need to do to get back inside your car. Your vehicle works with one of the following five key types depending on the age of your vehicle:
- Traditional key: a simple, uniquely crafted key that fits your car.
- Smart key: a device with sensors that connect to your car for keyless ignition.
- Key fob: attached to a traditional key to make unlocking the car more convenient.
- Transponder key: keys with a computer chip that wirelessly connects with your car.
If you’ve lost traditional keys, make a call to your local locksmith. Unless you have a nontraditional or extremely old car, they can get a spare ready on the spot within a few minutes.
If you’ve lost key fobs, you won’t have any issue unless it’s attached to the key. In that case, an auto parts store or your dealership will have some available for you to buy and program. Costs vary, but it’s pretty cheap, and it’s not hard to reprogram your car.
Your biggest concern will be if you have a “push to start” car with a smart or transponder key. Because these types of keys are wirelessly paired to your specific vehicle, buying a new one won’t be cheap.
That’s because of the programming that goes into pairing a new key. You also need to pay for towing to the dealership to link the new key to your car.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Set of Car Keys?
The price of a new set of keys depends on the type of key your car uses. It can be pretty affordable and quick, or expensive and time-consuming.
Traditional Key Replacement Costs
For traditional keys, getting a new pair is quick, simple, and gives you a few options to choose from.
One option is to seek out a locksmith. These professionals have the tools to replace lost keys, extract a key that’s stuck in a lock, or repair your damaged or broken key. Make a phone call and wait a little while.
Once they arrive, they use their tools to make you a new key on the spot. Prices can start at $50, but it depends on the make and model of your vehicle.
Key Fob Replacement Costs
If you just lost the fob but still have the key, you just lost some convenience in unlocking your vehicle.
The good news is that you have multiple options for getting a brand new one. The quickest way would be to visit your dealership.
According to Kelly Blue Book, a fob replacement will cost you between $150 to $600. That’s with reprogramming included. Prices will vary based on how high-end your car is.
You can also purchase a new key fob from an auto parts store or buy an aftermarket fob. This you should do if you haven’t lost but broke the original fob.
The replacement you buy is the plastic shell; if you want to program it, you must take it to the dealership or a service center.
Is There an App to Find Lost Keys?
Over the years, Bluetooth technology has made enormous advances. It used to be part of a device that helped you make hands-free phone calls. Now it’s part of headphones, speakers, more advanced cars, and plenty more.
Bluetooth even helps with finding your lost set of keys. Not too long ago, Apple and Samsung released the AirTag and SmartTag, respectively. There are other similar, cheaper trackers out there like Tile.
The concept is simple. First, you purchase the tracker. Next, you attach it to your keys (or another object you’re prone to losing).
Connect it to your phone using its respective app. Then, when you lose the key, turn on the app, and it’ll guide you to its location.
Note that certain apps and devices only work within a certain range. You may want to invest in the more expensive trackers if you feel like you’d lose your keys in faraway places.
Does AutoZone Make Spare Keys?
If you’ve found your keys, the best thing to do next is to get a few spares made. AutoZone is one of the best options to get one made.
It’ll likely cost around $6 per key. They also sell programmable key fobs, but whether it works depends on the auto manufacturer.
For more key-making locations, check out this post: Where to Get Car Keys Made?
We understand that people lose things. And keys are often one of the most commonly lost items. So we hope that these tips will help you if you lose your keys or find someone else’s.
Accidentally locked your keys in your car? Take a look at this post for help: My Car Keys Are Locked In – What To Do?