Why Call a Locksmith if You’re Locked Out of Your Car?
Imagine this scenario. You get out of your car, lock the door and close it. Before you get to where you’re going, you suddenly realize you’ve accidentally locked your keys inside your car. It happens to most people at least once, but that doesn’t make the experience any less frustrating.
Other Options are Slower or will Damage Your Car
You’re probably thinking about using a coat hanger to unlock your door. Don’t do it! This can damage your car, and this type of damage will likely void your warranty. You could also go to the dealership to have a spare key made, but this will cost you time and probably money as well. Furthermore, good luck finding a ride home from the dealership. They will need to keep your car until they “get around to it.” The best option is to hire a certified locksmith.
Professional Locksmiths can Unlock Your Door Quickly
How Much do Locksmith Services Usually Cost?
Locksmith services vary wildly depending on the area, what type of services are required, local labour costs and other factors. Professional locksmiths can provide the following services:
Lock changing – around $30 to $300 total, depending on lock type, fees charged and how secure the lock is
- Re-keying – $40 to $100 minimum charge, plus $5 to $25 per lock cylinder
- Key copying – around $1 to $4, or $5 to $20 for special keys
- Recover car keys that are locked inside the car – between $30 and $50, depending on type of lock and lock complexity
Tips on How to Avoid Being Scammed
Unfortunately, there are some locksmiths who are in the business simply to exploit people. These so-called “locksmiths” make it more difficult for legitimate locksmiths to gain new customers. The Huffington Post lists some precautions you can take in order to minimize the risk. You can find other precautions as well as pricing trends for your area by going to a site like Angie’s List. These websites take steps to verify companies before they’re allowed to post their services, and they also provide verified customer reviews for businesses.
What is a Master Key System?
A “master key system” is a system used primarily by businesses, especially office buildings, in which people who have access to specific areas are each given a specific key that can access specific areas of the building. Master key systems have many benefits, including:
- Better access control
- Minimizing the number of keys that are being used
- Saving money on key replacement costs
- Quick access to specific areas or all areas for management and security personnel
- Can save lives in emergency situations
- Keys cannot be copied without your permission
Types of Master Key Systems
There are four types of master key systems:
GMG System – The GMG system, or General Main Group system, is a hierarchical structure consisting of a general master key, subordinate keys and own keys. The structure of a General Main Group system is very similar to that of a company. This type of master key system is commonly used by administration and infrastructure companies.
Main Key System – A main key system is a system in which locks are given different cylinder configurations that correspond to specific keys. These are primarily used by businesses in the commercial sector.
Central lock system with technical master key – You will see this type of master key system in use by Homeowner’s associations and other types of housing developments. Locks on individual dwellings or flats are given different locking cylinders that are tied to specific keys. A master key is also typically provided that unlocks maintenance areas where maintenance equipment is stored.
Combined master key system – In this type of master key system, doors are protected by both mechanical and electronic locks. These locks can only be unlocked with the correct ID card. The card will have the appropriate combination code that unlocks the door.
I Got a New Lock. Should I Install a Deadbolt Too?
Believe it or not, we get that question a lot in the locksmithing industry. This is our short answer: We definitely recommend installing a deadbolt (or even two) for extra security. However, there are some things you should consider. There are two kinds of deadbolts:
Single steel deadbolts
Double steel deadbolts
What is the Difference Between Single and Double Steel Deadbolts?
While the basic workings of both types of deadbolts are similar, single-steel deadbolts only need a key to get in the house. Double steel deadbolts have locks on both sides. Double steel deadbolts might seem like a good idea, but they are actually a potential hazard. That’s why building codes in some states and even some municipalities have made double steel deadbolts illegal to install. They can actually prevent you from leaving your house in the event of an emergency. How? Consider the scenario below.
Why Double Steel Deadbolts are a Hazard
Let’s imagine that someone has accidentally started a kitchen fire. The fire is rapidly spreading throughout your house, sending you and your family into panic mode. Worse, the fire has burned through the walls, destroying the electrical wiring that was inside the walls, so now you have no power in your house! Although a deadbolt may only take seconds to unlock in ideal conditions, fumbling through a dark room looking for the key to a fire in your house is a scary experience. By the time you find the key, the fire will probably have already burned your house, and you and your family with it!
This scenario happens a lot more than you might think! According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, over 166,000 kitchen fires were reported between 2010 and 2014. That’s an average of 41,500 kitchen fires per year. The number one cause of these fires was unattended cooking equipment, accounting for 33% of kitchen fires and almost half of the civilian deaths and injuries caused by these fires.
I Got a New Lock. Should I Install a Deadbolt Too?
Single Steel Deadbolts are Good Enough
We recommend getting a single steel deadbolt. Single steel deadbolts, when installed correctly, provide more than adequate protection against most burglars without causing any egress issues. Then, if you really want to make it hard for burglars, you can have wrought iron security bars installed on your windows. Although it’s not a perfect solution, it’s certainly better than just depending on a small block of wood and glass standing between a burglar and your valuables. Locks are easily picked, doors can be kicked in, and glass is easily broken. Remember that most burglars want to get in and out of your home as quickly as possible. Burglars don’t want to spend time defeating proper security measures. Furthermore, in the kitchen fire scenario mentioned above, you and your family would be more likely to live to see another day, and that alone is worth the cost of having the deadbolt installed. Remember that possessions can easily be replaced, but you and your family are irreplaceable.
What Does it Mean to “Re-Key” a Lock?
There seems to be some confusion about exactly what it means to re-key a lock. In order to understand what re-keying means, we will need to take a look at exactly how a lock works.What Does it Mean to “Re-Key” a Lock?
There are many different types of locks ranging from simple padlocks to combination locks, mechanical locks, tumbler locks and tubular locks. Your front door will usually have a mechanical lock, and modern interior doors, such as those used in bedrooms, closets, and bathrooms, will commonly be of the tubular variety. Both types of locks are intended to be opened with the proper key.
How Does a Tubular Lock Work?
There is actually much more to a mechanical lock than just the doorknob. Mechanical locks have small hunks of metal commonly called tumblers, latches or levers, depending on the type of mechanical lock you’re dealing with. When the door is locked, these pieces of metal fit inside holes inside a bolt mechanism, which prevents the door from being opened. If you look at keys, they will be serrated in specific patterns. This is intended to raise the pieces of metal in specific configurations that will allow the bolt to slide. If the wrong key is inserted, the metal pieces will not move in the proper configuration, and the door will not open. Inserting the correct key, on the other hand, allows the bolt to slide, thereby allowing the door to be opened.
Tubular locks work in a very similar way, except for one minor difference: the lock can be configured with either a tumbler mechanism or a special button will be placed inside the lock for the proper key to press to allow the door to be opened.
So What Does That Have to Do with Re-keying a Lock?
When a locksmith re-keys a lock, they are actually reorganizing the pins inside the cylinder mechanism inside your lock so that the old key will not work. This involves a few steps:
- Removing the exterior doorknob or lock face
- Removing the lock cylinder, cylinder plug and retaining ring
- Removing the old lock pins
- Reconfiguring the lock cylinder with the new key
- Inserting new lock pins
- Reassembling the lock and doorknob
Re-keying a lock is often a cheaper alternative to simply replacing the entire lock because it saves the old hardware. However, it will render all previous keys obsolete. This can be a good thing though, especially if your key was stolen. A professional locksmith can re-key a lock within a few minutes. Also note that if a lock is too damaged to re-key, as might be the case in some burglaries, it will be necessary to replace the entire lock.