Car Keys – The Eternal Search and.. wait, that’s going to be HOW MUCH?!


I mentioned the other day how The Engineir was out cleaning the garage so I could once again park inside. My half of the garage was occupied by my motorcycle over the summer, and other detritus accumulated around it since the space wasn’t being fully used. Piles of recycling, things I’d cleaned out of my car.

These things happen.

It took him a couple of hours in freezing cold temperatures to get everything cleared away, and then he came in and asked me where my car keys were.

My car keys are always in one of three places:

  1. On the kitchen rack where we hang them
  2. In my coat pocket
  3. In the place where I lost them

Places one and two were empty, and we spent the next Quite Awhile turning everything upside looking for them. Nowhere to be seen.

Have I mentioned I only have one key for the Outback?

Thankfully, I did not lose my keys Up North in the middle of nowhere. Because that's something I would totally, totally do. In fact, I hid an emergency cottage key in the shed, because I was afraid I'd lock myself out of the house in the single-digit temperatures. In my jammies. At night. Without my cell phone. What can I say, I get mentally target-fixated and sometimes forget the little details. PS - this is the longest photo caption ever.

I figured they must have fallen out of my pocket when we went to the doctor’s office together for our checkups on Friday. I hadn’t driven in the 24 hours since that time, and I realized they probably fell out of my pocket there.

There, or in the chicken coop. Or on the way to it. Or in the driveway around my car.

We looked in all the usual places anyhow, though – in the fridge, in the grocery bags, in various places in the car, under couch cushions. Not present.

We have had very little snow this winter, as is becoming the case for Michigan (sadly,) but we were gifted with several inches of last snow during this time, making the key search outside rather difficult. The Engineir did his level best, though.

Finally, we (mostly) gave up and I realized I’d have to wait until the doctor’s office reopened today to call them. At 8:01 this morning, I learned they had not found any keys. Bugger!

The sun was fully up by this time, and perhaps thankfully, a pretty impressive thunderstorm last night had melted away nearly all the snow, and so I trudged back out to the chicken coop, and there they were, just inside the gate, off to the side, slightly off the beaten path. Victory!

We are technology buffs, The Engineir and I, and I’m considering getting one of those Lojack-type key fobs that will beep and flash when a remote is activated. Because goodness knows, this will happen again At Some Point.

Today, however, to mitigate this problem, I went to the local Subaru dealer (whom I loathe and despise,) and asked for two duplicate keys. After the parts guy spent literally 15 minutes typing very slowly on his parts computer, he presented me with two keys and a rather astonishing bit of information.

“That’ll be $71.50 for each key, plus a $41.00 programming fee.”

It took every ounce of my willpower not to say, “are you shitting me?!” However, I was raised to be excruciatingly polite in that Midwestern fashion, and instead said, “Wow, that’s a bit higher than I expected. I’ll just take one, please.”

Pretty sure I got ripped off by the dealer. This site lists the keys for an amazing $49.99.

Meanwhile, the burned out headlamp cost $19.99 and ten bucks to replace. It sort of boggles the mind, but I figure I’d expected to pay more for the headlight, and less for the key, so it all washes out.

After making a relatively cranky post on Google+, a few friends chimed in with the costs of their replacement keys:

  • Smart car keys: “Wanna trade? It’s about $300 to replace a Smart car key, plus you need to take the car and any other keys to the dealer to have all the RFID crap reprogrammed so that the keys work with the car – there’s an anti-theft RFID dealybop inside the key fob. And it has to be a smart dealer; not all Benz dealers can do this. And the reprogramming will set you back another $80-100 or so.”
  • Volkswagon keys: “When I bought my Passat back in 2001, the salesman said, “Don’t lose a key — it’s $600 to replace it.” Needless to say, I made sure I never lost one.”

I mean… the anti-theft geegaws are all well and good, but holy wow! It’s a damned key! Another helpful friend chimed in that his two replacement Tahoe keys cost him five bucks, total. THANKS, KEVIN.

Oy. There was not much I could do but sigh and suck it up, and so I did.

Incidentally, the service guy who put the headlight in for me took less time than the parts guy did to find the right stuff.  I’ve worked a parts counter before, so I understand navigating the parts “fiches” can be tricky business, but OY! Oy, I say.

I am now the proud owner of a new valet key.

Also, The Engineir attached a large D-ring to my keys, so I can clip them to myself, much like one clips mittens to a first grader’s winter coat. Not that I don’t deserve it.

As an unrelated side note, my mom is starting to think she’s qualified to drive again. This is profoundly untrue, as she demonstrated in the next sentence she spoke to my husband: “When I’ve lost the car, it’s not because I forgot where I parked – I just forgot what it looked like.” Ah yes, of course – by all means, please, drive on our public roadways!

Also, she just sent me the following email, which is an improvement on her communication skills: “My glasses are out of work.  Could you please get me a screw glasses package?”  I know what she means, of course, but wow.


Thus endeth The Rant., Inc

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3 responses to Car Keys – The Eternal Search and.. wait, that’s going to be HOW MUCH?!

  1. benny C.

    1) <3<3<3
    2) I'm glad you're back. I missed you.
    3) Keys these days are stupid expensive for no good reason.
    4) <3<3<3<3<3<3<3

    Love you, lady.

  2. Dan

    What’s odd, is that it only cost $12 to get 3 keys made for my bus. I like my cars lo-tech so I can replace everything 😀

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