A mobile locksmith can be your best friend in an emergency. Here is a review of some of the services such locksmiths perform and advice on how to find an honest local business:
When to Call a Mobile Locksmith
Mobile locksmiths can fix or open locks for homes, offices, businesses and cars. They can also replace keys and change locks for security reasons.
1. Replacing Car Keys in an Emergency
If your car key is lost or broken while on the road, you need to call a mobile locksmith. If your key is just locked inside the car, a commercial locksmith can open your car doors, but so can roadside assistance providers.
Mobile locksmiths can make new keys and deliver them in an emergency. A 24-hour mobile service can provide you with replacement keys for most makes or models at any hour.
2. Fixing an Ignition Switch
If you're stuck on the side of the road because your key won't turn in the ignition, you may require a mobile locksmith's services.
If your key won't fit in the slot or you are unable to turn it, don't force it or you could cause more damage. A 24-hour emergency locksmith can fix the ignition switch in your vehicle.
3. Working with Modern Auto Keys
Certain keys have new technology that makes duplication difficult. Transponder keys have a chip in the unit that communicates with the vehicle. The chip must be functioning or the car won't start.
Mobile locksmiths can replace most modern keys. Edmunds, a car information site, says commercial locksmiths have machines capable of programming keys for modern vehicles. In an emergency, they can create a new key and chip. They are also useful in non-emergency situations, as they usually charge less than auto dealers for replacement keys.
Keep in mind, however, that some smart keys cannot be copied by anyone but the dealer. You have to find a local mobile locksmith that is ready to deal with your specific vehicle's needs.
4. Locked Out of Home
Home keys are much easier to replace. Any local hardware store can make a cheap replacement key. If your key breaks or you're locked out in the middle of the night, however, you need a 24-hour mobile locksmith who will show up at your door.
Before you call a locksmith, make sure it is an emergency. Be certain there's no other way in. You should keep an emergency key hidden by your front entrance or a set of keys with a neighbor or close friend. A 24-hour locksmith will charge for every visit, even if they discover the door was unlocked.
5. Need Keys for Apartment or Office
Keys and locks that dictate access for more than one person can be tricky. Apartment or office buildings usually have more than one entrance and you need to find a mobile locksmith that can deal with every one of them in an emergency.
Apartment Guide says some mobile locksmiths are unwilling or unable to service security doors for apartment buildings. You should check to see if the facility has a maintenance worker who can provide keys or fix locks first. When you call a local locksmith, tell them exactly how many doors they will be working with and who has keys for the lock.
If a mobile locksmith performs the service, they will ask you for identification to make sure you should be provided access to the building. Some mobile locksmiths will accept an address on a license or business ID, but you should check before they arrive.
Even in an emergency, you want to make sure the 24-hour business performs quality work, as you could be charged for any damages to the lock by your landlord or company. A competent commercial locksmith should always try picking the lock before they take out a drill or other tool to replace it.
How to Compare Services Over the Phone
You should have a local locksmith picked out and saved in your phone for emergencies. If you're locked out or lose your keys and haven't done your research, there are a few steps you should take to find an honest mobile locksmith.
When searching for services online, you want to find a mobile locksmith available around the clock that advertises a local address. The Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to check the address of commercial locksmiths on a smartphone or map to make sure it's real. You should also ask for the local locksmith's business name. Any specific details they can give about their business or services is a good sign, as scams tend to be vague.
Ask the mobile locksmith to quote a price over the phone. You should also ask for any additional emergency fees that may apply. Give specific details about your problem, your keys and your vehicle or building so the locksmith has a chance to quote you an honest price.
As soon as the mobile locksmith arrives, ask them to get the price in writing before they perform any services. If during the course of their service they need to change tactics, ask the locksmith to check with you before taking costly actions like breaking the lock or creating more keys.
To be a smart consumer, you need to be informed and ready for any emergencies that call for a mobile locksmith.