Lost Car Keys

Lost Car Keys [Ways to Find Them & Replacement Cost]

If you’re like me you’ve lost your car keys more than once. I can be very frustrated and might make you late for your job or planned activity. I remember feeling embarrassed when I had to tell my coworkers and others that I had lost my keys. 

One of the best ways to find your keys is to get some help. If you’ve tried every strategy to find your keys but are sure they can’t be found, then go to a locksmith or a dealer to get a replacement for about $50 – $500.    

I’ve lost my keys in my car several times. They fall between the seats when I am exiting the car. At home, they can disappear to many places. Once I found them on top of the refrigerator. 

Some Common Places to Look for Your Keys

look for keys again

If you are lost in thought or your attention is elsewhere when you are searching for your keys, you may have found that your keys are harder to find. 

Mindfulness will help you in your effort to find your keys. When we are in a hurry, we pay far less attention to specific details. 

If you really really want to leave but can’t, you make start to get stressed, and lose focus. 

You will likely need to look again in the places that you’ve already looked, at to make sure you didn’t miss any details. 

Once I found my keys in the container that I normally keep, but they were under a card that looked like it couldn’t have anything under it. I was surprised. 

Woman looking for keys

The best place to look for your keys is probably in your pockets or your purse. You may have been in a hurry and were sure that they weren’t there, but… they were. 

You may find that one of the pockets you have has a hole in it, then you’ll know that the keys are on the ground somewhere, or inside the interior area of your purse. 

Close-up of backpack purse

Anywhere you sit down, even for a moment, is another great place to look. Keys have a way of finding their way out of your pocket or purse and into the space between the car seat or couch cushions. 

I have found my keys between the couch cushions several times. The car is another good place to look. We think we have placed the key securely in our pocket or purse, only to find they had fallen out while we were exiting the car. 

If you have a common location you place your keys, like a basket, and look there. You’ve probably already looked there, but keys are good at hiding in plain sight.  

You may need to empty the basket if there are too many objects inside it. Going to a table to empty it can help you quickly find the key and slide all the objects back into the basket once you’re done. 

Keys in the door

Once I was looking for my sunglasses. I said, “where are my glasses” as I was looking for them, and then the person I was with said, “You’re wearing them.”

Sometimes your car keys are in the car ignition or house door. Look in the places where you would normally use the keys and it may be that they are still there. 

Ask for Help

get help finding keys

It may not feel like you need help, but if you can’t find your keys after 5-10 minutes, you can benefit from getting some feedback from someone else.

It’s likely they will have at least one additional idea that you haven’t thought of yet. They can help you speed up the search process by helping you find the key by looking around where you think you may have lost them.

Talk out what you think happened. Sometimes that’s all that is needed to remember an important clue to finding your keys is someone to talk to. You will at least cross out some of the items on your list of where your keys could possibly be.

Sometimes asking someone else is all you need to do since other people often move your things around. If you left your keys somewhere out of the ordinary, it could be that they were moved.

Someone may have also placed something on top of your keys and been unaware the keys were there.    

Retrace Your Steps

retrace your steps

Again, talking to someone can help when retracing your steps. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can write down the steps you have taken since you had your keys.

Sometimes we can do better by talking, writing, or reviewing mentally. Decide which will work best for you and begin retracing your steps.

If I mentally review the last time I remember having the keys it helps me determine when I may have lost my keys and where they could be.

Writing down can help me think of more ideas. Seeing the words makes it easier for me to feel more concrete about events and locations. 

Your list might look like this:

  • First, I got out of the car and took my groceries to the kitchen table. (You might think: “Did the keys fall out in the car or could I have left them in the door?”)
  • Second, I put the groceries away and went to the bathroom. (You might think, “Are they in the bathroom?”)
  • Third, I sat at the computer to watch a video. (You might think, “Did they fall out of my pocket when I was sitting?”)
  • Last, I went to get some food to eat, and then I realized I didn’t know where my keys were. (You might think, “Did I place my keys down somewhere when I came into the house?”)

Get Organized

If you lose things regularly because you have too much stuff that isn’t organized, starting to put things away might help you find your key fairly quickly. 

Once you have found your keys it’s time to dedicate some time to getting organized. You will likely feel much better when you know where things are, and they are easy to get to. 

Having an extra pair of keys will also help you feel less stressed about losing the first pair. At least you can get to meetings, jobs, and other places that you need to get to while you are still searching for your keys.

 Time to Get a Key Finder

get a key finder

If you’re like me and still lose your keys after trying the previous steps then it’s a good idea to buy a key finder. There are many types of devices you can buy. Just the other day I was at Costco and saw the key finder in the picture above. 

I purchased one of these types of devices many years ago when they first came out, but the batteries ran out super fast, so I stopped using them. Now, these devices are much more efficient. Many people like the tile, which claims to last for a year.  

Here are Amazon links to tracking devices

There are all sorts of new devices coming out, including the one pictured above which is also very popular for helping people find lost items.

Car Key Replacement Cost

Replacement Cost car keys

You will likely be able to get a new pair of keys for your car even if you don’t have a copy. Several different types of keys could be replaced. Which type of key do you need? 


  • Metal keys – These don’t have any electronic parts and only require to be cut in the right shape to work.
  • Laser-Cut Keys – These require a more expensive machine to cut them so you may have to pay more for these keys. They can also have a transponder and or a key fob on the key head that needs to be programmed. 
  • Transponder keys – These look like regular metal keys but have a chip in the plastic head of the key. You need to program this key in order for it to work.     
  • Switch Blade Keys –  These are metal keys that fold into the fob. They need to be cut and programmed in order to work.
  • Keyless Remote – These are usually just a remote (some come with a switchblade key). These usually allow you to open a car and start it without removing the key from your pocket. They need to be programmed to work. 


It is usually best to call a locksmith to help you because they will usually charge you less than a dealership. They can create a new metal key for your car and program the key fob for cars with electronic entry and start.

Depending on the car, the locksmith, and the area you live in, you will pay different prices. Check with a couple of different locksmiths to get the best quote. They can drive to your location and be done in about 30 minutes.  

  • A new metal key might cost around $50 – $150 
  • A new laser-cut key might cost $150 – $250. 
  • A new transponder key might cost about $150 – $250.
  • A new switchblade key can range from $200 – 300.
  • A new keyless entry key fob could range from $200 – 500.    

(Information on some of the prices comes from edmunds.com


If you go to a dealership, they may also be able to create a new key for you. The cost will usually be more than a locksmith. It may be about $100 more for their service. But don’t give up on the dealer yet. Give them a call because some dealers will program a key for free, depending on the situation. 


You can also find keyless remote fobs and metal keys for your car on the internet. These are often less than a locksmith or dealer. It could be $100 less if ordered over the internet. Then, you can either program the remote yourself if they give instructions or call a locksmith to program it and cut the key. 

Here are some places to look for new keys and remotes.

Final Thoughts

When I have lost my car keys, I have always been able to find them, eventually. But I lost other keys permanently, and then I couldn’t lock the door or lock until I found the spare.

Getting at least one extra key is very important, and having a key finder is very helpful. If you feel like you want some extra security, make a third copy to give to a relative in case you lose your keys away from your home and need someone to come help you get into your car. 

Replacing your key will cost some money, but you can check around to find the best prices. I would call the dealer first, then a couple of locksmiths, and finally, if I still needed to save money, I would look online.   

Hopefully, you can find your keys quickly the next time they are misplaced and find a good solution if you have lost your keys permanently.

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