Locksmiths are known for helping homeowners secure their homes. They can come and install a new lock on your door making sure it’s of the highest quality and provides the kind of security you and your family are looking for. But you may not be as familiar with our automotive locksmith services.
Automotive locksmith services are just as important and can help you out of a real jam. Just imagine finishing up a long day at work, walking out to the parking lot to get into your car only to realize you’ve lost your keys. Now what? These are the exact kind of situations where an automotive locksmith can prove essential. They can get you into your car within minutes so you can be on your way and heading home to relax. And it doesn’t end there as there are many other scenarios in which an automotive locksmith can be extremely useful.
Here we’ll take a look at what automotive locksmiths can do, how they deal with the different types of lock systems on cars, how to find a reliable and trustworthy locksmith, what it costs, the pros and cons of using one and more.
Types of Automotive Locksmith Services:
Let’s begin by exploring the various types of automotive locksmith services so you start to get a better idea of what they do.
The most common, and usually the most important service they provide is emergency lockout assistance. This is the scenario described above wherein you’ve accidentally locked yourself out of the car and don’t have access to your keys to get back in.
They also offer key cutting and duplication, which is ideal when you’d like to make an extra key to keep in the house or give to another person in your house that will be using your car.
Transponder key programming is ideal for those who aren’t very tech-minded but have some high-tech locking features on their car. A locksmith can do all the programming for you, making quick and simple work of the task.
Then there is ignition repair and replacement, which can prove vital in an emergency.
Finally, the nightmare no one wants to think about – broken key extraction. This can happen when the key becomes broken in the door lock or ignition.
Most Commonly Used Automotive Locksmith Services
Emergency lockout service
They can get you into your car when locked out, many are available 24/7
Key cutting and duplication
Make a spare key to keep in the house or give to another person
Transponder key programming
Taking all the confusion out of programming your locking system
Ignition repair and replacement
They can come to where you are and either repair or replace your ignition
Broken key extraction
They can expertly retrieve a broken key from the door lock or ignition
Understanding Modern Car Lock Systems:
Where things can get confusing is the many different car lock systems that today’s vehicles have. Not only is there a lot of variety, but they tend to be quite high-tech so that ample security is achieved. The traditional mechanical locks consisted of a typical key that you insert in the door and turn to lock and unlock the door. There are still some older model vehicles around with this locking system, but they are no longer used on today’s models.
Probably the most common type of car lock system today is the electronic key fobs and transponders which can be described as an “electronic handshake with the vehicle”. The transponder key is programmed to work with your car’s ignition circuit. That handshake verifies that the correct key is being used, and therefore it allows the engine to turn on.
A keyless entry system is also very common and can be combined with electronic key fobs. This is simply a small remote device that has a few buttons on it. You can lock and unlock the doors with the push of a button, and some may also have a trunk release and an alarm in case you need to attract attention and have an emergency.
Smart locks and biometric systems are still relatively new but these are being used on more and more vehicles. It could easily become the new standard on all vehicles in the future. This system works using a combination of a PIN and your fingerprint. In terms of security, this is an extremely secure option. You can also authorize other people to unlock the door by giving them a PIN and having their fingerprint encoded into the system.
For a locksmith to be effective they need to understand each of these car locking systems, and how to help in an emergency.
Finding a Reliable Automotive Locksmith:
Knowing how in-depth the job can be when it comes to these various systems, can lead you to ask how you find a reliable automotive locksmith. You don’t want to pick just anyone as they may not be able to get the job done or they may even damage your vehicle’s locking system in the process. This is why you must pick a trusted professional with experience.
A good tip when trying to find a reliable automotive locksmith is to check recommendations and online reviews. Read through as many as possible, watching for red flags as you go. Be sure to also look for locksmiths with lots of reviews, not just a couple.
If the locksmith has a website for their business, you can visit it to check for affiliations and certifications. If not listed, or they don’t have one – drop them and email or give them a call and ask. A website can also make it easier to compare service offerings and quotes.
The Locksmith Service Process:
Now that you’ve found a trustworthy, reliable and knowledgeable locksmith, what can you expect next? What’s the process? You’ll begin with that initial contact which is usually a phone call, especially in emergencies. They will ask you some basic questions to gather as much information as possible, which allows the locksmith to be prepared when they get there.
Next is the dispatch of the locksmith and arrival. You will likely be given an approximate timeframe of when to expect the locksmith. Because automotive locksmiths are used to emergencies wherein the customer needs access to their vehicle quickly, they are used to getting to the location as fast as they can. Once they arrive they will do an assessment and provide you with recommendations. You can then give the go-ahead on the services, and then the job is done.
Cost Factors of Automotive Locksmith Services:
One of the most common questions people have about automotive locksmith services is how much it will cost. This comes down to the complexity of the lock system. The more complex it is, the more work tends to be required, which means it will cost more money. The time and location of the service can also factor into the cost, with overnight service tending to be at a higher rate.
Sometimes it will be necessary for the locksmith to perform repair services which means replacement parts and materials need to be added to the cost. There is also labor and expertise involved in the final price. After the locksmith assesses your vehicle and the issue, they will provide you with the quote/cost, so you can decide whether to move forward.
DIY vs. Professional Locksmith Services:
It can be very tempting for people to DIY the fix themselves. Maybe you think it will be faster, less complicated and cheaper. That’s not always the case though. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of DIY vs. professional locksmith services so you make the best decision.
Generally speaking, DIY solutions are really meant for uncomplicated simple problems. For example, a traditional lock and key may be relatively easy for you to DIY a way to get into the vehicle. If your car is really old, you can often find a key from the same make and model of car will actually open your own. Handy if you can flag someone down, but quite scary how easy it is/was to get into older cars! Once you start dealing with more modern locking systems, however, you risk damaging the parts, the electronics and more. Just think how costly that can become. And after all that damage, you still may be locked out.
Hiring a professional locksmith means the job will be done properly, without damaging your car and its locking system, with the proper tools, with experience, and they will have parts on hand if replacement materials are needed. A professional locksmith will also back up their work and guarantee results.
Preventing Lockouts and Key Issues:
Of course, the best advice is to use prevention tips that hopefully stop you from having issues in the first place. So what are the best tips? The professionals have a few pieces of advice to follow:
Spare Key Management
It’s always a good idea to have a spare key in the house or give it to another adult in the house. Be sure to keep it somewhere secure so it doesn’t get lost.
Regular Maintenance of Locks and Keys
Keeping your keys and locks in good shape can help prevent issues from occurring. Should either become damaged, be sure to repair or replace them immediately.
Upgrading Security Systems
Upgrading to a better security system can also make it easier to maintain the locks.
Utilizing Technology to Minimize Risks
Using technology can also make life easier since you don’t have to worry about losing a key. A fingerprint and PIN may be easier in the long run.
Automotive Security: Beyond Locksmith Services:
While automotive locksmith services are incredibly important, there is more you can do to make your car secure and safe. You can install a GPS tracking system so you can always locate where your vehicle is, a steering wheel lock which makes it impossible to drive, a car alarm system that alerts you if it’s being tampered with or broken into and immobilizer devices that will render the car undrivable when engaged.
You may not need all of these security features, but each one will add another layer to the car’s defense’s.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Still, have questions about automotive locksmith services? Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that can help:
Question: How long does it take for a locksmith to arrive?
Answer: This comes down to the actual locksmith you hire. Be sure to look for one that offers emergency service 24/7, as they can often respond faster.
Question: Can a locksmith make a new key without the original?
Answer: To make a duplicate key you need the original.
Question: How much do automotive locksmith services cost?
Answer: Many factors go into the cost such as the time and location of the service, the type of locking system, the service, the experience and so forth. Be sure to ask for a quote before the services are performed so you don’t have any surprises.
Question: Can a locksmith unlock any type of car?
Answer: Automotive locksmiths are trained to deal with all types of cars and locking systems, so as long as you pick an experienced, trusted and reliable one you should be fine. You can always ask if they have experience with your particular make and model when you contact them.
Question: Will locksmith services damage my car?
Answer: A locksmith will do everything they can to make sure damage doesn’t occur, but they will be able to discuss the process with you before beginning the service.
As you can see an automotive locksmith can be extremely helpful in several scenarios. They can help you get into your car when you’ve lost your key, program a key fob and transponder, install a locking system, repair and replace the ignition and more. They are experienced, skilled and professional and are more than happy to help. Hiring a locksmith rather than attempting a DIY job is always the smarter option.
Need any further advice or assistance on any of your automotive or security needs? Contact us here at Quickly Locksmith Miami on (305) 984-9922.