Are car keys magnetic?

I accidentally dropped my car keys down the drain grate on the street in front of my house—I was thinking I could maybe tie a magnet to a bit of string and lower it down to lift it out. Will that work? Are car keys even magnetic?

Andrew Biro · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Sorry to hear about your keys! Whether or not your car key is magnetic depends largely on the metals it’s made from—only keys with iron, steel, or nickel in them will react to magnets, and even steel keys aren’t always magnetic depending on how they’re manufactured.
Brass car keys, on the other hand, are never magnetic—the same goes for silver and silver alloys. Unfortunately, nickel is often mixed with silver, so depending on the ratio, your nickel key may hardly be magnetic either. It’s honestly about 50/50 whether your car key is magnetic or not, so it’s always best to test it before you actually need to know.
If it’s a remote key or key fob that you’ve lost, there is almost no chance that they are magnetic, so you’ll need to find another way to reach them. A bent paperclip formed into a hook-shape tied to a string may work, as you should be able to catch the O-ring that most key fobs have attached to them.
Hope this helps!
Losing your car keys can be a hassle—finding the right car insurance shouldn’t be. Licensed
car insurance
super app
makes finding affordable rates easier than ever, without forcing you to sacrifice on coverage or slog through hours of tedious paperwork.
View full answer 
Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

Join 4M+ members in lowering their car insurance

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings