Ever been locked out of your car? If you’ve ever had the misfortune of losing your keys or
key transponder, or if the lock has been damaged from an attempted burglary, it’s
important to get professional assistance when you need it most.
Fortunately, there are 24/7 automotive locksmith services available just about everywhere in the
United States these days, usually as part of a roadside assistance service. Many roadside
assistance providers are skilled at auto locksmithing and can help you regain access to your
vehicle as well as a wide range of other useful services.
A brief history of auto locksmithing
Some of the very first horseless carriages had no key or lock systems, and many lacked doors.
These early cars were quite rare and normally owned by gentry or wealthy individuals, so there
was little need for keys since there was almost always someone maintaining the vehicle or
watching over it.
As cars became more commonplace with the Model T, the need for robust lock and key systems
emerged. In 1935, General Motors developed a proprietary sidebar lock. Fast forward to 1966, and
pin tumbler locks became widely used in lieu of door and trunk locks.
Today’s cars are increasingly complex and have shifted towards electronic systems such as
keypads, bluetooth app integration (as with Tesla), bio-recognition systems, and other keyless
entry systems. Today’s vehicle locksmiths must constantly learn about these new
technologies and how to work with them in order to remain competitive.
How can roadside assistance help with vehicle lockouts?
If you’ve been locked out of your vehicle, then roadside assistance may just be able to
help you get access to your vehicle again. Many towing and roadside assistance companies provide
automotive locksmithing as one of their standard services, but not all. Naturally, you should
ask them over the phone first if they are able to work with lock and key systems in your
Some of the typical services provided by auto locksmiths include emergency vehicle access,
on-the-spot key cutting, spare key cutting, key fob replacement, key transponder reprogramming,
and much more. Most vehicle lockout problems are solved with non-destructive techniques, but in
some cases the door may need to be wedged open.
Insurance coverage for auto locksmiths
Motorists in the United States usually need to have a comprehensive insurance package which
includes roadside assistance in order to benefit from vehicle lockout claims. It’s always
best to check with your specific provider, since their terms may vary significantly from
Quite often, even when vehicle lockout services are covered, they will only cover up to a certain
amount, e.g. $100. Auto locksmith services can vary widely depending on a range of factors, but
the cost can exceed $100 and thus you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
Safety tips for vehicle lockouts
If you’ve been locked out of your car, van, SUV, or truck and need emergency roadside
assistance, keep in mind the following tips:
- If you are outside of the vehicle and cannot get in, do not try to force your way in and
instead wait for the locksmith to arrive. Wait in a safe location and, if possible, turn on
the car’s interior and hazard lights.
- If the locksmith asks you to sign a waiver for potential damages, it may be a sign that the
locksmith has a poor reputation and has damaged vehicles in the past or behaves recklessly
when other, non-destructive means of entry are possible.
Can I program a car key myself?
Yes, it is possible to reprogram a key fob to your car’s transponder by yourself. It
isn’t too challenging, provided you have a replacement key on hand and a little patience.
For more complex locks such as keyless entry and app-based systems, it may be substantially more
How hard is it to retrieve my keys from my locked car myself?
Depending on your car make, model, and its age, it may be relatively easy to retrieve keys locked
inside of the car or nearly impossible to do yourself. Older cars with mechanical locks and
roll-down windows, for example, can be exploited with a spatula or an untied coat hanger and a
little patience. Coincidentally, burglars and thieves can do this just as well - if not better -
than you can.
If you cannot retrieve the car keys from the windows, then you may need to wedge the door open.
Doing so will damage the door and its lock since it is forced entry, so consider calling an auto
locksmith instead if no other options remain.
Find a reputable roadside assistance provider with TowGator
Gain non-destructive access to your car, have new keys cut, or have your key fob reprogrammed
with quality auto locksmiths and roadside assistance providers here on TowGator. Just click on
“GET QUOTES” to get started today.