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What to Do When You Break Your Keys

Lots of people are cool-headed in a crisis, and then there are the rest of us. For us, preparation is vital.†

Here’s a quick list of what to do when you break your keys. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but you’ll be glad to have this list when (not if!) you do.

Get to Safety

The most important thing to do when you’re waiting for a repair service for your car is to get to safety. Don’t sit in a dark parking lot, or alone on the side of the road if you can help it.

While an automotive locksmith can provide you with 24-hour service, that still doesn’t mean that sitting outside on the bumper of your car at 3 a.m. is a good idea. Find an open store, public place, or group of people to wait near or with, especially if you’re exposed to the elements, like harsh sun, wind and rain, or snow.

Try not to wait alone, especially at night or in an unfamiliar place. If there’s no place to go, consider sitting in the car with the doors locked, if possible.

Find a Phone

It goes without saying that you’ll need a phone to call an automotive locksmith when you’re dealing with a broken car key. But if you don’t have a mobile phone or you’re out of signal range, what’s your backup plan?

Think about the places you can go to use a payphone. Are there stores nearby? Perhaps a public place like a library? A hospital? Keep your wits about you as you’re out and about because you’ll never know when you need services like a phone to call for help.

What’s Your Location?

It’s great to have a locksmith that will come to you when you have a situation like this; however, it will do you no good at all if you aren’t sure where you are. Pay attention to cross streets and landmarks when driving.

Not only will you need the name of the street you’re on, but knowing the nearest cross street can make a big difference. Some streets are extremely long and knowing the nearest cross street allows the locksmith to get to you sooner.

Sometimes, multiple towns also have the same street name (like, how many Main Streets are there?). Is there a landmark you can mention to the dispatcher? Anything you can do to help make it easier for the locksmith to find you will be better for you in the long run.

Make and Model?

What kind of make and model of care do you drive? It may seem like a silly question but it’s easy to forget things when you’re under a lot of stress, and an automotive locksmith will be looking for your car.

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, the locksmith may need to bring different tools depending on the car. To be able to state the make and model of your care fulfills two things – it will help the locksmith locate your vehicle, and it will ensure that he or she can bring the proper tools to get the job done and send you back on your way promptly.

How Did it Happen?

It can be really helpful to the locksmith to know how the broken car key happened. Is the key in the ignition? Is the car key in the door lock? Has the key snapped in two? Is the key just stuck in the lock and you can’t remove it?

The more information that you can provide to the locksmith, the better prepared he or she will be to arrive with the proper tools to extract and fix the key promptly.

Don’t Make it Worse

It can be tempting to try and solve a problem yourself, but when you’ve snapped your key, that might be the worst thing you can do. You run the risk of making the problem worse by driving a damaged key further into a lock.

It’s also risky to try sticking something into the lock to dislodge a stuck key; you could damage the key or the lock! This would only make the locksmith’s job more complicated, and the later key repair harder.

No one wants to think about the hassle that comes with breaking the key to your car. But given how just much of a hassle it is, it’s a wise idea to plan ahead and figure out what you’d do to address the problem in advance. A little bit of practice now can reduce the chances that you’ll be flustered and forgetful later.