Why call a Kansas City Locksmith?
Many people hear ‘locksmith’ and immediately think of being locked out of their car or house. That is a reasonable response but lock outs are a very small portion of what a Kansas City locksmith can do for you. Here are a few things your locksmith does that can save you big money and most importantly, time.
1. Your Kansas City Locksmith does Lock Re-Keying
Re-keying means a professional will make your existing locks no longer work on the current key, and instead work on a completely new one. What is the first thing you do when purchasing a new property or firing an employee? I’ll give you a hint: Re-Key Your Locks. Because you never know who still has a key. Also there are lots of people that have the same key to their home they did 10 years ago. From a security stand point that is a BIG no-no! Chances are the longer you go without re-keying your locks the more keys are out there floating around unaccounted for. Keys you lose or loan out are a big potential for major theft and a good rule of thumb is re-keying your home every 5 years or so.
Of the hundreds of calls we receive a week, many are re-key jobs. Those re-key job calls don’t always start as such. Many of those calls are people requesting new locks installed in their homes or businesses. New locks are costly, and usually come with installation fees. Re-keying locks is the most cost effective way to limit access to your home or business. There are three reasons you would need to replace the locks instead of simply re-keying them.
- You no longer like the look of the locks.
- Your locks are damaged beyond repair.
- You are looking to upgrade to a High Security Lock system.
2. Have a Kansas City Locksmith Cut Your Keys So They’ll Work… The First Time!
I can’t tell you how many times a day a customer tells me a story about getting keys cut at hardware stores. The stories always end the same way… With Failure. People get 6 keys cut in hopes that 1 will work, I’ve heard it a hundred times! It’s sad really. Not only do the keys not usually work, it also takes about 15 minutes to find someone that can work the key machine and cut that bad key! This is normal for people?!?
At our shop, we cut keys ACCURATELY the first time and it usually takes less than a couple of minutes. Locksmiths are trained to identify hundreds of keys by sight and can typically stop potential key problems from the get go. It doesn’t matter if your key is bent, worn out, or even broken in half! Your Kansas City Locksmith can accurately duplicate your keys.
3. Protect Your Valuables From Theft and Fire
Safes are more than heavy boxes with fancy locks, they’re what matters most in the event of a fire or burglary. Not all safes are created equally and most lock boxes you see in sporting goods stores are nothing more than sheet metal tool boxes. A real safe is rated to withstand burglars with drills and house fires. Nobody in town knows safes better than your Kansas City Locksmith, and most can even move them inside your house for you too!
Fire safes NEED to have a legitimate fire rating you can investigate. The cheap fire boxes you see in big box stores are poorly rated and easily opened. In most cases the locks are not rated for attempted burglary at all. Did you know that in most cases they’re only rated enough to keep the door closed in the event it falls over! Why pay anything for FALSE security? If your house catches fire saving a few bucks wont console you when the contents of your ‘safe’ are charred to a crisp.
Burglary safes NEED to be the real deal as well. Just because the tag says ‘safe’ on it doesn’t mean the things inside are actually safe. After watching actual pry tests and opening several cheap safes easily with screwdrivers, I cant stress how much you need to do the research! You’re buying that safe to keep your valuables in your possession right? Why skimp on the price only to lose everything? A real burglary safe will be rated in a time rating like TL-15 or a TL-30. This means that it will keep a person that knows what they’re doing outside of your safe for either 15 or 30 minutes. If the person is your typical snatch and grab criminal, it will keep them out. Your average home burglary is over in less than 5 minutes according to the this report and chances are if they see a real safe they won’t waste too much of that time on opening it if it’s well made.
There may be more than a hundred reasons to call a Kansas City Locksmith but one simple fact remains: If any one of them come up, We’re here when you need us.
A wallet friendly look at what we can all do to better secure our homes.
When we think of home security we immediately think of locks and keys. Properly installed locks should be the first step in securing most anything, but there is a lot more to security than locks alone. Making something secure can involve anything from lights to trimming your hedges. Here is a list of ideas to make your home more secure when you already have your doors locked.
- Shatter resistant window films. Very cheap and effective.
- Don’t keep ladders outside the home. Ladders can let burglars into less guarded second story windows.
- A barking dog can deter criminals. Noise draws attention and that’s exactly what burglars don’t want.
- Trim back large bushes growing next to your home. This allows criminals to hide for extended periods of time with less chance of being spotted.
- When you park your car in your garage at night, make sure it’s locked and the alarm is set.
- Remove the release cord on your electric garage door opener. By disengaging the opener the door can be lifted by hand, which is what you don’t want them doing.
- Planting thorny shrubs or rosebushes outside of your home can deter criminals.
- Placing alarm-company signs, neighborhood-watch stickers, or ‘beware of dog’ notices can deter crime, but will only really help you if you have the real deal to back it up.
- Keep all points of entry to your home well-lit. Consider installing motion-sensor lights on the rear and sides of your home and position them in out-of-reach places.
- Mark your expensive electronics with an ID code. This can be done with invisible ink or an engraver. If your goods get stolen the police can ID your goods faster.
Anything that makes a criminal think twice about robbing you adds to the overall security of your home and doesn’t have to cost a fortune. These security measures won’t stop all criminals but when combined with your layered security system can severely reduce crime.
When most people think of a locksmith they immediately think of an expensive lock repair shop or a way to get into your home or car when you’ve misplaced your keys. Locksmiths can actually do much more than what you think, and although not widely known, locksmiths fit more into your life than you would think.
Locksmithing is a really diverse career with vast areas of specialties. Many of the locksmiths you will find will do ‘regular’ activities like cutting keys or re-keying locks, but will also specialize in certain areas of the field. No one locksmith can learn everything there is to know about each area of expertise the field will bring, but they can be an authority on one or even several areas. When you combine several locksmiths into a company you will get a greater range of the capabilities the company as a whole can do. Some of the average skills a locksmith can bring to the table is the ability to open locks for you, re-keying or changing the pins in a lock to make your current keys no longer work, cutting keys accurately, and just about any other type of lock maintenance you can drum up.
Specialty areas of the field are vast in and of themselves and generally require lots of time and dedication to learn and become proficient at, not to mention the specialty equipment investment and the constant learning curve of staying current on your knowledge. These reasons usually cause locksmiths to choose a ‘path’ or niche in the field and strive to become a master in it. Large shops usually hire locksmiths based on specialties because they add more to what the shop is capable of doing, and with several people specializing in multiple areas of the industry allows for excellent cross training of the staff.
Some of the specialty areas of the industry include:
- Automotive: Including but not limited to lock repair, chip key programming, and even programming car remotes.
- Residential: Including but not limited to lock repair, installation, re-keying, and security surveys.
- Commercial: Including but not limited to lock repair, installation, re-keying, security surveys, and master key systems.
- Safe Work: Including but not limited to safe repair, combination changes, general safe maintenance, and safe opening.
- Access Control and CCTV: Including but not limited to digital keypad entry systems, swipe and proximity card readers, magnetic door locks, and the installation and maintenance of security cameras and recording devices.
When choosing a locksmith, ask what areas they cover to help better understand the capabilities of that particular business.
How the hype misled the general public
Some time ago there were several reports on lock bumping. Bumping is a way of picking a lock with a specially made key, and the lock industry has been aware of the method for quite some time now.
The Media took the stories and ran with them, making bumping look like it was the criminals’ key to the city so to speak. The truth behind the story is that most criminals simply don’t bump locks. They typically use a more destructive entry method like breaking a window or kicking in the door, because it’s faster and affords them less chance of getting caught.
First things first let’s recognize that one key won’t fit into every lock. There must be hundreds of different types of locks with as many keyways to match, meaning a criminal would have to carry a lot of keys with at least 20 or so common keys, and be able to know which key will fit into your lock. Or stand there while trying them one by one until they had one that fit. Once the key is found you have the problem of noise. Lock bumping sounds like someone knocking on your door – with a hammer – and regardless of what you have seen on TV, not every lock takes one hit to open.
But once the seeds of fear have spread it doesn’t take long to reach the right ears. And as with most people they don’t become security conscience until they or someone near them has been burglarized, lock manufacturers won’t upgrade their design until there is a demand. Now I won’t go as far as to say that lock bumping is a fallacy but it is mostly hype. For my money I’d focus on the materials my locks are made out of before I’d worry about them getting bumped open.
If you’re still concerned about it as I’m sure many people are there are several options to defeat the bump key. The low cost options involve upgrading the pins and springs in your existing locks, and the higher end options are high security locks that deliver you a myriad of additional advantages including bump key protection. For more information contact your local lock shop and ask about bump key protection.
We’ve met all kinds of people from all walks of life, but one thing we have in common: We hate being locked out!
Lockouts are annoying, expensive, unplanned and always happen at the most un-opportune time. Nobody wakes up expecting to be locked out of their car with it running right when you need to get to work. And since they’re un-planned they’re hard to budget for and tend to make your weeks finances a little tight.
The average cost of a lockout will vary depending on your location and what time of day it is, but for simplicity’s sake let’s assume the average lockout price is $50. Before shelling out the money you typically have to wait for the locksmith to arrive, so let’s assume the average waiting time is 25 minutes. That’s almost half an hour out of your day waiting to get into something it normally takes you under a minute to do, AND now it costs you money! Did you know that $50 and 25 minutes could’ve been avoided for as little as around $3, IF you plan ahead?
House Lockouts: You can hide keys outside your home in several ways and some are more secure than others. They way we would recommend securing a key outside your home is a lock key storage container. These can mount directly to your home or even hang from your door knob. The costs of these products can vary by brand but expect to pay around $30-$40 for a good one.
Car Lockouts: Most any car on the market today, even the computer chip key versions have an option for a key that will get you inside your car for a cheaper price. Most “lockout keys” are around$3 for a standard plain metal key- though some may be more. Some of the more popular methods of securing a key to your car are those magnetic key boxes or a Velcro key pouch. These two methods are not without problems however. The magnets don’t adhere well to allow metals and can bounce off with the first sizeable pothole in the road and the adhesive on the Velcro pouches can give way leaving your lockout key in the middle of the street.
How can you secure a key outside your car that won’t fall off?
How about behind the license plate? We have a punch that will poke a hole just large enough to fit your license plate screw. Screwing the key behind the license plate allows you to get in your vehicle by removing the screw with a coin.
One thing to remember about using a lockout key is that you need to put the key back in the spot, or the next time you will be left high and dry. Planning ahead can save you hundreds, prevent future lockouts and will pay for itself several times over with the first use. Now that’s an investment that will pay dividends.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that one lock is as secure as the next. And coming from the standpoint of the consumer, it may look like the only real choices fall into the categories of color, brand and style. The appearance will be a factor but the primary focus of any lock purchase should be: will this protect me, my family and our property? And in that respect some locks don’t cut it. Does it really make since to try to protect your $150,000+ house with a $10 lock?
ANSI (American National Standards Institute)and BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) are two companies that regulate and test lock hardware to verify that the manufactures can live up to their claims with regard to strength and usage (cycle) promises. The companies issue 3 Grade levels: Grade 1 (Heavy Commercial), Grade 2 (Light Commercial/ Heavy Residential) and Grade 3 (Light residential.) The cycle requirements for the Grade 3 status is 200,000, which means it should withstand 200,000 cycles before failure. The Grade 2 requirement is 400,000 cycles and the Grade 1 requirement is 800,000.
Along with the cycle standard there is also a strength standard. The strength standard regulates how much pressure or force the lock is designed to withstand during use before failure. The Grade 3 requirement for a door knob is 120 lbs of force and for a lever set 180 lbs. The Grade 2 knob is 150 lbs and the lever set is 225 lbs. And the Grade 1 knob is 300 lbs and lever set 450 lbs. The strength standards are designed to provide minimum levels of durability to guard against rough usage and vandalism.
Most of the locks sold at hardware stores are of the Grade 3 variety designed for residential use, quite often in a construction version with a part-plastic latch. So even within the Grade rating there is a variance between one Grade 3 and the next. For instance: A lock that’s made out of pot metal could meet the minimum strength and cycle standards. But who wants a lock that fails on the finish line when for a little more you get a Grade 3 lock made out of higher quality metal that can meet and exceed the minimum standards; and look good doing it?
Many locksmiths carry the higher quality locks that will better secure your home or business, and yes they tend to cost a little more. The question isn’t: “Can I afford better locks?” the question should be: “Can I afford not to have them?”
More and more cars are coming out equipped with theft control systems in them. It gives you piece of mind when it’s working for you, but when you need extra copies of your keys it seems like it works against you. With dealership prices towering above you for these keys you might feel overwhelmed or helpless, but don’t because there is a cheaper alternative: a Locksmith.
A Locksmith with the proper equipment can make and program these keys for less, and in some instances WAY less than the dealer.
What is a computer chip doing in a car key in the first place?
First things first the chips are called “transponders”, and they are installed on newer cars because the insurance companies are requiring them. The goal is simple enough: make vehicles hard to steal. And less ways for the would-be thief to steal your car is less risk to insure to the companies. Your vehicle’s computer communicates with the embedded transponder and verifies that the keys value is already programmed into its database. If the key is known – programmed in – then your car should start, and if not it won’t.
The Transponder came onto the scene in Ford vehicles back in 1996 as a security option, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down in the near future. Here is a few things you the car’s owner should be aware of:
- Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep (1998+) have a system in place that requires you to use 2 currently programmed keys to add an additional key into the system with out the aid of specialty equipment.
That Means that it takes 2 already programmed keys to access your car’s “learn mode” feature. If you only have 2 keys its advisable to get a 3rd key soon because if you lose 1 then you can’t access that learn mode and you will have to take it to a professional to program, which can get expensive. If you only have 1 key to begin with, it’s a good idea to get 2 keys made so you have 3 total. Three or more is the magic number with these keys.
- General Motors family Vehicles have a different system in place. They only require one working key to start programming, and most models don’t require a special machine to program.
If you have any questions about what the sequences are for your specific car, they are included in your vehicle’s manual.