Buying a Car? Two Keys Please!


My wife and I were heading out to an evening of salsa dancing and thought we’d take our two young girls with us to introduce them to something more culturally significant than Netflix TV shows.

One child was eager to go and learn some Latin dancing, while the other threw a fit and declared, with a sly grin, that she would indeed be staying home.

My keys were on a table near the front door, and when the time came to grab them, they were missing. There was no sign of them. My wife and I searched everywhere—in coat pockets, pants pockets, inside the car… all to no avail. The keys were gone.

Lucky for us we have a second set and left, albeit a few minutes late, to enjoy a night of dancing.

The next day came the twist in this tale.

The first, and most important, lesson here is to always make sure you have two sets of keys for your car. New cars typically come with two sets, but used cars are sometimes sold with only one. If you find the used car of your dreams, and the owner has only one key, negotiate with the seller to either provide a second key or decrease the price so you can have one made.

This lesson hit home when I thought I’d have to spend $400-$500 to replace my key, and another $400-$500 to replace my wife’s key, which was attached to the same ring. Needless to say I spent many hours searching, even going so far as having my mother-in-law retrace steps from a 3-mile walk where I thought maybe they fell out of my pocket.

Coincidently, I saw the above billboard on a drive yesterday and was reminded once again of the importance of having two sets of keys.

Thankfully, my story ended without needing to drop a thousand dollars to replace my keys. Remember the daughter who didn’t want to go salsa dancing? Turns out she had hidden the keys in the closet, under a bag of laundry, so we wouldn’t be able to leave. Resourceful little thing.

If we had had only one set of keys, her little plan would have worked. Thankfully, I thought to ask for a second set of keys when I bought my used car, and our night of dancing carried on uninterrupted.

Would you buy a car that came with only one set of keys?


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

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