A lost car key means a lot of unwanted holiday hassle.
And a new survey of 1,000 drivers has revealed that 40 per cent never take a spare car key on holiday, while 19 per cent admit that they’ve misplaced or lost their car key while on a break.
Motorists spend millions of pounds replacing lost car keys every year and taking the car on holiday means increased potential for a key to get lost in sand on the beach, misplaced in holiday accommodation, or buried somewhere in the luggage.
To help, car giant Toyota has put together the following tips to help prevent keys being lost, with advice on what to do if the worst does happen.
How to keep your car key safe on holiday
Take two sets of car keys on holiday and make sure the same two people each look after a set.
That way you can still get home if one set goes missing.
As soon as you arrive at your holiday destination, decide on a safe place to store the keys when you aren’t using them, out of immediate sight, and stick to it.
If your car has keyless entry, don’t leave your key fob anywhere close to where you park your car, as it could give thieves an opportunity to use a device known as a ‘relay transmitter’ to remotely access your car.
Use a large or brightly coloured key ring for your car keys – one so big or bright that you can’t miss it in a bag.
If your car has keyless entry and you can’t find your keys, take your bags, coats and luggage out to the car and if it opens, you’ll know the keys are somewhere in your belongings.
Consider using a ‘find my keys’ device which are lightweight Bluetooth trackers that fix onto your key ring so you can quickly track down your keys via your phone.
You can also tap on the device to locate a lost phone – just don’t lose your phone and your keys.
What to do if you’ve lost your car key
If you’ve lost one of your car keys, your car dealership should be able to supply a new one relatively easily by examining the remaining key and organising for a new one to be ordered, cut and programmed.
This usually takes one or two days, so if you are on holiday, guard the remaining key with your life and wait until you get home.
It’s trickier if you’ve lost both sets of car keys.
If your car has remote locking or other similar features, it will probably have a code that will need to be reprogrammed.
This can be expensive, as strict controls govern the use of codes and manufacturers like Toyota must comply with regulatory standards.
It’s also possible your car will need a new engine control unit (ECU).
Losing all your keys can be a costly experience, because of the security technology each key contains and the work involved in having a new set made.
The cost will vary by model but will usually amount to several hundred pounds or even more.
It will also usually take one or two days for the keys to be ordered, cut and programmed.
If you are locked out of the car with no keys you may need to arrange for it to be recovered to a dealership, by your breakdown provider or insurer.
Alternatively, many police forces recommend contacting a member of the Master Locksmiths Association.
Locking your car keys in the car is not such a common problem these days, as smart entry or keys with transponders make it much harder to do.
However, if you do manage to lock your keys in the car, you should call your breakdown provider.