If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that there’s never a convenient time to reach into your pocket for your car keys and discover they’ve gone missing.

When you find yourself in this situation, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s somewhere you need to be, and every minute that goes by searching for your keys is another minute you’re late for something important.

Our pro locksmith has helped hundreds of clients navigate lost car keys successfully and has put together the following tips on what to do when your keys are lost or stolen.

Report Stolen Car Keys

If it’s safe to do so, reporting stolen car keys to your local authorities is the first logical step. Once this is done, you should consider whether your car uses chip technology to recognize the stolen key.

If it does, we recommend having your control unit deprogrammed, so the missing keys no longer work to turn your engine over.

No Spare Keys? No Problem

If, for whatever reason, you don’t possess a spare set of keys for your vehicle, it’s not the end of the world.

A reputable 24-hour locksmith should offer fast turnaround times and working car key replacements to allow access to your vehicle before too long.

Locksmith services should include:

  • Remote keys
  • Valet keys
  • Transponder keys
  • Flip remote keys
  • Master keys
  • Smart keys
  • Mechanical keys

A certified locksmith will need your 17-digit VIN (vehicle identification number) and proof of ownership to make new keys for your vehicle without using the original.

TIP: Your VIN is usually located on your dashboard or within your engine’s bay.

Locksmith Versus Car Dealership for Car Key Replacement

Why is working with a locksmith the better choice than replacing keys with your car dealership or autobody garage?

If time is a critical factor, there’s no quicker or more affordable way to put lost keys in the past than working with a licensed auto locksmith.

While your dealership may face delays in getting hold of suitable replacement models, professional locksmiths stock many replacements that are ready to be programmed or cut immediately. Additionally, your dealership or mechanic may be restricted to regular business hours, and you may have to wait for the next available service appointment to begin sorting out the problem.

Working with a local locksmith eliminates these problems and keeps your costs lower while providing regular and emergency locksmith services that match your needs. In many cases, mobile locksmiths can be dispatched right to your vehicle’s location, helping solve the problem much quicker.

Don’t hesitate to contact a certified locksmith whenever you have questions about your vehicle’s entry and ignition systems.

Check to See if Your Auto Insurance Covers Key Replacements

To keep your costs low, it can be a good idea to check to see if your current insurance provides any coverage for key replacement.

While not all auto insurance policies include replacing lost, missing, or stolen keys, some will clearly outline this scenario and provide you with some types of coverage.

It doesn’t hurt to be aware of your options so you can make the best choices for your unique situation.

Consider What Makes an Auto Locksmith the Right Choice

Auto locksmiths are best known for being prompt, innovative, and professional, all while putting clients first.

In most cases, no other service can connect you with the solutions you need when you need them, as a seasoned locksmith can.

So, what makes an auto locksmith the right choice when dealing with lost or stolen keys?

  • Many auto locksmiths are mobile and offer affordable 24-hour emergency services.
  • Auto locksmiths stock a large selection of key replacements for all makes and models.
  • Auto locksmiths are trained to cut, program, and reprogram keys onsite.
  • Auto locksmiths are experienced and guarantee the quality of each new key made.
  • Locksmith pricing is affordable and competitive.
  • Service is prompt no matter what time of day or night.
  • Automotive locksmiths are trained experts in locking mechanisms for vehicles of all types, including dashes, trunks, gloveboxes, door locks, and ignitions.

Don’t just call the first locksmith that shows up after a quick online search. Be sure to entrust your automotive locks to a qualified expert with a solid reputation.

What to Look for In a Trusted Locksmith

Since you may be a little frazzled after finding out your keys are missing, we’ve decided to make it easier for you to find the locksmith you need.

Here are the top five questions you should ask a locksmith before hiring their services:

  1. Are you licensed and insured?
  2. Do you provide any warranty period on auto locksmith services?
  3. Do you provide written estimates?
  4. Do you specialize in replacing lost or stolen car keys?
  5. What can I expect for turnaround time?

Asking these questions in advance can save you time, money, and potential hassle. An experienced locksmith won’t hesitate to answer any of the above questions in detail.

Reprogramming Car Keys

The tools and skills that make reprogramming car keys possible are available at your fingertips when you work with a licensed locksmith specializing in automotive security.

Don’t be afraid to request a new key type if that’s what you so desire. A locksmith worth their weight can always give you options that meet your needs with the most precision.

Compare Locksmith Prices Without Settling

When comparing locksmith prices, remember that professional locksmiths spend many years refining their skills and honing their craft to cover all types of automotive locking mechanisms.

If you receive a quote that seems too good to be true, be wary of your security, and do your homework to ensure you’re working with a vetted company. That being said, you should still be able to find a trusted locksmith whose prices are reasonable and locally competitive.


Following our locksmith-approved tips on handling the loss of your car keys can help prevent panic and worry in an already high-stress situation.

Did these tips help you stay on track when you discovered your car keys had vanished? We want to know what helped you the most in the comments below!