Lock Smith 101

   What is rekeying?

Rekeying, or re-pinning, is when a locksmith adjusts the tumblers and pins in a lock’s cylinder so it no longer works for the original key.  The locksmith will give you a new key for a rekeyed lock.  Rekeying is useful because it is usually cheaper and easier than completely changing locks.

Should I rekey my locks or change them?

If an authorized person has a key to your lock (such as a previous tenant), then you may want to rekey or change your locks.  Rekeying is usually cheaper because you only adjust the tumblers and pins in the lock but don’t need a completely new locking mechanism.  Not all locks can be rekeyed though and they must be rekeyed by a skilled locksmith.  If you know how to change locks yourself, then it may be cheaper to change the locks instead of rekeying.  Putting in new locks is also better in cases where the lock is worn out.

Do locksmiths have to be licensed?

Nine states require locksmiths to be licensed: Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. If you live in one of these states, you should ask to see your locksmith’s license when he/she arrives.  Other states have different laws about certification and registration for locksmiths.  Many do not have any requirements for someone to work as a locksmith so it is up to you to make sure you are picking a skilled, reputable locksmith for the job.

What is locksmith insurance?

Locks are very important for our home and auto security.  If a locksmith makes a mistake which leads to theft or other damages, he could be held liable. For this reason, many locksmiths choose to have insurance coverage.  Locksmith insurance is expensive though so not all locksmiths will have it.  Another option is a bond.  A locksmith bond is like insurance but the bond must be bought in advance and will only cover a limited amount of damages.

What is a key code and when will I need it?

Keys have a code which is usually a four-digit number or a combination of six numbers and letters. This code gives locksmiths information about how to cut it.  For house keys, a key code is usually not necessary for replication but you may need your key code for duplicating car keys, especially if the car key has a transponder in it.

Can a locksmith duplicate “smart keys” for cars?

Some auto locksmiths can duplicate smart keys for cars. They will contact the dealership for information about the transponder code in your key.  Auto locksmiths generally charge less than the dealership for duplicating smart keys.

 

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