How to Avoid the Need for an Automotive Locksmith
Automotive locksmiths provide essential solutions for drivers who have locked their keys in the car, or are otherwise locked out of their vehicle. There’s a lot of peace of mind to be found in the realization that help is just a phone call away if you need it. Of course, it would be nice not to need an automotive locksmith in the first place.
How do you avoid that need, though? What can you do to prevent yourself from being faced with the need to call a pro to come open your car door? Actually, it really comes down to making sure that you keep your car, car door locks, and car key in good condition. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know.
Care Car Tips and Tricks
One of the most important considerations when it comes to avoiding the need to call an automotive locksmith is to take good care of your car. Neglected cars suffer damage, and that includes to the door locks, door handles and other hardware needed to enter and exit the vehicle. What should you know here?
Covered Parking – While your car is designed to last for years with exposure to the harsh elements, there’s no point in taking chances. Park your car somewhere under cover. Ideally, this would be inside your garage. There are a couple of benefits to this.
First, the less exposure your car has to the elements (and your door locks, by extension), the less chance there is of corrosion causing damage to those locks and gumming up the works.
Second, if you leave your car in your garage, but lock the garage door, you can leave the car door unlocked, meaning that you don’t have to worry that the lock will jam and prevent you from getting into the car.
Third, realize that parking under cover or in the garage will help prevent seasonal problems from affecting your door locks. For instance, during the winter in areas prone to freezing temperatures, sleet, snow and freezing rain can mean that it is impossible to even get your key into the door lock, much less open the door.
Fourth, pay attention to the care and condition of your door locks. These should be cleaned and lubricated regularly. To clean a door lock, you really don’t need to do much – commercial lock cleaner can be found in most hardware stores in a spray can. A gentle spray once or twice a year will help keep your locks protected and working smoothly.
Finally, make sure that you provide regular maintenance for the rest of your door’s hardware. The moving parts should be lubricated properly on a regular basis. Generally, this means applying high-temp grease to the latch, or possibly using a product like WD-40 to lubricate and protect moving parts so that they do not corrode.
Car Key Tips
There are a couple of critical items to being able to get into the car. One of those is obviously the lock on the door. The others are the door handle, the door latch, and the key itself. You need to use care with these items, particularly the car key. There are quite a few things that you might be doing with your car key that may shorten its lifespan and mean that you need to call a locksmith to let you into your car. What should you do to use your key correctly?
The first thing is to use the key gently. Be easy with it – don’t jam it into the lock hard, don’t twist it savagely, and never use it for anything other than opening your car door or cranking the engine. Be careful with the key – it takes very little to snap off the blade (the part of the key that actually enters the lock).
Second, you need to ensure that you always keep your key in your pocket, or in your purse. It should never be tossed around in your hand, or left in an unprotected area. Anything with any weight, dropped from sufficient height, can bend or break the blade of your key.
Third, consider using your remote, rather than your key. Keys are made of metal, and no matter how gentle you are, they experience wear and tear with every single use. Over time, this thins out the metal and makes your key more susceptible to damage. By using your remote to lock and unlock your car, you avoid unnecessary wear and tear and lengthen the key’s lifespan. Of course, you also need to ensure that you keep fresh batteries in the remote, or you won’t be able to use it.
Finally, never use your key for anything other than entering the car and cranking the engine. It is not a prying tool, nor is it a screwdriver. It should not be used as an icepick, or put to any other purpose. Every time you use your car key for something it wasn’t intended to do, you increase the risk that the blade will break.
Note that keeping a copy of your key somewhere else is a good idea, but make sure that you only make copies from an original. Errors can occur during the copying process, and copying from a copy can increase those errors to the point that the key doesn’t work in your door locks or your ignition.
Have a Locksmith’s Information Handy
No matter how careful you are, accidents have a way of happening. While you can do a lot to decrease the chances that you’ll need to call an automotive locksmith, you cannot afford not to know who to call when an emergency strikes. Ideally, you’ll have the name and number of a trusted mobile locksmith programmed into your cell phone, so that help is just a phone call away. Make sure to record that information in other places, too – carry a business card in your wallet, or purse, for instance, so that you always have it close at hand.