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British motorists have collectively spent over £180 million on replacing misplaced car keys, according to a recent study. Research by the RAC found that 43 per cent of drivers – equivalent to about 16 million motorists – regularly misplace their keys. While most find them after a few minutes of searching, this habit still translates to significant time and cost.

Key Findings from the RAC Study:

  1. Time Spent Searching: On average, drivers spend more than two minutes a day searching for their keys, totalling almost 14 hours per driver annually.
  2. Lost for Good: Five per cent of drivers, approximately two million, have permanently lost their keys. Among these, 39 per cent used a spare key, while 54 per cent purchased a replacement. With an average replacement cost of £176.20, this adds up to around £181 million annually.
  3. Cost of Modern Keys: Today’s sophisticated car keys, including transponders and remote devices, can cost up to £500 for a replacement, adding to the financial burden.

RAC Insights and Advice:

RAC spokesman Pete Williams highlighted the prevalence and frustration of losing car keys:

“When it comes to car keys, the evidence suggests that we are a forgetful and careless bunch. It is no surprise that such a high proportion of us find ourselves scrabbling around in the bottom of our bags, in the cutlery drawer, or through countless pockets in a frantic search for our keys. Losing or temporarily mislaying our car keys is an endless source of frustration and our forgetfulness can cause heated arguments with our better halves sick and tired of the fraught daily hunt.”

He also noted the significant number of drivers who lose their keys permanently each year, emphasising the high cost of replacements:

“And for hundreds of thousands of drivers every year, their keys are never seen again and have to be replaced. With today’s sophisticated keys, including transponders and remote devices, a replacement key can cost up to £500 – not an insignificant sum.”

In 2017 alone, the RAC dealt with over 57,000 members facing key-related problems, including lock-outs and faulty locks. Williams advises knowing the location of your spare key to ensure it can be found quickly in a crisis.

Tips to Avoid Losing Car Keys:

  • Designate a Specific Spot: Always placing keys in the same location at home can reduce the chances of misplacing them.
  • Use Key Finders: Devices like Bluetooth key finders can help locate keys quickly if they go missing.
  • Spare Keys: Keeping a spare key in a secure location can provide a quick backup if the primary key is lost.
  • Secure Key Holders: Using secure and easily identifiable key holders can make it harder to misplace keys.

By adopting these practices, drivers can potentially save themselves both the hassle and the high costs associated with replacing lost car keys.

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