Automotive Locksmith Services
When you think about hiring a locksmith, chances are good that you imagine being locked out of your home or business. Yes, a locksmith can help in these instances. However, they can also provide a lot of benefits for car owners. How might such a professional help vehicle owners, though? Below, we’ll run through some of the most important automotive locksmith services, and how they might be of value to you.
Help in a Lockout Situation
We’ll start with what is probably the most obvious service available to car owners. Like being locked out of the home or office, most of us have been here before. You park your car, throw your keys in your purse, and then get distracted by a phone call. Without really thinking about it, you get out of the car, lock the door and close it. By the time you realize your error, it’s too late – the door slams shut, with your keys and purse inside. You’re locked out. A locksmith can make short work of the issue, though, getting you back on the road in no time.
Things go missing. We’ve all forgotten where we put our keys from time to time, and while we generally find them pretty quickly, there are cases where a lost key is lost for good. It might have slipped from your hand and been lost in mud, or under water. It could have been stolen along with your purse. There are any number of reasons for a car key to go missing. An auto locksmith can replace that key quickly and easily.
Cutting Additional Keys
In most cases, buying a car means that you also get two keys to the vehicle. However, that’s not always the case, particularly when buying a used car. If you only received a single key to your car when you bought it, you’ll quickly find that it’s more than a little inconvenient, and that you need an additional key. You may also decide that you need an additional key down the road, based on your family and lifestyle – you might have a child who is of driving age, who needs their own key, for instance. In these cases, you can take the car to a dealership and pay a premium to have a new key cut, or you can call an auto locksmith, who will charge you less, and actually come to your location to cut the keys.
Programming Keys and Fobs
Vehicles have evolved a great deal from what they once were. Today’s cars are as much computers as they are automotive technology, and that is nowhere more apparent than with the ignition system. Keys to today’s cars are not just keys. They’re built with microchips inside them to help prevent theft, and to assist with driver identification. This is good news for many people, but it’s bad news for replacing keys.
Because of the greater level of technology within them, you cannot simply cut a new key for it the way you could years ago. Today’s keys need to be cut and then programmed, which is not something that can be done at your local hardware store with their key cutting station. You can visit a dealership and pay their premium, or you can have an auto locksmith cut and program the key. They can also program new key fobs for you.
Your car’s ignition system is central to its drivability. If the ignition is not working properly, then no amount of twisting the key is going to help. Ignitions can be damaged by any number of things, as well.
For instance, today’s ignition systems are both mechanical and electronic. The mechanical portion of the ignition accepts the blade of the key, with the tumblers lining up to match the notches and curves in the blade. This in and out action slowly wears away at the interior of the ignition. Heavy use (lots of cranking) will hasten the demise if your ignition, too. Eventually, you’ll be left with a car that won’t crank, even though you’re using the right key and the key is programmed to your car. An auto locksmith can replace the mechanical portion of your ignition to ensure that you don’t have to worry about this.
Another example here is the electronic portion of the ignition – the switch itself. This is an electronic sensor that determines the presence of the correct key in the ignition, and then sends the signal to the car’s starter, thus cranking the engine. Like all electronics, the ignition switch is susceptible to wear and tear, and will eventually fail. An auto locksmith can replace the switch when it goes bad, allowing you to get back on the road.
A smart driver locks their car when they get out, whether that’s in their driveway, or in the parking lot at the office or at a store. Thieves are prepared for this, and will try to break in anyway. This can cause serious damage to the lock, up to the point that it cannot be unlocked with your key. There’s also the fact that locks can be damaged over time through exposure to the elements – ice, water, road salt and the like can really do a number on car door and trunk locks given just a bit of time and no maintenance.
In this case, the only remedy is to have the lock replaced. Again, you can work with a dealership, but their rates are notoriously high. Plus, there’s the fact that you still need to drive to the dealership. An auto locksmith can professionally replace the lock right where you are.
As you can see, there are quite a few instances in which working with a professional automotive locksmith can be not only a good idea, but an essential step. Do your research beforehand and have a trusted locksmith’s contact information on hand for these emergencies.