By Charlie Brown
Many people wonder why they should at all keep their locksmith’s number saved on their phones.
Most of them understand why after they realize that they have misplaced their car keys after a wild night of partying or simply because their dog buried them in the yard somewhere. Having an automobile locksmith on your speed dial can save you a lot of hassle and a lot of money; not to mention, it can save your day too!
Most of us never even realize how precious our car keys are until we lose them.
What are we but couch potatoes without our cars? Once we have lost access to our vehicles, it is as if someone has robbed us of our right to move around freely. Uber is just not the same as driving your own car around, picking up your friends and heading to the concert next town.
The sad fact is that car key replacement, especially the smart ones, can be costly.
You can forget the next Zara sale too as it can be that expensive, but only if you do not have the contact of the right locksmith.
Let’s see what you can do to assist the process of the replacement –
Step 1: what’s your car’s VIN number? If you are working with a licensed locksmith who follows all the correct protocols, you need to provide your vehicle’s VIN. That goes for all kinds of vehicles. You can find the series of numbers on the driver’s side of the dashboard. You can easily see it through the window (you do not have to get in; we know you lost your keys!). If you cannot see it there, look on the rear wheel well or the door jam. You can also find it between the carburetor and the windshield washer. The location depends on the model of your car.
Step 2:What is the model? Since we are already at the year, make and model, you might as well write it down. If you are unsure, you will find it in the dealer’s papers or the registration papers of your car. Each model has a unique key based on its production year. The locksmith needs to know the very specifics to design the correct set of keys for you.
Step 3: call the locksmith: Well, that was obvious! After you call the office, ask about their experience in making car keys for the model and year of your vehicle. Mention to them if you had any extra security feature running side by side. They will visit your car (most of them do this visit for free), unlock it with locksmith magic, and proceed to make the key.
Why should you not go to the manufacturer or the dealer? Most basic insurance policies do not cover the loss or damage of a vehicle key. You may end up paying anything around and above $200 for a new set of keys to your manufacturer or dealer in most states of the USA. The cost also varies from state to state and between manufacturers.
We know people, who have had to pay close to $600 for a set of new keys.
Can local hardware stores help? If you are trying to make a copy of a key you already have, yes, they can help. If you have lost your only copy of the key, the hardware stores cannot assist you. Hardware stores can mostly just copy the keys and not make them from scratch without a “template.”
Can a locksmith help you make a key fob? The complete process depends on how sophisticated the key set was. Some keys are as simple as cupboard keys, especially the keys to older models of a Buick or a Contessa. Even modern minivans have some form of remote technology to secure child-lock from at least 100 meters distance.
A good locksmith should be able to help you reprogram the new key fob according to your specifications.
If you want it to be identical to the old key that you have misplaced, bring any paper you have associated with the vehicle or the key. Many modern cars need specialized software and equipment to program these keys. Most locksmiths, who come highly recommended on Yelp, have the necessary training and the technology.
How much can a reliable locksmith cost? The cost of losing keys will depend on where you are seeking help. A good pair of hands can charge you between $50 to $120 based on your car model, urgency, specific details of requirement and more. That also depends on your locality and state. Costs of locksmith services are usually dependent on many factors.
However, they almost always charge only a fraction of what your manufacturer or dealer would charge you for spare keys.
Losing keys can be really stressful. It becomes intolerable when you have a long drive planned or kids to pick up from swim class. That is why you should keep your locksmith on speed dial to bid goodbye to your car-woes and not make your personal savings cry in the process!