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.

Ignition lock failures and proper repair methods.

FAILED HONDA WAFERS
FAILED HONDA WAFERS
INTACT HONDA WAFERS
INTACT HONDA WAFERS

Modern ignition locks have become more complex and this has led to increased failure occurrences. Ford Focus’s, Honda’s, Toyota’s, Chrysler and GM locks may experience failures due to many causes such as wear, poor design and small amounts of foreign debris being inadvertently¬†inserted into the lock. Most failures result in the lock failing to operate with the proper key and require replacement or rebuilding.

Maintaining the use of the original key is extremely important. Most vehicles are now designed to use the same key for the ignition lock as well as other locks such as the trunk. When all keys are lost, a professional can obtain the original key code or use a door or trunk lock to generate a key. When locks using different keys are used to replace an existing ignition lock, a real problem is created, requiring the replacement of the lock when keys are lost. Locks that have failed should only be repaired by a professional automotive locksmith or a new car dealer that has the ability to code the new lock properly to match the original key. Many Asian auto makers only supply replacement locks that do not match the original keys. In this case it is very important to require the service provider have the new lock rekeyed to match the original key, by a competant automotive locksmith.

Most Honda, Toyota and other Asian vehicles are simpler to rebuild than replace do to the fact that easily rekeyed replacement locks are not available. Most Toyota failures occur from their use of split wafers, which I recommend be removed. Honda locks using a milled key instead of the older keys that can be cut on the same type of machine that cuts and duplicates common keys such as your house key, have split wafers that have been designed with a very fragile tip that is actuated by the key. These small tips, about the size of a large pin head can easily be broken off or deformed by a worn key or by forcing a key into a unlubricated lock.

Chrysler, Ford and G.M. locks that we use are produced by the same company that supplies the original manufacturer and we purchased them unkeyed so they can be matched to the original keys. Ford Focus locks had a severe design flaw and we replace those with a new lock utilizing a far stronger and reliable design. The same is true of some G.M. locks that were originally supplied by German or Asian companies, and they are replaced by an improved design lock.

Never use a replacement lock from an auto parts store. Only purchase a replacement lock from a professional automotive locksmith or new car dealer that can key the new lock to match the original key. I have encountered numerous aftermarket locks that have failed or the keys have been lost. Most of these locks are very inferior in material, design and security.

It is very important to use a professional automotive locksmith or new car dealer parts when replacing a lock. Not all locksmiths are competent to service vehicle locks. Vehicle locks and keys comprise the most complex devices that locksmiths service. Most commercial and residential locks are fairly easy to service but automotive lock servicing requires a very high knowledge of auto body service as well as steering column and interior panel removal. I have seen thousands of dollars in damage done by unskilled locksmiths and service techs that lacked the proper knowledge to service the locks.