Everyone has experienced that feeling of dread before. You slam the car door behind you, realizing as you do it that you've left the keys behind. You try the handle and confirm your fears; you're locked out. Panic sets in, and you know your day just got a lot longer.
It may be tempting to try and remedy the situation yourself. It's strongly recommended that you do not try this. The only thing worse than being locked out of your car is being locked out of your car and then breaking your window or damaging your door frame. Attempting to unlock your own vehicle can lead to chipped paint, broken door frames and locking mechanisms, broken windows, and other big headaches. Not to mention it looks awfully suspicious, and you never know how someone will react.
Check your roadside assistance plan
You have a few options to get yourself back in your car. It's a good idea to be familiar with your roadside assistance plan if you have one, as many of them will either be able to dispatch a locksmith to your vehicle to unlock your car or reimburse you partially or fully for a locksmith service. These plans are usually relatively inexpensive and cover a range of other services such as towing and flat tires, so they're worth looking into if you don't already have one.
The downside, of course, is that you may be sitting around for quite a while. On a good day, you may be taken care of within half an hour. On a busy day, it could be hours. This will depend largely on the quality of your plan, the time of day, the weather conditions, and how many other calls are already in the queue.
Tip: If you feel that you are stuck in a dangerous spot, for example on the side of a busy highway, you should let the dispatcher know when you call them. They can prioritize your call and put you at the top of the queue.
Call a locksmith
If you don't have roadside assistance, or you're truly in a hurry, it's time to make the call. Dedicated car locksmith companies rely on their reputation to build business, so you'll be sure to get prompt service going this route. Many reputable companies will provide a guaranteed wait time, professional service, and may even offer additional services such as replacement key creation or ignition/door lock rebuilds. If your key has broken off inside your door lock or ignition, they will likely be able to quote you a lower price than your dealership.
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