Replacing lost car keys costs motorists over £180m

Replacing lost car keys costs motorists over £180m
A new RAC survey has highlighted the astonishing cost of one of modern life’s biggest irritations – losing your car keys.

Millions of drivers waste hours every year hunting for mislaid keys, and those who fail to find them have spent a massive £180m replacing them.

Interestingly, while women seem to be more prone to losing their keys, men are more likely to lock them in their car.

It all adds up to what RAC spokesman Pete Williams describes as “perhaps one of the most frustrating experiences that any of us face, resulting in maximum inconvenience and stress”.

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The RAC’s Opinion Panel survey quizzed over 2,000 motorists and found that 43% – amounting to some 16 million drivers – regularly forget where they’ve left their keys.

On average, absent-minded drivers spend 2 minutes 10 seconds a day searching for them – which adds up to over half a day a year.

The survey also found that 1 in 20 drivers – almost 2 million – admit to having lost their car keys for good.

And while 39% of the motorists who permanently lost their car keys made do with a spare key, more than half (54%) bought a replacement.

With new keys costing an average of over £176, that amounts to an eye-watering total bill across the UK of more than £180m.

The research also shows the lengths to which some drivers go to retrieve keys they have accidentally locked in their car.

Among motorists who locked their keys in their vehicle, 31% called a breakdown service such as the RAC, 32% used their spare key, 20% managed to open the door another way, 3% called a locksmith, and 3% went as far as smashing the window.

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RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “When it comes to car keys the evidence suggests that we are a forgetful and careless bunch.”

He added: “With today’s sophisticated keys, including transponders and remote devices, a replacement key can cost up to £500 – a not insignificant sum.

“That’s why the RAC offers a Key Replace insurance option to all of its breakdown customers giving peace of mind for £24 a year.

“This covers you for accidental damage to or loss of your car keys and the cost of locksmith charges, replacement locks, keys and reprogramming of the electronics and immobiliser up to £1,500.

“We are currently offering this service free to new breakdown members together with free Onward Travel – worth a minimum of £39.98.”

The Key Replace option is subject to terms and conditions. The offer is available until 09/05/18.

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.