What do you do when you’ve realise you’ve accidentally locked yourself out of your office, home, car? I mean after you’ve finished panicking and freaking out!
We are now over halfway on our series on locksmith services. We’ve covered automotive, homes, safes, access control and last week – CCTV.
You can read other parts of the series below:
- 8 Critical Services to Expect from Your Locksmith
- 8 Critical Services to Expect from Your Locksmith — Automotive
- 8 Critical Services to Expect from Your Locksmith — Homes
- 8 Critical Services to Expect from Your Locksmith — Safes
- 8 Critical Services to Expect from Your Locksmith — Access Control
- 8 Critical Services to Expect from Your Locksmith — CCTV
This series will help you wherever you are, and whoever your local locksmith is – and I do encourage you to go local with your locksmith and security systems – there’s extra accountability by being local.
This is especially true with today’s topic. Who do you call when you are locked out? Who can you trust?
And it’s not just forgetting your key, or accidentally locking yourself out either.
Red Rocks Locksmiths in Boulder, Colorado remind us that these emergency lockouts can take many forms including:
- Malfunctioning digital and smart locks
- Broken and snapped keys
- Worn and frozen locks
- Broken sliding doors and locks
- Inability to access your safe
So whether its a simple lockout or a complex one, the chances are you will need to call someone who knows what they are doing.
So, your car key snapped in the lock, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. You’re too embarrassed to ring your parents. Your miles away from any friends… you get the idea.
You might not feel physically unsafe.
But you don’t want to get ripped off either.
Some people have a sixth sense for vulnerability and know just how to exploit it. Sad, but true.
The Flying Locksmiths in the US do a fantastic job of highlighting this issue. It’s so good I’m gonna borrow it!
Nowadays it seems there is always someone out there, trying to rip you off. You might get e-mails from a Nigerian Prince, who claims he has millions of dollars… Or, maybe one of the thousands of other online scams has made its way to you email inbox. Regardless which one it was, we have all seen them and we all usually do the right thing, and ignore them.
But are you aware of something called “the locksmith scam”? It’s a scam that is as prevalent today, as it was 5 years ago and has more victims than the Nigerian prince email or that free cruise.
Here is how it works and how you can avoid it.
Let’s say you need the service of a locksmith, and you do a quick google search for a locksmith in your town.
If you are not internet savvy, or in a rush, you may not know and/or notice that the first three options are paid advertisements. One claims to be the #1 locksmith in the area, while another is advertising $15 fees. That seems awfully low for someone to drive to you after hours and open a door. How many service companies do you know that are coming to your home or business for $15?
This is basically how the scam works. They hope to catch you with the Google Ads and low prices. Once you call these con artists, they will send out someone in their own personal car or van. No uniform or company logo or any professionalism whatsoever.
Then, once they look at the door, the prices start to sky rocket. They may say its high security and needs to be drilled and replaced. Or, they might tell you something else altogether, but it will inevitably cost you more money. Then these “locksmiths” destroy your door, install something they bought at a hardware store and give you an enormous bill.
How to Avoid a scam
Wynns Locksmiths in Melbourne, Australia, have created a great infographic on how to avoid being scammed, so I’ll leave it here for you to go over yourself. You can read their full article here.
Tip #1 Know your local!
Even more important than all of the things mentioned above, is to know your local locksmith!
Even if you are a long way from home, ring your local locksmith. Chances are they will have a network and can recommend someone wherever you happen to be.
OK, so you’ve avoided the scam, you have rung your local – who you have already met – now what?
What can you expect from a locksmith when you’re locked out?
Locksmiths.co.uk have one of the best locksmiths websites I have ever seen.
Not only do they list their services, but they have a comprehensive price list too, so that you know what you’re in for when you ring them.
Here’s how they can help – and what you should be able to expect from your local – if you are locked out.
Locked Out of House – Flat/Apartment or Business
A locksmith can help with apartment, flat & office lockouts
If you are locked out of your home, flat or office a locksmith can pick the lock open securely without damaging the lock, common lockout problems a locksmith can help with are:
- Locked out with no key
- Locked out with Key Inside in Door
- Key Stuck in Lock and door won’t open
- Key snapped or broken in lock
Locked out of House without a key?
If you are locked out and have no key because you have lost your keys or locked the keys inside you will require a locksmiths help immediately:
Locked Out with a Broken lock?
If your door lock is broken or damaged, the locksmith will be able to open the door and advise on replacing your broken lock, if necessary they can also help on upgrading your locks.
Locked Out with Key Snapped in Lock
If you have snapped your key in the door lock, the locksmith can remove the snapped key and open the door by opening the lock, removing the broken key, or cutting a new key to fit.
What about getting locked out of your car?
If you consider yourself to be vulnerable in the event of being locked out of your car, I would recommend that you sign up for a emergency service with someone reputable like AA Roadside Assistance.
AA say they reach 90% of breakdowns within the hour and 92% are mobilised at the roadside.
Also, your AA Membership covers you, not the vehicle. You are covered whether you’re the driver or the passenger no matter what car you are in.
AA report that, in most cases they will fix the problem at the roadside and have you safely on your way. They will provide you with expert advice and, if extra support is needed, they will tow your car to the nearest place of safety or repair.
Their roadside services include:
- Testing your battery and organising a replacement if necessary*
- Jump-starting your vehicle
- Getting access to your vehicle if you’re locked out
- Changing your wheel
- Free delivery of fuel if you run out (you pay for the fuel)
- Free temporary side glass replacement*
- Organising a windscreen chip or crack repair*
* Service available in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and most provincial areas.
So there you go. That might be all you need to know. We can all go home.
But wait… what if you’re not covered by AA?
Car Locksmith Services
A good locksmith will be able to provide most, if not all, of the following:
Car Lockout service – Opening cars and other types of vehicles
Murphy’s law says your lockout will happen in the middle of rush hour traffic, on your way to a critical meeting. So its not always easy. Again, being able to call your local locksmith by name and get trusted advice is worth gold. Go and meet them today. Get advice on your home or car – but mainly, get to know them.
Replace lost car keys
You might be lucky enough to be able to easily get a new key from the car dealership you purchased the car from. If you trusted them enough to buy the car you can probably trust them to replace your key. But they can be expensive.
The good thing is you don’t need your original key for your local locksmith to make you a new one, although it helps.
Duplicate car keys
To make a duplicate car key you need the original key. Your locksmith has special machinery to make this a quick and simple process in most cases.
Keys locked in the boot of your car
Yes, your locksmith can open the boot of your car. A standard car lockout will take around 5 minutes for our locksmiths to solve.
Broken key extractions – Removal of broken car keys
United Locksmiths state that, if the key piece is close enough to the point where it can be extracted without damaging any other components of the ignition, then your locksmith should be able to help you remove them from the ignition without giving you any reason to replace the ignition.
However, if they broke off in the ignition while there was a lot of force being applied, there may have been some internal damage to the ignition that will call for it to be replaced.
A transponder key is a car key that has a transponder chip inside of it. This is an additional security measure meant to increase the levels of proper user verification. The chip gives off a signal that communicates with your car’s transceiver. The transceiver is looking for the correct signal, so if there is no signal or the incorrect signal, the car will not start.
Your locksmith will be able to check to see if your car key uses a transponder chip, and complete the transponder key programming for you.
Ignition Cylinder Replacement Services
The ignition cylinder in your car can wear out, as well as the wafers inside the lock. Due to this wear, your key will no longer be able to move the wafers inside the cylinder to the correct height.
If the cylinder can be repaired, then your locksmith will do that for you instead of a replacement.
If it needs to be replaced, it will take about 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the exact make and model of a car.
Remember Tip #1!
If you don’t remember anything else from this article, remember Tip #1.
Go and meet your local locksmith and start a relationship.
Go and meet 2 or 3 so you can get a feel for which one suits you best.
In fact, I covered 5 Tips on How to Find a Trustworthy Locksmith in a recent article. So check it out.
Next week, Alarm Monitoring.
What is it and is it worth the price? Talk again soon!