Lost Laser-Cut Car Keys? 4 Vital Steps To Prevent The Theft Of Your Vehicle

Posted on: 12 December 2014

Oh, no! You've lost the laser-cut keys to your car and you aren't sure where. Perhaps they're just laying around your house somewhere, or maybe they're sitting in the street just waiting for a car thief to come along and discover them. Once that thief has their hands on your keys, all they have to do is hit the alarm button, hop in the car that's honking and flashing and be on their way. Don't fret; check out the following four tips for preventing the theft of your vehicle when you've lost your laser-cut keys.

1.  Contact Your Locksmith Instead Of Your Car Dealer

If you call your auto dealer about getting a replacement laser cut key, they're going to do one of two things. One of those things is ordering you a replacement key from their corporate headquarters. If the main headquarters happens to be located overseas, this could take several days -- several days during which your car is left vulnerable. When you do receive a replacement key, it will be an exact duplicate of your old one, making your old key still usable and your car still a target for theft.

The other method car dealers have for replacing your lost laser cut key is to contact their locksmith to create a new key. While this is a more secure method of key replacement, it's nothing you can't do yourself. Call your own locksmith. You'll receive the same service as you would through your car dealer and you won't pay the added cost your dealership tags on.  

2.  Make Sure Your Immobilizer Is Erased

If your car uses a laser-cut key, it also comes equipped with an immobilizer. An immobilizer is a tiny little transponder chip inside of your key that has been synced to your car's computer system. If your key's chip doesn't match the code that has been entered into your car's computer, the key will not start the ignition.   

Your locksmith can plug a diagnostic machine into your car's computer and tell it to forget it ever knew the transponder chip in your old key. All records of your key will be erased from your car's memory, thus making it impossible for a thief to start your vehicle with the key, should they find it.

3.  Ask Your Locksmith To Deprogram Remote Fob Devices

Deactivating your key's transponder will keep a thief from driving away with your car, but it won't prevent them from getting into it. The transponder chip is linked to the ignition, not the doors. If you had an automatic door opener attached to your key when you lost it, a thief can still use it to unlock your doors, climb in, and steel any valuables you keep in your car.

Protecting your vehicle from entry requires an entirely different step -- fob deprogramming. While your locksmith has your car hooked up to their diagnostic machine, ask them to clear your car's memory of your remote entry device. This added step will ensure that your vehicle won't be stolen or broken into.

4.  Hide Your VIN

While the risk is slim due to the immense planning involved in the scheme, there has been at least one instance of car thieves using vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to create fake vehicle titles. With your car key and a title linked to your car, it could be difficult to prove that the vehicle ever belonged to you at all. 

Even if you take the steps to have your key deactivated, a brazen car thief can contact a car dealer with their fraudulent ownership documents in-hand and request a duplicate copy of the key.

Dealers usually adhere a sticker with your vehicle's VIN to the windshield or dashboard of your car. If you haven't removed this sticker, do so now. If you can't remove the sticker, cover it with a piece of tape so it can't be read through your car windows.

Don't panic if you lose the keys to your car. Instead, follow the above tips to ensure that your vehicle is protected should your key fall into the hands of a less-than-honest individual. For more information, contact a company like Big Red Locksmiths.