by Doris Donnerman
(last updated May 25, 2010)
You can avoid locking yourself out of your car by taking a few simple precautions. One obvious way to avoid being locked out is to carry a spare key with you in your wallet or purse.
You could also hide a spare key on the exterior of your car. Most auto supply stores carry magnetic key cases that you can use to hold the key. Exercise some creativity about where you hide the key, as you don't want to make it too easy for others to find. You could also tape a key on the back side of a car bumper, but you'll need to use some rather strong tape to do the job.
Another precaution is handy if you have a car with self-locking doors. (You know—you can push down the door lock from inside the car and then close the door so it is locked.) You can prevent lock-outs entirely by never locking the door locks from the inside. Instead, get into the habit of always using the key to lock the door from the outside. Obviously, if you left the key inside the car you won't be able to lock the door with the key in there.
If you have small toddlers in your car, never step out of the car and close the door with the keys in the ignition. If the kids are toddling about the interior, out of their car seats, then they might lock the car doors by mistake. You could end up with a locked car containing your child, with no way to get in. Take the keys with you, or don't close the car door.
If you do lock yourself out, there four places you can call. First, if you are a member of an automotive club, they might offer a free unlock service. Second, if you have a premium service such as OnStar, you can call them and they can remotely unlock the car. Third, you could call the local police department. Some departments will come and unlock your car for little or no cost. Finally, you can look in the phone book under automotive services for companies that specialize in getting car doors unlocked.
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