The times when car keys could simply be duplicated are over. The newer the car, the more complex the key and consequently more trouble for the careless owner losing the key. Fortunately, such cases occur rarely – maybe a couple of times a year, says Normunds Tarks, Technical Director of SIA “Domenikss”, the General Representative of Mercedes-Benz AG and Daimler Truck AG in Latvia. But how do you not get into these statistics and what to do, if the keys are lost?
The first step – going to the service and locking of the lost key
Like any keys, car keys are different. The older the car, the simpler they are. “The amount of trouble you face when losing your car keys depends on the age of the vehicle. If your car is over three years old, you probably need to press a button to turn the alarm on or off and open the door. It is easier with this key – it is enough to lock the old one in the service and order a new one that will be connected to the particular car right away,” says Normunds Tarkšs, technical director of SIA “Domenikss”.
More complicated are the so-called Keyless keys that are fitted on most new generation cars. These brelock type keys combine both arming and disarming the alarm, opening the door and starting the engine. They store information about the car – as soon as the key appears within the range of the car, the car recognizes the key and its owner and does all the necessary action herself. “When losing Keyless type keys, the only option is to bring the car to an authorized dealer, who will report it to the factory and proceed according to the manufacturer's instructions,” explains Normunds Tarkšs. In any case, the first step when losing the key is clear – going to the service and locking the lost key.
The door is closed, the key is missing – what to do?
It must be taken into account that it is practically impossible to open a closed door without a key without damaging the car itself. Therefore, it is advisable to contact the official dealer for technical assistance, advises the technical director of SIA “Domenikss”. If the dealer is unable to take the car to the service himself, he will definitely have a partner to help resolve the situation. Another option is to look for a car tow truck, but if the situation is very painful and, for example, stopping at a "green stop" ends with a lost key and a phone left in the car, you need to find helpful road users.
“Any of these options is more comfortable than breaking the window to open the door, which will also do nothing, if the key is lost. What I would not recommend doing in the event of a key loss is to seek help in the so-called "grey services" segment. Yes, it will be cheaper than authorized services, but there is no guarantee either. Besides, the keys to the latest models cannot be renewed at such services,” warns Normunds Tarkšs.
Yes or no to key duplicate?
If the driver has been prudent and ordered a duplicate key in time, or intends to do so after losing the keys, the risks should be properly assessed. “If the key slips out of a pocket of shorts while boating in the lake and sinks into the bottom, you can probably use the duplicate without any worries. But if you are not sure where and under what circumstances the key has been lost, it is better to order a new one from the dealer at the same time reprogramming the car. This means that you won't be able to open and activate it with your old keys, which in turn will make you feel protected from potential criminals,” explains Normunds Tarkšs.
What to consider when ordering a new key?
The cost of producing new keys is 200 to 300 euros and usually takes up to two weeks for delivery. “The consequences of losing your keys are quite unpleasant. But the only advice about how to avoid it is to carefully look after your car's keys,” admits Normunds Tarkšs, technical director of SIA “Domenikss”.