It happens to even the best of men, sometime women: suddenly finding yourself locked out of your car because, one, you left the keys still stuck in the ignition before you locked the car or, two, you misplaced the car keys and have no idea where to start looking for them. It is a pesky situation that can be solved in two ways. One is to retrieve the spare car keys. If that is not possible – for example, the spare is in your home three hours away – then you can call in the services of a car locksmith.
Locksmiths, by definition, are skilled individuals who shape metals into locks and keys, thereby creating a lock-and-key system, and/or who are trained to defeat locks. Automotive locksmiths can manually trick locks by making a duplicate key. While locksmiths traditionally worked with metals solely, the proliferation of electronically controlled transponder keys for car security systems has also led some locksmiths to become adept in electronic locks.
It is always helpful to have the contact information of a great car locksmith, whether it is an individual or an institution. Even before a lock-out situation happens, carefully select a locksmith that can competently and quickly bail you out of any problems you might encounter with your car’s lock mechanism. Make sure that you have locksmiths that you can call anytime, and that they operate around your home, your workplace and/or places that you frequent. The same preparation should be done when you are traveling: scout the areas where you will be traveling for a good locksmith who you can call 24/7 just in case there are emergencies.
To select the right locksmith, start with thorough research. The Internet, as well as the yellow pages on your directory, is teeming with information on individual, commercial, mobile and institutional locksmiths on call. Websites and trade pages usually include the specialization, service rates, guarantees, professional license data, and contact details of each active locksmith. From your research, create a tentative list of locksmiths that interest you.
Next, compare the locksmiths on your list to a checklist of qualities that a great locksmith must possess, as listed below:
– Availability all day, all week including weekends and holidays. You never know when you’ll meet with your car emergency, and your locksmith must be available whenever this might happen. The locksmith must also have a reasonably quick response time. It helps, of course, if your locksmith is based in the general vicinity of your area.
– Breadth and depth of knowledge about locks and an enviable list of skills. Otherwise, the locksmith must at least specialize in the kind of lock that is used in your automobile system. If your car requires a transponder key to release the locks, make sure that the locksmith is also qualified to manipulate electronic key systems.
– Professional licenses and trade association memberships and affiliations of the locksmith. These are needed to guarantee the locksmith’s competency as well as to ensure that you are protected by state and locksmiths’ association rules and regulations.
– Also check their service rates and work guarantees.
Once you have chosen a locksmith or locksmiths (for various locations), save their contact information immediately!