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The Importance of Having Spare Keys

Spare keys are always important to have around.

In the past, if you needed an extra car key, it was simple to have a new one cut. Yet, in more recent years, so-called transponder keys come with embedded radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to prevent them from starting cars by unauthorized means, such as by hot wiring. Thus, these types of spare keys are usually made with special equipment or require programming to work with your vehicle.

If you bought a used car and the owner supplied you with just one ignition key with a transponder, or if you lost your spare keys, you absolutely need at least one copy for the following reasons.

CES Aktiv-Transponder in Kombination mit einem mechanischen SchlüsselAvoid Getting Locked Out

It isn’t difficult to imagine the ways you can lock your keys in the car at the most inopportune time. It’s a nightmare scenario when the car is still running with the windows rolled up and your child safely fastened in their booster seat. Breaking a window is one sure solution, but just imagine the fright you’ll cause your child and yourself if you must resort to such an extreme measure. You’ll also pay out of pocket for replacing the window, costing you far more than the expense of securing a spare key.

Maintain Your Peace of Mind

Spare keys kept in your wallet, purse, house or another safe place give you much peace of mind. You’re always assured that a spare is nearby, provided you carefully consider how you will retrieve it. This may mean giving a spare to your spouse or a friend to keep on their key chain, so they can rescue you if you lose yours. You may be inconvenienced while you wait for their help, but it certainly beats the alternative: being stranded without a spare available.

Lose It, but Never Be Without It

If you lose your only car key, then you’ll have a huge problem on your hands. What you’ll have to do is write down your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and head to a locksmith or a dealership to have a new key made. You may also have to provide proof of vehicle ownership. Only retailers with specialized equipment can handle the job of cutting a key based solely on a VIN. At this point, you’ll want to order a new key and at least one spare.

Sell Your Car With a Spare on Hand

You may have purchased your current car with only one key or lost your spare since then. If you’re ready to sell it, expect the buyer to ask for a spare key. For a private party deal, you may be able to get away with supplying just one key, but if your deal involves a sale or a trade-in to a car dealer, you’ll be responsible for having one or more spare keys made. Thus, you’ll find it less costly to have a key made on your own rather than incurring a possibly inflated cost set by the dealer.

If you’re without a spare key or if you need an extra one, don’t delay having one made today. Procrastinating can lead to costly, life-disrupting consequences.

Check out all the ignition and electrical parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on spare keys, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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