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Locked out of my car!

Written By: Gary on February 10, 2007 4 Comments

Do they intentionally just put the car door buttons for the locks / windows just out of reach of a coat hanger in case you’re fishing one through the window? Well, it sure seems that way to me…

I guess I should start at the beginning (actually a little before that). I’m the kinda guy who misplaces things but since I know that, I’m prepared for it. I keep spare keys for my car / house at home, work and with friends. And I label all my stuff like my camera, computer, pda, backpack, etc. Back when I used to really misplace things (I’m not as bad any more), I’d put post-its in the front of the books I read with my name and number on it so when I left them somewhere. I do still keep a spare tie and belt at work in case I somehow walk out of the house without one or the other. In essence, I never “lose” stuff since I always get it back :)

And if I ned to leave my car running with keys in it (to scrape windows or check mail or whatever) I open one of the smaller windows so if the car decides to lock it’s not a problem, normally I could start it without keys in it except that the remote start broke and I didn’t fix it yet (I actually had someone follow me the other day to drop it off, but the place went out of business, so I did actually try). Twice times at work I’ve had to call someone from my office to come meet me at one of the schools with my spare key (the other few times I was at my building so no one had to know). What happens is I end up dropping them while carrying something into a school with my hands full or answering the phone as I climb out or something else distracting like that.

This time it was different. I was leaving and I put my stuff in the car from the passenger door and thought, “gee it’s cold, I’ll start my car before I get my mail” so I started the car and pushed the little lever to open the tiny passenger back seat window. Then I got the mail, threw some out, put some in the house and went to get in the car (you saw this next part coming, right?) and it’s locked. Turns out I don’t sit in the passenger seat enough, there is not button for the back window, it’s just the front passenger window and the button for the lock. So pretty much all I did was lock the door. I was fine with it, stuff like this doesn’t upset me, even though I can’t seem find a spare for the car anywhere I look. And I start to realize everyone I know who has access to a spare key isn’t going to able to bring me one for hours. The problem is the car is running (and has a full tank of gas) and it’s parked in the garage.So I’ve got some options:

  • Let the gas run out and having someone come by later with a key.
  • Take a cab somewhere that there is a spare key and come back, but that would cost more than the first option.
  • See if I can get the door open without damaging the car.
  • I tried to get the door open. After many trips up and down the stairs (my condo is on floors 3 and 4) trying to hunt for a hanger that was all metal (without the cardboard hanger piece). And after lots of bending of the glass windows in my car (trying to fish in a coat hanger) I managed to find and squeeze a metal rod (dowel-like) that I had bent enough to have a hook on the end so I could pull back the button that opens a window. Success!! Total time, about 35-40 minutes, most of that was trying to find things like a hanger and trying to find something to bend it and things like that. And I managed to not inhale to much exhaust fro the car too. All in all a mini-adventure for the day…

    From a security standpoint, I couldn’t have done what I did if the car wasn’t running. The windows don’t work if the key isn’t in the ignition, and once the car has been parked for a while if you unlock it from the inside it sets off the alarm so I feel pretty secure. I’m glad I never got around to using that metal rod since that would have meant cutting it in half!

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    4 Responses to “Locked out of my car!”

    1. Indigo says on: 11 February 2007 at 10:45 pm

      Oh Gary. Gary, Gary, Gary.

      My husband has locked his keys in his car while it was running more times that I can count. One of the most recent times was when he was a circulation manager for the newspaper, and he was delivering papers to a radio station. The morning radio team announced on the air what he had done. Poor guy.

      The next time he did it while brushing the snow off the car in the driveway. He sat at the neighbors house and had milk and cookies until I got home. That probably made up for the more ‘public’ time.

      Perhaps you should have a spare key made to keep in your wallet. Or in the house. How do you not have a spare key to your car????

    2. Gary LaPointe says on: 11 February 2007 at 11:14 pm

      I thought I had a spare car inside. I guess I left that part of the story out.

      I looked and looked (there were other keys in the exact spot) and I’m sure it’ll turn up in the next few days but I’m getting an extra spare anyways :)

      It’s tricky for the spares since they are “smart keys” which cost a lot more, so most of the spares I have are only able to open the door or trunk (which is fine since that’s where the keys I misplaced most likely are).

    3. Dawn says on: 13 February 2007 at 8:28 am

      I seem to remember you beginning this story the other night, but I didn’t remember the resolution! Perhaps the topic drifted into the conversational chaos before we got back around to it? Anyway– glad you got into your car. I’ve locked my car with the keys inside more times than I can count also.

    4. Bill says on: 7 September 2011 at 9:52 pm

      This situation is nothing to take lightly. I was camping in Northern California getting ready to leave, reached in and started my 99 Dodge 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive to leave for home, but first take a small bad of trash to the dumpster. I shut the drivers door to the first catch, when I returned the motor is running and all the doors are locked. Had to break a rear sliding window in the truck to gain access. NTSB should be alerted to this situation because it could be really serious. What if you have a baby or small child in side. What if you had a pet inside. I know of at least 5 people who have got out of their cars, they closed the door and/or the wind blew the door shut and bingo, engine running and doors are locked. One incident happened when a friend of mine was back packing, came back started the car, loaded the trunk with equipment and bingo, car locked, no cell phone service. Had to break the window to gain access because his dog was inside. If this is a common problem, it can be really serious. I had a key but because I hid it about 5 years ago, I forgot where I put it. I once had a small dog step on the lock, but I had rolled the window down for fresh air, that is what saved me. I hate power locks especially when you put the car in gear all the doors lock. Real stupid.

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