Saturday night. All dressed up and somewhere to go: friends in Ripon – good company and good cooks – had invited us over. Malcolm popped out to the car, leaving the keys in the ignition, then came back into the house. Two minutes later, we left together …. and found the car firmly locked. It had done it all by itself.
We peered in, we rattled the door, we shook the car. Nothing. No spare key. We lost that years ago, and never got round to replacing it. The car defiantly remained unusable.
Distinctly disgruntled, we shelved the problem and ordered a taxi. And had a good evening.
The next morning, there we were, prowling round the car once more. Our neighbour and Malcolm mulled over and rejected various strategies. I walked into West Tanfield for a newspaper. The shopkeeper there knows everyone. He was sure to come up with someone who could help. He couldn’t.
The internet revealed a couple of businesses who would come and help: at a price. £100? We didn’t think so.
But several hours later, we were forced to admit defeat. The man we rang said he charged no extra for Sunday work, and would come in an hour. He thought he’d have us sorted out within seconds. But he didn’t. He struggled with ever more sophisticated gizmos until finally, after about 20 minutes, the lock gave in, and opened once more.
And this is his advice, which I share with you. You’re welcome.
- Never leave your key in the ignition unless you also turn the key. If the car doesn’t ‘know’ you’ve put the key there, it may lock automatically as one of its safety features.
- If you normally ‘zap’ open your car by using the remote control button, the lock may eventually clog with dust and so forth. About once a month, open your car the old-fashioned way by inserting the key and turning the lock.
What with his visit, and two taxi fares, this little incident cost us £130.
I think it may be time to replace that lost car key.