Public service announcement

TJ has a post about locking keys in the car.  I didn’t laugh because I’ve done it far too often myself.  While I mentioned my solution to this problem in comments, I’m going to post it here as a public service announcement.

Get a dead credit card – one that’s for an account that no longer exists.  Get some packing tape.  Tape a car key to the front of the card, and put it with the rest of your credit cards in your purse or wallet.  It’s still possible you’ll leave keys AND wallet/purse inside when you lock up, but the odds drop way, way down.  But wait, there’s more, learned the hard way.

I had a friend doing a project with me.  We carpooled a lot during this project.  One fine (rainy) day (evening) we got to my residence, and in the midst of juggling all the stuff, picking up and setting down and sorting, I managed to put my keys down.  Arms full, doors closed, five steps later he drives away – as normal.  I get to door, and… cannot get in.

Look at that credit card with a key.  Notice that it has room for two, maybe three keys.  For those who cannot make the intuitive jump, put another key on the card.  Same side – its easier to fit.  I happen to have three keys on mine – my car, my wife’s car, and the house.  The tape is on one side, not wrapped around two or three times.   Umm, yes, another lesson.

Packing tape is TOUGH.  And most of the time when I’m going to cut it, I’ll use… the keys, or the small pen-knife that’s on the keychain.  Which if I’m needing the key on the card is, yep, locked away.

And I’ve never had to call a locksmith or pick the car lock with a coat hanger since.

~ by Kirk on June 4, 2008.

2 Responses to “Public service announcement”

  1. AAA used to give subscribers one free credit card key per year. It’s the size and shape of a credit card, but has a copy of your key cut into the middle such that it can be bent outward and used. Dunno if they’re still doing it, but I had a situation not too long ago when I locked my keys in my car and called them for help. The first thing the customer rep asked: Do you have one of our credit card keys in your pocket? Sure enough, I did.

    I like your free solution, though.

  2. Rule #1 always know how to break into/steal your own car with out damaging it. This eliminates the need for AAA or other special precautions.

    For example a 1980’s GM coupe has no frame on the door around the top of the window. Being careful and going slow, you can actually pull the top of the window outwards enough to reach your arm in and unlock the door.

    Another example is pre 1980 vehicles with power windows. The window switches were not tied to the ignition, therefore you could snake a coat hanger in around the top of the window, hit the window switch, and wind down the window.
    The same applies to almost all cars with manual windows, but it is a bit trickier to get the coat hanger to tuirn the crank for the first 2 revolutions.

    And no, I’m not a car thief, just someone that had a completely irresponsible brother that locked his keys somewhere at least once per week.

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