I was downtown a few weeks ago and parked my car in a parking garage. Somehow over the course of the day though I accidentally misplaced my key chain, which has of course my car keys, my house keys, and several other keys.

While I’ve misplaced my keys for a few hours before, I’ve never outright lost a set in my life. Prior to going traveling I always had a spare set around, usually over at my sister’s house, so it wouldn’t have been a big deal. But my current set of spare keys is actually either in my storage locker back or over at my dad’s house. Given that the storage locker key was on the ring, and that my dad was away on vacation for several weeks, I immediately realized how screwed I was.

I spent an entire day trying to track them down, mainly at a few restaurants I was at previously, but they never turned up. Given that I already had a parking ticket on my car (since I obviously couldn’t move it), I really needed to get my car going as a first step.

I called the nearest car dealership and asked them what my options were. They told me to bring one of my spare keys down and it would be a $40 charge to make another one. I then explained that I didn’t have any keys to my car, and asked what my options were. Unfortunately the anti-theft system in my car requires that the keys be programmed to each specific car. The information required to make this all happen is stored in the on-board computer . The only way to create two new keys and have them properly start the car was to have the car physically present at dealership so that they can hook the computer up to it and enter the key information contained in their RFID chips.

That was bad news.

Given that I was running out of time before the dealership closed, I had to call a tow truck to pick up my car and take it down to them. Of course, the car I own is front wheel drive and requires a towing dolly, which was another nice added cost the tow truck added on. It was also really great when my car alarm started going off and nobody had the means to shut it off. Thankfully it shut off during the ride down to the dealership, but decided to fire up again the moment it was taken off the tow truck. Let’s just say I wasn’t the dealership’s favourite customer that day.

The tow truck cost about $100, and recoding the computer for two new keys as well as a new FOB cost me around $250. So, it’s a $350 pain in the butt I don’t particular care to ever have to relive. So if you have a new car with an anti-theft system, always make sure you have a spare key somewhere that you can get at in a pinch.

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