Do I need new locks? We’re asked this a lot. What most people mean is ‘I want the locks changed, but don’t want to spend the money or claim on my insurance’. It’s a fair question, who wants to spend money on getting new locks? But what do you do about stolen car keys?

If your car key has been stolen, you have a serious problem.  They can now steal your car anytime, in the next 1, 3, 6 or 12 months, there’s no rush. It may happen overnight, outside school, at the supermarket. So, when deciding on the best thing to do about stolen car keys, consider the following.

stolen car keys

Where were the car keys stolen?

We believe this is the most important question. There’s a big difference between car keys stolen from the house, and a handbag that has been snatched while on a night out. Car key theft is big business in the UK. Every day and night, houses are broken into with the sole intention of stealing car keys. This is called a ‘Hanoi’ theft and here is a typical news story example.

If they’ve been in your house and stolen the car keys, but not yet taken the car, you need to act quickly. Firstly, get the car somewhere safe and then get the locks changed and keys reprogrammed. Normally this is done through the insurance simply because the cost is quite high. However, if you’re trying to avoid a claim, it will be worth contacting a local Auto Locksmith.

Was there any identification with the stolen car keys?

By this we mean, were the keys with a wallet, or inside a handbag? For instance, was there a driving licence with the keys? If so this will have your address and it may tell the thieves where to find the car. So again, you should be thinking about getting locks changed.

Can I get the stolen car keys erased from the car memory?

Sometimes this is a good answer to the problem. For instance, if the keys were inside a jacket, or handbag and there is no trail back to your address. The keys have a microchip inside. With most cars, there is the option to erase stolen keys from the memory. So, if you had two keys and one was taken, a local Car Key Man could delete the stolen key from the memory. This will be alot cheaper than having all the locks changed, and can often be done on the same, or next day.

However, you must remember that the stolen key will still fit into and turn the door lock.  This will be the case even when it’s erased from the computer memory. How about keeping your valuable items secure? If you don’t have the locks changed, then the stolen key will still open the car the old-fashioned way.

stolen car keys

Will my car alarm stop them stealing from the car?

Did you know that many cars don’t have an alarm? We all think we have an alarm as standard, but they have disappeared from the cheaper models. This is to save money at the budget end of the market.

How can I check to see if I have a car alarm?

This is easy and will help put your mind at rest if you have the problem of stolen car keys. Follow this link to see the easy way to test if you have a car alarm. If you have, hopefully you’ll hear it go off if anyone comes back for the car or whatever is inside. If you’re that worried about this problem, you either need to take everything valuable out of the car, or get the locks changed.

How much will it cost for new locks and keys?

This really depends on the make and model of car. If you have a common car, a Ford or Vauxhall, then expect to pay around £400-500 for all the parts and the labour. However, if you have a Japanese or Korean car, such as a Honda, Kia or Hyundai, then a set of locks can be very expensive. A set of locks for an old 2006 Honda Jazz is around £600 just for parts. Then they will then need fitting and programming.

An independent should be cheaper than a main dealer, but when getting quotes, makes sure you get a price for the whole job, including VAT.

I don’t have any keys now; does this make it more expensive?

Yes, this is really bad news I’m afraid. For a start, if it’s locked up, then you need to get into it. This is one of the big problems with stolen car keys. Often, the car is stuck somewhere, and it can’t be moved to a safe place. If this is the case, you’ll need someone to get into the car. You may also need a key to fit the old locks, just to be able steer it onto a pick-up recovery truck. Again, this will put the price up.

stolen car keys

My car has an electronic Handbrake, how do I move it?

This is the ultimate problem, on top of having the car keys stolen. Sometimes, the only way to release the handbrake easily, is to have a key that is programmed. Otherwise, you will need a mechanic to do some magic and release it by disconnecting parts. If you find yourself in this situation, talk to a local Auto Locksmith. They may be able to get the car up and running so you can drive it to safety. This is what we always do in Lincoln. We visit the victim, get the car running where possible and erase the stolen keys. Then, once new locks are fitted, we can have new blades fitted to match the new locks. This isn’t possible on all cars, but a good Auto Locksmith will know how it all works.

How do I find a good Auto Locksmith that can help?

When looking on the internet, it’s easy to get confused between a local company and a national firm. If you happen to choose a national firm, they will just sub-contract the work to a local firm and you’ll pay much more. Click here to see our checklist for finding a good company.

Do I have to do anything about stolen car keys?

No. It’s all about risk. If you have a car key stolen, then your insurance will then be invalid if the car is stolen. There is a chance you won’t get paid out if your car is stolen. However, maybe the car is old, not worth much, and you can get around the risk by fitting an aftermarket steering wheel clamp?

Whatever you decide, do it quickly. Having a car stolen is a real pain. You can’t get to work, or get the kids to school, it’s a nightmare. So good luck, and we hope this helps.


2 replies
  1. Carole
    Carole says:

    I lost one set of keys but have a spare. My insurance company want the locks changed. My son is recommending not to have the locks changed saying that my car will not be the same after being taken apart. Is there any truth in this, do I need to worry.

    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hello Carole. There is a key floating around somewhere fro your car, which can start it and drive it away. I expect that your insurance company will insist your locks are changed, because if your car is stolen with the missing key, you may not be paid out by the insurance company.
      As for changing the locks, this is a simple and painless job. The company that do this will be able to do this without you even noticing they have touched your car.


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