Getting locked out of a car seems to happen at the least convenient time. In Murphy’s law, anything that can go awry will, and invariably at the wrong time. And so it is with being locked out of a vehicle. Automotive locksmiths are used to being called out in a hurry. Motorists lock themselves out at the most inconvenient times
In just one year, the AAA helped 4 million motorists who had inadvertently locked themselves out of their cars. Getting into cars though, is just one aspect of an automotive locksmith’s role.
What do automotive locksmiths do?
A major part of an automotive locksmith’s job is to get into cars. With millions of people locking their keys inside their vehicles each year, this is a popular service. However, automotive locksmiths do more than just get into vehicles, and they help motorists in several ways.
- Get into cars
- Replace locks
- Remove broken keys
- Program responder keys
- Duplicate keys including transponders
- Replace and mend ignitions
Nearly all new cars are made with keyless ignitions and entry systems now. But, there are many older models on the road that still use traditional keys. Even when a locked vehicle has a keyless entry system, an automotive locksmith can gain access.
Automotive locksmiths use transponder programming tools to get into cars where drives are locked out. One benefit of using automotive locksmiths is that they have to move with the times to remain valid.
How do you find an emergency automotive locksmith?
Most emergency locksmiths have services for automobile owners too. If a person locks themselves out of their vehicle, time is usually critical. Therefore, choosing the best emergency locksmith usually means going local.
Head to Google and search for automotive locksmiths in your area. This will bring up a number of results for you to compare. For example, if you are in Oregon your search might result in Locksmith Plus Inc. In Portland OR as they have automotive lock services.
If you have time, compare a few automotive locksmiths and ensure they can assist you.
Look for the following:
- Call out times
- Call out charge
- Reviews (if you have time)
- Available services
Some of the best automotive locksmiths are completely transparent. Reviews are visible, prices clearly displayed, and suburbs or areas that are serviced will be shown.
Good emergency automotive locksmiths understand that you need help quickly. Therefore, their website will be designed to display all the information you need.
When should you use a professional automotive locksmith?
An automotive locksmith should be called in many circumstances. Damaged ignitions and broken keys stuck in locks are two common reasons to use an automotive locksmith.
Typical causes for calling out an automotive locksmith include:
- Broken key in a lock
- Damaged ignition
- Keys locked inside the vehicle
- After a break-in
- After a car is recovered from a robbery
- Lost or stolen keys
- Malfunctioning locks
Older-style ignitions may get damaged during a robbery, or door locks might be broken during the theft also. An automotive locksmith can repair or replace damaged locks so that the vehicle can be locked again.
Car theft is a major reason to call an automotive locksmith. Data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau show that 932,329 vehicles were reported stolen in 2021. This represented a 6% rise from the previous year and a 17% rise on 2019’s figures.
Incidentally, motorists also need to be aware of car part theft. Catalytic converter theft was up 540% in 2022. Automotive locksmiths may be able to advise on increasing home security and how to keep your car safer.
Why shouldn’t you DIY your vehicle lock problem?
With the cost of living crisis and day-to-day expenses rising, it is tempting to fix problems through DIY. Millions of DIY enthusiasts exist in the US, and they are competent enough to fix simple plumbing jobs and repairs around the home.
However, trying to break into a vehicle without the necessary skills and tools could lead to costly repairs. One common way to gain entry in older vehicles is to jimmy the lock. This involves putting a suitable thin length of metal down the side of the window to force the lock to open.
One of the more popular automobile hacks used to be to use a wire hanger to pop a car lock. Yet, improper use of a jimmy can result in damage and expense.
Popping a car door lock risks damaging the areas around the mechanism. This could lead to a broken car window, door handles, window seals, or the lock mechanism itself. The average car window replacement costs between $250 and $325 according to some estimates. A cracked window might cost more than calling out an approved locksmith.
Benefits of using an automotive locksmith
New vehicles usually come with some form of breakdown assistance. Roadside assistance can be called for breakdowns. And in some circumstances, a breakdown service may help a driver who is locked out too.
For drivers who don’t have free roadside assistance to call upon, the best option is a professional automotive locksmith. Choosing a local automotive locksmith will result in a quick call-out, and your problem being addressed swiftly.
And when automotive locksmiths are used, they bring certain gains.
Experience with a wide array of vehicles
Lack of experience is why many DIY enthusiasts fail when professionals succeed. Automotive locksmiths are knowledgeable about a vast range of vehicles. They spend every day attending to cars that have lock issues.
Locksmiths have the right tools for the task
Unlike the average motorist, an automotive locksmith has the correct tools and equipment to access vehicles. Instead of relying on a coat hanger, a professional locksmith has the proper tools to get into vehicles without damaging them.
Automotive locksmiths have insurance
Professional liability insurance covers automotive locksmiths against accidental damage. If you damage your door or paintwork trying to force entry to your car, you will be liable for the repair work. However, if an automotive locksmith damages your vehicle, they will carry out repairs for free.
Some automotive locksmiths may be able to help you claim on your insurance policy too if locksmith services are covered.
Guaranteed work and warranties
Part of any locksmith’s services is replacing locks. New locks and ignitions will come with a warranty. Locksmiths usually guarantee their work to some degree. Any problem with replacement locks during the warranty period should result in a new one being fitted for free.
You may save money with an automotive locksmith
One reason why people balk at calling out tradesmen is the cost. Yet, going to a dealership to get a car lock replaced could cost nearly three times as much as using an automotive locksmith.
The cost of a replacement lock from an automotive locksmith could be up to $220. But, a dealership might charge as much as $600 for the same work.
Perhaps the main benefit of automotive locksmiths is that they will get you in your car quickly. Using professional locksmith services means avoiding hacks that could damage locks further or scratch paintwork.
Emergency automotive locksmiths understand the need for urgency. An automotive locksmith will be capable and experienced at getting into cars. Automotive locksmiths can replace keys and program transponders too. And an automotive locksmith may even save you money.