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Picture of Hidden Spare Car Key for Emergencies

This is a sure fire way to insure you will always have an emergency spare on your car. I never liked the design of those magnetic spare key holders, seems like snow and icy conditions could knock it off, and a thief could spot that in a heart beat. *Edited Note- So many people have commented on ways to hide a Rfid key that its worth checking out the comments below. This is what I love about the Instructables community, everybody pitches in to help refine ideas. I will edit this again to include the communities ideas and mention the users names to give them credit. Thanks a bunch!

Step 1: Materials

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Gaffers tape is about the the toughest, stickiest tape I have ever found, if you haven't tried it get a roll. I've had a six inch strip stuck the road in front of my shop for months, snow rain and street sweepers have not taken it up yet. You'll also need a can of automotive undercoating, and some scissors... and of course your spare.

bwright241 month ago
thanks for this idea! I have two keys to unlock/start my truck so I've been looking for alternatives to a blatantly obvious hide-a-key.
masoon (author)  bwright241 month ago
Cool! Thanks for the comment. If you will, come back and click the "I made it" button and post pics if you have them.
gnomeone7 months ago
Thanks for sharing your idea. I think it is great. I think your idea would be especially helpful for teen drivers too.
After reading this I had a small light bulb moment. I have saved old gift cards, plastic coupon cards and those plastic ad cards sent by a certain cable company. Some are thin enough so that two could be stacked. Cut out a hole the size of a flat key then place it on the other card. Tape them together with a thin transparent tape. Then tape it to a hiding place with the key in the cutout with the uncut card against the gaffer's tape. The key would be camouflaged so maybe it would be overlooked by a thief.
Any suggestions now on where the best place to hide the key for someone who is disabled and needs easy access to the key?
DaleO19 gnomeone7 months ago
They make a hitch receiver safe.
DanC66 DaleO197 months ago
The only place I can think of where you would't need to get down on the ground to retrieve it would be the wheel arch or on the inside of a bumper.
gnomeone DanC667 months ago
Thank you for the suggestions. It's not very easy to get to the inside of the bumper on my van. The wheel arch is just to messy for me. : ) I'm thinking about the roof. It is high enough that most people don't notice it. I just need to get some of the gaffer's tape to hide the key. I've even think I might place two or three fake ones on there as a diversion.
gnomeone DaleO197 months ago
Thank you for the hitch safe suggestion. I didn't know about those. Unfortunately my vehicle does not have a hitch and I can't spare the money to install one right now. I will keep it mind. : )
masoon (author)  gnomeone7 months ago
Genius! I like reusing stuff so that is a great idea for those cards. Some people are suggesting behind the license plate. Most those folks are in Europe, so that's where to look if you are on the run in Europe and want to steal a car, lol. I must emphasis after a second coat of undercoating you really can't make out the shape of the key, but its still a great idea using the cards. Thanks for the comment.
gnomeone masoon7 months ago
I don't want to put behind the license plate either. I was considering using the cards someplace that would hide the key without using the undercoating. I would never be able to reach under the car to retrieve it. I will have figure out a good hiding place I can reach without bending too much. : )
PhilL867 months ago
Key FOBS are large compared to the old metal keys. How do or would you hide a newer key FOB. It is bulky and expensive to replace.
masoon (author)  PhilL867 months ago
There are answers to this in the comments, as I understand you get the key part cut which will unlock the door but not start the engine, then you hide a fob key in the glove box. Yes they are expensive, but may be cheaper than having your car unlocked by a lock smith. Thanks for looking.
gadgeteer1237 months ago
Where do find a car that still uses a flat metal key? Most cars now have a fob you just put in one's pocket or purse.
Valet keys are copies without the fob. A duplicate can be gotten at most places that sell keys. (For any car)
Adriving7 months ago
Thanks for your great idea. I run driving schools in wellingborough and use car for instructions. But always worried what if I loss car keys and they are very expensive to make. This is good idea to stick extra key in that place just in case.
Rather than just wiping it down, you may want to take a wire wheel to that rust. Otherwise the surface is less than ideal to affix tape to (in other words, it'll pull away and fall off). Tape is only as good as the surface you stick it to. You may want to undercoat the rest of that chassis while you're under there. heh heh.
r142907 months ago
I hide a key also but mainly for lockout. There are a number of places you can hide a key if you have a screwdriver, which you can normally borrow. Your idea is good for no tool access.
What prompts me to comment is if you have a key with a chip I have found you can get a key cut without the chip that will open the door but not start the car for fairly cheap. This is good if your in the middle of nowhere throw your hoodie in the car forgetting the keys are in the pocket.
JohnW517 months ago
For those who may not know, gaffer tape is used by sound and lighting technicians to keep microphone and electrical cords in place on stages or other performance venues. It is available at most stores that sell musical instruments and also those who sell amplifiers, PA systems and such. It ain't cheap, but it's really good stuff for many uses and, as the author of this project states, it sticks VERY well to nearly any surface.
Gene'sG JohnW517 months ago
Very cool - sounds like it would work much better than your standard fair duct tape, I might have to get some! Looks like you can find it on Amazon too:
cah326 JohnW517 months ago
I think I remember that gaffer'st tape is not only strong but leaves no residue on surfaces it's applied to. Any other tape that leaves a residue on the key could interfere with the internal mechanism of the lock. Is this correct?
JohnW51 cah3267 months ago
Yes, absolutely correct. Duct tape is especially bad about leaving residue and about the only thing that will remove it is lacquer thinner or mineral spirits. Not something you'd probably have ready access to it you were using and emergency key.
GANJR7 months ago
I use a twist tie and place it behind the front grill on one of the hoses or electrical lines. Easy peasy way to retrieve your extra key and you don't have to lay on the ground to get it.
clark5113 GANJR7 months ago
Twist tie is a good idea because it coated. I use a piece of 14 Ga copper wire as it doesn't rot, is malleable and will always be there. I see those magnetic boxes on the road regularly, crushed with the key in close proximity.
How do you access the area behind the grill without getting the hood open? Hood latch is in the (locked) cab.
Using a twist tie to secure a key on your car is a very very easy thing to do. I suggested behind the grill because there are many hoses and wires just under/behind the bumper of the car. I have also used the springs behind the tires, although you do get dirty trying to retrieve it from there in bad weather if you're not careful. There are many places on the car that you can find to twist tie a key so that it is not immediately visible to people around the car. You just got to remember where you put it. CRS disease aside. CRS = Can't Remember Stuff. Hope this helps!
mekert7 months ago
Great idea, I’d have never thought of using your method.
Then again, looking at your car I think that you could safely leave your key in the ignition!? lol.
masoon (author)  mekert7 months ago
Hahahaha! Thanks pal!
StephenB467 months ago
Any chance the sticky substance on the tape might gum up the key consequently messing up the interior of the lock or ignition?
masoon (author)  StephenB467 months ago
What's nice about gaffers tape is it won't leave residues behind. Thats why its used on speaker cabinets, speakers wires etc for music shows.
mrwild87 months ago
Newer vehicles need a special security key encoded to the vehicle, but I found that a regular key blank will open the door in order to retrieve the keys you just locked inside. It will not start the vehicle, but only open the door. This may work also for a vehicle with a big key-fob - A hidden regular sized cut key will open the door and then you can get to your keys that were locked inside. Another benefit to this is if someone DOES find this key, they can only get into the vehicle, and not steal it... (But they can get to items INSIDE the vehicle remember).. I liked the idea of this better than the magnet - it will hide it much better!
This is exactly what I did-I made a regular key copy from my coded chip key to just simply open the door. I taped that spare key underneath my license tag because I don’t feel like crawling underneath the car To find a spare key.
DaveS1917 months ago
This is no good at all if you have a keyless car.
Not sure taping an extra fob under the car would work!
You don't want to get a case of the lost fob blues.
A keyless fob woodwork taped underneath your license tag if the fob was pretty flat. But I would check the fob about every three months to see if the battery was still good.
gcai_fwb DaveS1917 months ago
Hi DaveS191 - see my comment above(below?) re keyless car. To my knowledge all seemingless keyless fobs do actually have a physical key hidden in the fob to be used when the fob battery dies.
masoon (author)  DaveS1917 months ago
Good point, when I had a car with a Rfid fob I put a spare into two ziplocks and stuffed it inside a chassis hole and taped over it, with the undercoating. It worked three years later, not sure how long the batteries last though. You could put fresh batteries in the bag too? Thanks for the comment
Just tape that fob to the inside of your leg :)

Just kidding, hehe. Also wouldn't work (as well) with those larger chipped keys. Luckily I drive a 1981 MK1 Caddy :)
weismonger47 months ago
I use duct tape to hide my spare key under my license tag-and I’ve used it four times already after locking myself out of the car. Then I carry spare tape to re-tape it back underneath my license tag. TaDa!
sleeepy27 months ago
Duct tape has better PR, but those who know go with gaffer tape.
Disasterific7 months ago
What is gaffer's tape actually meant for? Nice job
For those who may not know, gaffer tape is used by sound and lighting technicians to keep microphone and electrical cords in place on stages or other performance venues. It is available at most stores that sell musical instruments and also those who sell amplifiers, PA systems and such. It ain't cheap, but it's really good stuff for many uses and, as the author of this project states, it sticks VERY well to nearly any surface.
So gaffer tape is different from regular duct tape?
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