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Magnetic combo spare key lockbox on your car: bad idea?
June 2, 2014 3:18 PM   Subscribe

I am debating getting a spare key lockbox for my car so I can stop carrying the spare keys in my wallet, as is currently my custom. Is this uniformly stupid, and I shouldn't do it? Any particular errors to avoid, or a lockbox you can recommend?

The first magnetic lockbox I found appears to be mostly plastic, and definitely too easy to crack open. More rugged suggestions very welcome.
posted by jsturgill to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I whitewater kayak, and the necessity of shuttling cars and then getting in the water means that kayakers stash keys pretty often. If you have a trailer hitch, something like this seems to be the preferred option by far.

Otherwise you're really depending on stealth more than security. In that case I'd go for a magnetic box, but if you're just stashing it for emergencies, make it really hard to get at. Like, someone needs to crawl under the vehicle and then reach up to somewhere you can't see from the street or from under the car and is borderline inaccessible to get the key. Because I have a number of friends who have had cars burgled after hiding keys in the usual places like wheel wells and gas caps.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:23 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I do the "way hidden in the engine compartment or whatever" key thing. My dad did the same, and he's the one who convinced me to do it.

I've completely lost count of the number of times it's been useful/awesome.

The plastic ones are perfectly fine. Me and my dad both use this one. The magnets are VERY strong, and i've never had any durability issues with the case.

My dad always put it in a frame rail of his truck, and i have no idea where he puts it on his unibody car now. I put mine on one of the subframe bits the motor mount bolts onto.

The errors would be basically what craven already mentioned, putting them in stupid places. I've never had any other issues, and the keybox has never come loose at all. I do however mount mine on a vertical surface, vertically in the engine bay. My dad did the same. Don't do anything facing the ground, and doing anything that faces the sky(so to speak) is just asking for wrist pain and scrapes getting it off.
posted by emptythought at 3:31 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't go magnetic, because it could be easily removed even if they were not able to get at the key. I'd go with something metal that is mounted to your car and uses a combination lock.
Two possible sources:
Vehicle-Lock-Boxes has several designs, including the trailer hitch option
and
Auto KeySafe has two non-portable ones. The portable ones roll up in your window.
posted by soelo at 3:32 PM on June 2


Anecdata: I once found one of those magnetic lockers after it fell off a car.
posted by fake at 4:08 PM on June 2


I use a zip tie to fasten a spare key somewhere on the frame. Guaranteed not to fall off - but you need a knife to get it loose. Has saved my butt on multiple occasions, tho.
posted by gnutron at 6:22 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


I used a Velcro based one at one point- it worked great, and saved my forgetful high school ass many times.
posted by rockindata at 6:32 PM on June 2


There are beams that run around your car's perimeter. In some places, you can reach the top of them. Put a decent 2-part epoxy* on your magnetic container's bottom, and slap it on top of this beam at some point.

To get the key you'll have to almost crawl under your car, but (1) it will never fall off, (2) it won't get knocked off if you drive over brush or something, (3) you won't need to do this very often!

It's safe. No one tries to break into cars by searching the bottom of them. Windows are too easy to break, and lock buttons too easy to get with wedges and wires.

* Don't use superglue - it doesn't take shocks well (like going over train tracks). And obviously, don't use anything water-based.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:54 PM on June 2


I used to keep mine inside the taillight, accessible with a Philips bit. The one time I needed it...Great to have.
posted by mearls at 7:41 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Here in Hawaii, surfers often put a lockbox similar to what realtors use on their tow hook.
posted by a halcyon day at 9:48 PM on June 2


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