CHOOSING A LOCKSMITH

A lock fails, you are locked out or have lost your keys. You go into panic mode and search for help. Years ago a phonebook was used primarily to find a locksmith. Today almost everyone is using their smartphone to search for help. What used to be an actual search engine has turned into a jungle no different than walking through a seedy section of town after dark, carrying a wad of money in your hand. Scam Artists from foriegn countries, mostly Isreal, are posing as a local locksmith company.

They lure you in with a cheap price in the ad or all kinds of claims for discounts. In reality, they will only damage your locks and charge you an excessive amount. Many unsuspecting consumers have been charge thoushands of dollars for a service that should have only been close to one huundred dollars. Yes the ad said $15 lockout service, but that was only for the service call.

Reputable locksmiths will qoute you the total price after asking numerous questions. Ask for the total and the worst case scenario price and let them know that you are holding them to this.  These scammers send out undocumented Foriegn workers, who they know will appear as middle east terrorists. These workers are from isreal and most have come here after serving in the military. They will threaten you with bodily harm if you do not pay them. The number you called  has connected you to some far away place where the mastermind has call takers who sound just like you or me. Demand to talk to the locksmith who is coming out, before he comes and again go over the price. I am sure that there are legitimate locksmiths who have legaly immigrated here from the middle east and provide excellent service, but be very cautios when dealing with someone who sounds like something may no be proper.

I require my locksmiths to call the customer before they head out and they are required to qoute the price again. This protects both my company and the customer. Many customers have a hard time understanding why I will not send someone out unless they can call the customer and talk to them first.

The Scammers usually use generic names like Always in Service or All Hours. They also frequently use numerous city names with the word locksmith like Erie Locksmith. There are legitimate locksmiths who do name their business after the town they are in, so do not rule out one of these. If you see a whole list towns with locksmith after the city name on a search engine you have probably found a scammer.

If the locksmith shows up with a large prybar, drill or a pipewrench be cautious. Almost all locks can be opened without destroying the lock, unless the lock has failed. Some locks that have not been used for quite some time or ones full of dirt may also require drilling.

Most search engines have now turned into paid advertising sites. The ads are very expensive and cost $60 and up per click, making them unaffordable for legitimate locksmiths. If someone has to pay $60+ for everyone that clicks on their ad, they are going to have to charge you a very high price.

You can also look for a trademarked name like POPaLock or Dr Auto Lock, but you should not rule out not so well-known names. The safest bet is to use a phone book or a referral from someone you know.

When your ignition lock won’t turn.

You have inserted your ignition key into the lock, but it will not turn. Before you call a Professional Automotive Locksmith, there are several things to try. First make sure that it is not a locked steering wheel by turning the wheel from side to side while trying to gently turn the key. It may help to have someone else rock the steering wheel back and forth from left to right while you try to operate the lock.

If that does not work, insert some good solid silicone lubricant into the lock. WD40 will work in an emergency, but it has a solvent base and will dry the lock out after time. Do not use graphite unless you never wear clean clothes or keep your hands clean. I call graphite the black plague. After applying a generous amount of lubricant, insert the key and tap on it gently with the handle of a screwdriver. Caution must be used, especially if your key has a remote integrated into the head of it or a transponder inside.

If it is extremely cold, try blowing hot air into the lock with a hair dryer. You can also heat the tip of key with a lighter but be very careful not to touch the metal that you have just heated.

If none of the above works, it is time to call a professional automotive locksmith. If one is not available, you can have the car towed to a dealer or repair shop. If your car is a Ford, particularly a Focus, the lock has probably failed and needs replaced with one that will operate with your original key. If your vehicle was produced by Chrysler it may be possible to clean it after disassembling the lock, but I have found that this is a short-term cure and the problem will happen again. Replacement with a new lock is the proper solution. If you have a G.M.vehicle it may be possible to clean it out by flushing with a good cleaner, but replacement may be required if that does not work. Again, never replace a lock with one that does not operate with the original key. Most cars have transponders in the head of the key and reprogramming will be required. Your vehicle was designed to operate with only one key and that system should be maintained. Demand that your mechanic obtain a lock from a professional automotive locksmith or a new car dealer.

If you own a foreign vehicle produced by an Asian company like Honda or Toyota, demand that your lock be rebuilt by a professional automotive locksmith. Even if the lock must be replaced due to damage, demand that a professional automotive locksmith rekey the new lock to operate with the original lock.

Aftermarket locks sold by auto parts stores are generally not rekeyable nor of the same quality as the OEM lock. Sometimes they will carry locks produced by a OEM manufacturer, but they will need to be rekeyed. Dr Auto Lock only uses locks that are manufactured by the OEM supplier. Demand only the best parts be used in the repair of your vehicle. Inferior locks cost more in the long run and that is a fact.