Security Hacks

5 Secret Places to Hide a Spare Car Key [On Car and Elsewhere]

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Close-up of a car key

No matter how careful you are, there’s a chance that you’ll lose your car key or lock yourself out one day. You can save yourself a lot of hassle if you get prepared in advance for that situation and have a spare key at hand.

The good news is that if you own a car, it’s likely that you have at least one spare key as well. So in most cases, you don’t need to duplicate the existing one. All you have to do is find the perfect secret spot.

Let’s see the best places where you can hide an extra key.

1. Hiding Your Spare Key On the Car

Hiding your car key somewhere on the vehicle is one of the most obvious solutions. However, if you do it the wrong way, it’s also one of the riskiest ones.

Let me explain why.

Many thieves are well aware of the fact that some car owners use magnetic boxes (also called magnetic hide-a-keys) to hide their spare keys on their cars.

Therefore, if you store your mechanical key in a box and attach it to an obvious and easily accessible place (such as underneath the vehicle), don’t be surprised if one day you can’t find your vehicle where you left it.

If you choose to hide an extra key on the car, you should follow some rules in order to reduce the chance of an unauthorized person finding it.

Here’s how you can do that.

First of all, make sure you use either a magnetic box with heavy-duty magnets or strong duct tape that will last. You want your extra key to stay in place regardless of road quality and other environmental factors.

Attaching the container securely to a metal part of the car is extremely important. It must be fixed in such a way that it cannot be knocked off by bumps or dislodged by any major force.

Also, you should avoid easily accessible and popular places. That being said, do not stick the storage to the inside part of the fuel tank flap because that can be opened and checked quickly and easily by anyone.

You should also avoid the bumper and space behind and around the license plate: it’s used by way too many people to store extra keys.

Close-up of a license platePin

The inner part of the fender is another place you want to forget. Fenders are often covered by mud and sand and are always exposed to mechanical forces. Not a great place to hide anything.

Try to find uncommon places on your car that are hard to check. You can also use a special hitch receiver vault if it’s compatible with your vehicle.

If you choose to hide a spare key on your car, I suggest you make sure the only thing the key opens is the door of the vehicle (sometimes separate keys are not available). You don’t want anyone to find the ignition key: if that happens, chances are good that you can say goodbye to your vehicle.

I highly recommend that you use a box or container that is secured with a combination lock. That way, even if someone finds the key, they can’t really use it to open your car.

FYI – If your vehicle comes with a valet key, you don’t want to store it in the glove box or even in the trunk. A valet key can be used to start the engine, so if a thief finds it, they can use it to steal your car.

Tip: Before you visit a car wash, always remove the extra key wherever you store it on your car.

2. In Your Home In a Secret Place

There are plenty of places in a house or condo where you can hide your spare car key.

The first and most important thing is that you have to choose a hiding spot that you will remember. You might not need to touch the key for years but one day you realize you need that extra key urgently.

If you just throw it into a random place and completely forget about it, chances are good that you won’t be able to recall the spot when you really need it.

Therefore, it can be useful to remind yourself where you hid the key from time to time. It’s especially useful if you picked a brand new hiding place. It’s also a good idea to share the location of the key with a family member.

Without further ado, let’s see some great hiding spots that won’t attract a burglar’s attention:

  • at the bottom of a coffee canister (use a zipper storage bag)
  • underneath a chair or drawer
  • behind a picture
  • in a diversion safe
  • in a fake wall outlet or air vent
  • in a hidden wall safe

Do not keep the spare car key on a key holder in plain sight and also make sure you don’t store it together with your spare house key.

If you want to store the key in a safe, here are the best places where you can hide your safe in your home.

The major drawback of keeping your extra key at home is that in case you lose your primary key (or key fob), you either have to go home and back to your car or ask a family member who lives with you to take the key to your actual location.

3. Give It to Someone You Trust

If you don’t want to bother hiding your key, the simplest solution is to give it to someone you trust. It can be anyone who you have a confidential relationship with: your wife or husband, a relative, a friend, or a neighbor. In return, you can take care of their spare keys. It’s a win-win situation.

Besides being simple and cost-effective, the major benefit of this solution is that you keep the emergency key physically well separated from the vehicle. So even if a burglar finds it, they will have no idea where the corresponding car is exactly located.

One thing you should keep in mind is that if you give the key to a family member you live with then she or he still has to find a secure place, usually in your home, to hide it. Therefore, it’s a much better idea to ask someone who lives elsewhere than you.

4. Safe Deposit Box

This one is a pretty secure solution. If you are already renting a deposit box, adding an emergency key is a viable option. However, renting a safe deposit box for the sole purpose of storing a single key is simply not worth it in my opinion.

Besides the cost, the drawback of keeping your spare car key in a safe deposit box is that you’ll only have access to it during the operating hours of the bank. So if you need that extra key on a Sunday or at night, chances are good that you’ll have to wait until your bank opens.

5. In Your Wallet or Purse

Keeping an extra key in your wallet or purse can be a practical solution: once you need it, it’s on hand immediately. This might be the main reason why so many people choose this option.

Although it’s better than many other solutions, it’s not free from risk.

The major disadvantage is that should you lose your wallet, you can say goodbye to your spare key too. This can be a major concern when criminals know where your car is parked.

There’s a chance that you lose not only your wallet but your vehicle as well.

To be honest, in most cases, that doesn’t happen because the thief won’t have the necessary information to steal your car. But still, there’s a chance that you become a victim of coordinated theft.

Places to Avoid

Finally, let’s see some of the worst places where you shouldn’t keep your car key. First of all, if you live in a house with a yard, do not start searching for secret places in your yard to hide the key.

It’s unnecessary (and risky when done wrong) to store the emergency car key in the backyard, as there’s very little chance that you lose your house key and car key at the same time.

A few examples that you should avoid:

  • plant pots,
  • the birdhouse,
  • rocks,
  • the door frame,
  • a fake sprinkler head,
  • the welcome mat,
  • and other exterior places.

Keeping the spare key inside the vehicle is another bad idea. The absurdity of this scenario probably sounds obvious to you, but I’ve seen so many cases where the owner thought otherwise and stored the key in the glove box.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many ways of concealing a spare car key. The first thing you have to decide is whether you want to keep it on the vehicle or somewhere else.

If you choose the first option, you should concentrate on secure fixing and finding a non-obvious place. In case you want to keep the key separately, you still have many options.

As we discussed, each hiding spot has its own advantages and disadvantages. When making a decision, you have to consider both the risks and benefits and select a solution according to your own needs.

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is a home improvement expert, contractor, avid DIYer, and security manager. He is passionate about home repairs, remodeling, and teaching. Read More