Preventing Lock Outs:
The easiest way is to never lock your car, but we
know that is usually not feasible. I try to make a habit of
looking at my keys in my hand before shutting the door. Just in
case I fail to do that, I keep a spare door key in my wallet. The
problem there is that the last time I locked myself out of the work
van, the key had been in my wallet so long that it had broke in
half. Figures, huh?
Some dealerships give you a plastic key when you buy
the car. Most of the time, these keys have not been cut yet so
you will need to go to a locksmith to have it cut. Be careful
using these keys though. Since they are made from plastic, they
are very weak and can easily break inside the lock making things much,
much worse. If you have to use one, first warm it up in your
hands. The colder they are, the more brittle and likely to
break. Then very carefully use it in the PASSENGER
door. If the key breaks, it is not near as inconvenient as one
broken off in the driver's door.
The best way is to hide an extra key on the vehicle
somewhere. The magnetic "Hide-A-Key" devices don't work very well
since they seem to have fallen off just when you need them. Most
cars made now don't have enough metal for the magnet to hold
properly. There is generally some sort of plastic coating keeping
the magnets from contacting the metal. Without direct contact,
the magnets aren't close enough and easily get jarred loose from bumps
and such. I've had too many people tell me they had a
"Hide-A-Key" that was there just last week. A newer "Hide-A-Key"
type device uses a pouch that is "velcroed" to a another piece that is
"glued" to a plastic part of the car such as in the fender well.
I thought this was going to be a good device and sold a few until a
customer told me that it didn't stick very well and had fallen off at
the car wash.
There are a couple options left though. I
recommend using a piece of stiff wire to hang a key under the car.
But, DO NOT attach around a brake line or near any moving parts
that could be damaged and reduce your safety. Be sure to use a
piece of stiff wire such as a coat hanger and NOT braided wire as in
speaker wire or lamp cord. Braided wire will not stay twisted and
will eventually come off thus losing your key. You
will need to clean the key off before using it in the lock as the
key will be dirty and dirt will mess up your lock making it not
work correctly. After unlocking the car, just hang the key back
under your vehicle so it will be there the next time you need it.
Another way to hide an extra key is with an all metal
key that has no plastic anywhere on it. First drill the key
ring hole in a metal key out to about a 1/4 inch diameter and put it
behind the license plate with one of the license plate screws through
it. If your license plates are held on with plastic screws like
many cars today, then you can usually remove the screws with a dime to
get to your extra key.