Dealership lost my car key. What should be done?


#1

I bought a new car at the dealership about a year ago. A perk they offered was some free service. Since buying the car, I have moved hours away. I recently visited the old area and got that free dealership service while I was there.

After service was completed at that dealership, they lost my fob/key stem. I wasn’t stranded because I had my second key/fob on me. The manager said they would continue to look for it. It didn’t turn up after days, so the manager left a voice mail saying that a new key/fob will be ordered.

Should I be more assertive, such as: ask the dealership to re-program the transponder codes, so that the lost key/fob (if found) will no longer disable the alarm, unlock & start my car?

If my car happens to be stolen in the future, my insurance company might ask if all keys are still in my possession. However, records will show that a replacement key was ordered and codes were not changed. Insurance claim could be denied for that reason.

JUNE 27TH UPDATE: No key received yet. I called today, but Service Manager is now on vacation for next eleven days. So I faxed the service receipt (which documented the lost key) to dealership in care of the General Manager. I noted that I live a full day’s drive away and requested the key to be mailed. He called me to say he would look into it. The Dealership Manager contacted the Service Manager on his vacation to find out if a key had been ordered. Service Manager replied to him that he had been giving it some time to see if the key would turn up first. The Dealership Manager called me later to say that he will have his Parts Department order a key from the manufacturer today and then he will have his secretary mail the key to me. Even got an e-mail from the secretary confirming my address.

One foreseeable problem I haven’t yet brought up to the Dealership Manager: I have a feeling I am going to receive a ‘dud’ key that will fit into the ignition but not by-pass the immobilizer. To activate the key, I believe the car has to be present in the service department for them to program the code directly into the car’s computer. I am hoping the manufacturer will program the key based on the same original code as the car (should be a record of that with the manufacturer’s computer system), but somehow I doubt it will happen. They probably don’t want to be responsible for mailing a working key that gets stolen in the mail.

I thought about alerting the General Manager about this. But he could hold off the order and tell me to wait until next summer when I can drive the car all the way back to get the key programmed there. I’d rather have the key/fob in hand, since it costs about $200 for a spare. Then I will call to say it doesn’t work. That way I can negotiate to have that faraway dealership pay my local dealership to program it for them. Normally it’s like $150 to program it.


#2

Yes, they should reprogram both keys if you request it.


#3

Having this negligent dealership reprogram both keys would require me to drive the car all the way back to them. That would take me a full day of round-trip travel to get this service done, plus at least a hundred dollars in gas. Instead, should I request that this negligent dealership coordinate with a local company dealership (close to my new home) to have them reprogram it for me?


#4

You are hours away from where the key was lost. It will not have any info as to you or the car so the chance of someone using it is really low. The insurance company is unlikely to do a key inventory so I think you can just relax.


#5

Any dealer could reprogram, not sure if that level of cooperation exists. Sure reprogramming is the safest option, but say someone with criminal intent found the key at the dealership, hmm which car is it, definately would not start at someones car miles away.


#6

You might want to search inside your car thoroughly for the lost keys if you haven’t done so already. Look under the seats, between the seat and the console. Move the driver’s seat all the way forward and look from the back of the seat. Then, move the seat all the way back and look under the seat from the front. Check under the floor mats, both front and rear. I am wondering if the key slipped out of the pocket of whoever last drove the car at the dealership. If you haven’t done this, it may be worth a half hour search. While on a trip, we thought we had lost our checkbook. I was sure it was in the car, but my wife said she had done a thorough search of the car and no checkbook. I went to the bank and put a stop payment on the checks that remained in the book. Coming home from the bank, I reached into the console for my sunglasses and felt the checkbook. Our Sienna has a big, deep console and the checkbook had slid to the very front of the console where you couldn’t see it, but could only find it by feel. My wife had just looked in the console. I might also suggest checking all the bins, door pockets and cup holders. It is amazing the “treasures” I find after my musical friends have ridden with me to a gig. Once a month, the manager of the motor pool at the university where I taught sent out an email to all faculty and staff listing items left in university vehicles and asking them to claim their items.


#7

@Triedaq
"Once a month, the manager of the motor pool at the university where I taught sent out an email to all faculty and staff listing items left in university vehicles and asking them to claim their items."

I was going to make a comment about “absent-minded professors,” but I won’t do that. :wink:
CSA


#8

@“common sense answer” One really absent minded thing I did was to “lose” my car. It was raining when I had to attend a meeting on the other side of campus, so I drove my ancient Oldsmobile. During the meeting, it quit raining, so I walked back to my office with a couple of colleagues. When I left to go home, the car wasn’t in the usual place in the parking lot. I thought the car had been stolen. I went back to my office and called the campus police. When I described the car, the first words out of the desk sergeant’s mouth were “Your kidding. No self respecting thief would steal that car”. Suddenly, a bell went off in my head and I remembered that the car was on the other side of campus. I apologized and walked over and got my car.


#9

:smile:


#10

Ask the dealer what kind of tag they put on the key. If it has just a number and not your name, then it seems to me that no one will ever be able to match it to your car in the future.


#11

I agree with have them coordinate so you can get it done close to home. They are responsible for this mishap and need to correct it. Anything else is bad PR.
Talk to the right people and dont take no for an answer


#12

Triedaq: “Dude” “Where’s my car”? I have not “lost” my car “yet” but sort of lost my rental car. November 2008 I was in Huntsville, Alabama for 2 weeks (job related). I couldn’t resist staying at the old Rocket City hotel and as usual (if staying more than a week) had a kitchenette. I drove my " Enterprise" rental Toyota Corolla to a super Wal-Mart to purchase a few groceries. When I returned to the parking lot there were 6 identical Corollas with Enterprise stickers close to where I had parked! I eventually remembered the fob and got my Toyota to flash it’s lights for me.


#13

I am thinking the dealer is going to program your fob based on the VIN and then ship it to you. Call and ask.

If it is not the above, explain the situation with your distance and ask nicely if they could make an arrangement for the dealer close to where you live to program it. Dealers do a lot of exchange stuff like this.


#14

I would not even worry about reprogramming the key fob. Our insurance agent says they pay out even when some moron leaves the keys in their car and running while they go into a convenience store to buy something and someone takes off with it.


#15

@VOLVO V70
"Our insurance agent says they pay out even when some moron leaves the keys in their car and running while they go into a convenience store to but something and someone takes off with it."

Volvo, Was your replacement car similarly equipped?

Extremely sorry, couldn’t resist the temptation. :blush:
:wink:CSA


#16

Just take the new fob and key…and motor on… If the key was lost…its lost and nobody knows where it goes anyway. Im sure no one is hiding in the bushes with your lost key waiting for the opportunity to steal your vehicle.

Besides…if they reprogram your keys…they just program them to what your car is asking for…its not like they become new keys with new programming different from what your old keys were programmed for…they just tune the new key to what your car needs…

Avoid all the hassle of all of it and take the new key and move forward. What else do you want here ?

Blackbird


#17

Typically during the process of programming your new key “erase all current keys” can be selected. Then your new key and existing key can be registered to the vehicle. With some manufactures a pass code is necessary after erasing all keys but not to add a key so extra time may be involved. As always it is helpful to know what vehicle we are talking about.


#18

The key isn’t anywhere in the cabin. I checked under the hood, under mats and seats, in all compartments, and other spots. Maybe the key had been left on top of the engine when the hood was closed. Maybe the key dropped out somewhere on the highway somewhere along the way.

The key didn’t turn up after many days, so the dealership ordered a replacement. The key will be coded by the manufacturer (matching my other key) and eventually shipped to me. I only heard this on a voice message left as the service manager was heading out for the weekend. I haven’t yet had the chance to discuss options with him yet.

"Besides…if they reprogram your keys…they just program them to what your car is asking for…its not like they become new keys with new programming different from what your old keys were programmed for…they just tune the new key to what your car needs…"
Wouldn’t the keys AND the vehicle’s immobilizer both get reprogrammed at the dealership with a new code?

" Im sure no one is hiding in the bushes with your lost key waiting for the opportunity to steal your vehicle."
The original post is not about someone finding/using the key to steal the vehicle. Say that a future hypothetical auto theft of the vehicle was done by someone else without the key (flatbed, etc). An insurance claim is filed. The investigator accesses the key records and notices a key was lost. The claim is denied because a precautionary code change wasn’t done.


#19

You can always contact your insurance agent and ask what they advise. I think what I’d do is just use your current back-up key that works as-is until the next time you drive to that other dealership’s area for another reason, then at that time have them reprogram both keys. The alternative – if that doesn’t work for you – would be to ask them to coordinate with a dealership in your local area to get your keys reprogrammed.

Edit: When intereacting with a dealership, remember what they’re after. Your future business. So keep mentioning “I really like to be able to feel like you’re keeping your word to me, so I could buy another Honda from your dealership someday.” That kind of talk gets their attention.


#20

I am not sure if I would call the insurance as I have learnt over years that any such calls, one way or another causes a premium increase in the next renewal period.