Did you know that it is possible to use your car keys to unlock somebody else’s vehicle?
Joanne Fluegel does because she used the keys to her 2005 Toyota Echo to unlock a stranger’s identical car, which was parked in the same lot as hers.
The 24-year-old Canadian said the key got her inside the car, but failed to start the ignition.
“I went to pull out the owner’s manual and actually looked around, and thought, oh my god, this doesn’t look like my car,” she told Motherboard.
“Like, my car doesn’t have a cover like that. My car doesn’t have a baby seat. Holy crap, this isn’t my car.”
After realising her bungle, Ms Flueghel swiftly exited the vehicle and posted about her experience on a Toronto rave community Facebook page.
“I just hope that whoever’s car I almost stole doesn’t feel too violated. I posted it on Facebook so hopefully whoever’s car it was sees it and they know they weren’t robbed,” she said.
While this might sound like a made up story, it is not unheard of to find two cars with the same key.
Honda, like most car manufacturers, only has about 3,500 different lock combinations — this means while it’s highly unlikely, there is the possibility of someone gaining access to your car.
The Open Organization of Lockpickers’ Jacob Botden said the issue is very well known among his community.
“Car keys are never part of the purchase decision [ ...] they are just something that comes along with the deal,” he said.
“Until more concern, publicity and complaints are brought out, this will not be of significant concern for auto manufacturers and they won’t spend the money needed to correct this.”
Mr Botden explained that while its possible to have your keys open a stranger’s door, the likelihood of starting the car too is far less probable.
“Typically a car door lock, keyed glove box or trunk won’t use all of the tumblers which are present in the ignition lock for manufacturing cost reasons,” he said.
“This further reduces the number of possible keys and makes it more probable to open a door than turn the ignition.”
Toyota said it had not been made aware of the statement, but suggested it could be to do with damage to the vehicle.
“The 2005 Toyota Echo complies with all relevant regulatory standards for keys and these keys exceed the number of mandatory unique combinations,” the spokesman said.
“As is the case with most vehicles of most brands and models, if a door lock has been damaged, it is possible that the door may no longer lock properly.”