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Life Hack: Make Duplicate Car Keys To Avoid Stress and Hassle

Have you stressed out family members by vehemently safeguarding your one and only car key? Even worse, have you misplaced it just minutes before you are expected to pick up your kids at school, be at work on time or make it to an important event? Do you fear dropping your set of keys somewhere you can’t retrieve them from? Maybe you have already dealt with the hassle of locking yourself out of your vehicle – which is undeniably the worst-case scenario. Fortunately, there are relatively simple and cost-effective solutions from Pop-A-Lock to ensure that you never experience that stress again.

Duplicate Key

Every driver should have an extra car key (or multiple keys) in case one is misplaced. For safety, it’s also a good idea to have a duplicate accessible to your trusted loved ones in case of an emergency. If you’ve ever had to take someone to the hospital or have faced a similar crisis, you’ll understand how critical it is to have an extra key available, just in case. Let’s face it; car keys are lost or misplaced every day somewhere in the U.S. Don’t wait for an emergency to put a back-up plan in place.

What If I Only Received One Key Initially?

When you buy a new car, the dealership will typically give you two keys. But, if buying a used car, quite a few consumers are surprised when they receive only one key and are informed that it might cost them a few hundred dollars to buy an additional one. This happens for a variety of reasons, including:

Duplicate Key No Hassle
  • The previous owner lost or failed to return the other key when selling the car
  • The vehicle was repossessed, and the recovery agency only bought one set of keys to save themselves money
  • The dealer (usually a subprime finance lot or pay-on-the-spot dealership) will keep a key to make repossession easier if car payments are not made

Ultimately, you’ll find that it is never a good idea to have a single key for your vehicle. Vehicle keys are small and easily misplaced, and if you only have one key, you could find yourself unable to drive your car when you need it the most.

Will Insurance Cover a Lost Car Key?

According to the experts at Insurance.com, vehicle owners will typically have to pay out of pocket for the replacement of a lost car key. While many policies include Emergency Roadside Assistance coverage, these services usually only cover the costs of towing your vehicle someplace safe. Replacement of your car key will often be an out-of-pocket expense. Even if your comprehensive and collision coverage does cover lost, stolen, or damaged keys, insurance experts say that the cost of filing a claim (which could have a deductible of, say, $500 or $1000) is not worth the expense of merely buying a new key yourself.

Key Duplicate Insurance

How Do I Get a Second Key Made?

In spite of what many people think, car key duplication is NOT something that only the dealership can do for you. That also goes for electronic keys, VATS keys, remotes, and dealer chip keys. Many people don’t realize that they could quickly obtain a duplicate smart key or transponder key for their vehicle, without paying steep dealership prices.

Because most modern vehicles use these key fobs or remote control keys, getting a second key is not as easy as stopping at the hardware store to use the machine to cut and grind out a metal key that fits your ignition. Fortunately, it IS as easy as calling Pop-A-Lock’s trusted vehicle lock professionals, who can duplicate and program an extra smart key for you! In almost every case, buying a back-up key from a local locksmith service like Pop-A-Lock will be significantly less expensive than buying a key from the dealership.

If you find yourself in a tough situation and need to have a key made, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure to have your vehicle identification number (VIN) on hand. Your vehicle’s VIN will be a combination of seventeen letters and digits, and can usually be found on the driver’s side dashboard, visible through the window. On newer vehicles, the VIN might also be etched into the glass on the driver’s side window. The VIN will often be stamped or displayed on other parts of the vehicle, including the engine block, rear wheel well, door jamb, or trunk. Your automotive insurance paperwork will also have the vehicle’s VIN on it, so review your insurance policy if you need to locate the number there.
  2. Know the year, make, and model of your vehicle. The locksmith service will need to know this information to make and program a new key!
  3. Call your local automotive locksmith. Before you pay expensive dealership prices, be sure to contact a smart key duplication and programming professional like those at Pop-A-Lock. Their prices are often significantly less than a dealership, their services are typically much faster, and their professionally trained technicians can perform the programming of transponder, VAT, and smart keys for any make or model vehicle.
Pop-A-Lock Duplicate Key

Once you have the duplicate key made, be sure to keep it in a secure place that you can easily access. You can let your family and trusted friends know where the key will be stored, so they know where to find it in case of an emergency.

Ask anyone who has lost their car keys in the past, having a spare key will come in handy when you least expect it, and you’ll be relieved that you planned ahead!

The Pop-A-Lock Guide To Commercial Security Solutions

As business owners know, running a company (large or small) is a significant undertaking. Keeping that business secure adds another major area of responsibility. Commercial buildings have much different security issues than residential properties, as they have more locks, special security needs, and higher stakes. Because your business is an investment that provides your employees with a way to earn a living, you must do everything you can to protect that investment.

Whether you own a small business or a large corporation, having a commercial locksmith that you can rely on is critical. Pop-A-Lock’s commercial security services will help you achieve the advanced level of security you need. Pop-A-Lock can provide you with high-quality locksmith services at an affordable rate, saving you time and money. Our highly skilled and trained locksmiths can help with everything from rekeying to new lock installation to general maintenance and more.

If the lock to your business breaks, if a  key gets stuck in the lock, or if you need to re-secure your building, it’s vital to have access to a trained professional who can help. That’s where Pop-A-Lock comes in.

Master key systems are one of Pop-A-Lock’s major areas of expertise. While these systems are essential to the security of a business, the installation process can be tedious when it involves dozens, if not hundreds, of locks. However, no job is too big for a Pop-A-Lock commercial locksmith. They can get the job done the right way.

Pop-A-Lock is a one-stop locksmith that offers a wide array of commercial security services, including:

  • Lockout help: From locked warehouses to storage rooms to cash registers, we can get you back in quickly if you are locked out
  • Panic bar installation: The panic bars we install are building code-approved and designed to keep your business safe.
  • Lock installation: Want to switch from a traditional lock to a keypad? Or do you need deadbolts installed? Pop-A-Lock has your back.
  • Rekeying or changing locks: Whether you need one lock changed or an entire building, we can get the job done quickly and efficiently.
  • “Door closer installation: While a door closer alone won’t prevent intruders from entering, having a system in place to help keep your doors closed is a great additional level of security, removing the invitation to intruders to walk right in. Let our locksmiths install door closers for you today.”
  • Full building or single door rekeys: We perform timely rekeys and lock changes.
  • Installing master key systems: The systems we install are custom engineered for your needs.
  • Card access and keypad locks: We can install card access and keypads and connect them to your central access control system.
  • High-security locks and deadbolts: Pop-A-Lock installs high-security proprietary key control systems, such as Primus and Medeco, for mechanical locks
  • Safes: We can help install a safe or open a safe.

As the trusted name nationwide for commercial and residential lock services, turn to Pop-A-Lock to get peace of mind in knowing your commercial property is in good hands. We carry and service nearly any lock used in commercial buildings today. We offer unparalleled reliability, transparency and accountability to our clients. We can be the one vendor who handles all your commercial security needs – no matter where your buildings are located in the country.

Pop-A-Lock Workplace Security

The Pop-A-Lock Site Security Program takes the guesswork out of securing your commercial space. Call one of our trained and experienced technicians or download our free security audit today to find out more about how Pop-A-Lock can help you.

The Evolution of the Car Key, and Why You Should Care

The average consumer may not realize this, but there are quite a few different types of automotive keys out there. As with much of today’s world, the car key is ever-evolving as technology and products change.

When it comes to your car’s security, it can be important to understand the difference between the key types and how each one came to be.

When it comes time for  locksmithing services for your car, it can be important – or at the very least helpful – to know what type of key your car has.

Below, our locksmith experts outline the different types of keys and how they’ve evolved, along with some important information for each type.

Traditional Keys:

Late 1940s:

Mechanical keys have provided basic security to motor vehicles since their inception. Currently, there are a few types of mechanical keys commonly seen.

Edge cut mechanical key

Edge cut keys: This is a garden variety key that you would find with most vehicles made before 2013, with the cuts directly on the edge of the key. These can be duplicated by most standard key machines that you would find in a hardware store or similar. If all copies of an edge cut key are lost, though, it typically requires a trained locksmith to determine the specifications or “code” of the key for that specific vehicle.

1970s:

High Security or Side-Winder type keys: These are still mechanical keys, however in the mid 1970’s, some manufacturers decided they wanted to increase the security of their vehicles. They did this by implementing the use of a side-winder type key, which cannot be copied on standard key duplicators. These keys require a specialized type of cutter, which literally engraves the cut specifications on to the keyblade. Side-winder keys have since become extremely common on modern vehicles.

Lexus Sidewinder Key

Remote Keys:

The next evolution in car keys allow users to remotely lock and unlock their vehicle. They also include additional functions such as remote unlocking of the trunk, providing a panic button on the remote, and remotely starting the vehicle.

Remotes come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, frequencies and levels of security. Any Pop-A-Lock expert would be glad to answer any questions you have and help direct you toward the best remote key for your needs!

1980s:

VAT keys were the first remote keys on the market. In the mid-1980s, General Motors began production on a new vehicle security system. In short, the new system made brute force attacks on the vehicle lock system less effective because the vehicles now also had an electronic “signature” that had to match what it expected to see when started.

VAT keys remained popular through the early 2000’s when General Motors completely switched over to the more effective RFID or transponder key system for the majority of its vehicles.

Early 2000s:

Transponder keys combine a mechanical edge or sidewinder key with a small RFID chip or RFID emulation circuit. These keys help further deter brute force attacks on vehicle locking systems.

When the vehicles sense a transponder key enter the ignition or when the ignition is rotated, the ignition lock cylinder and the transponder key communicate with radio frequencies. This lets the vehicle computer know if the key trying to turn on the vehicle is an authorized key.

Since their inception, transponder keys have evolved to be widely popular and increasingly secure. If you’ve driven a car made in the early 2000s, you’ve probably used one of these.

When transponder keys are lost or broken, creating a new key can present a significant challenge. There are a wide array of different chips, technologies and security levels across the spectrum of transponder-equipped vehicles, and a great deal of training and technology are needed to create new copies. But don’t worry, our Pop-A-Lock technicians have you covered! Call us today and we can help you get any new key you need. 

Today’s Keys

After decades of evolution, vehicle manufacturers continue to increase cars’ security. Today, there are two types of keys that provide the highest level of both security and convenience.

2000s:

Remote Head Keys were the next step in the vehicle key evolution. As technology improved, manufacturers began to combine the mechanical key, the remote and often the transponder into a single unit. Most commonly-bought vehicles today use remote head keys, and they provide both additional security of the advanced key systems, as well as the convenience of conventional mechanical-only key systems.

Slot Key

Slot Keys were first introduced by BMW. The new key concept required no rotation of a key switch. Instead, you would insert a slot key or key fob into a slot on the dash and push a button to start the vehicle. This cut down on the number of moving mechanical parts, and relied solely on the electronic security embedded in the slot key to prevent unauthorized vehicle access.

Since then, a number of manufacturers – such as Nissan and Chrysler – have introduced key types that eliminated the need for the mechanical portion of the key entirely. Instead, the new keys have electronic-only access control for the vehicle. These are known as proximity keys. 

As transponder identification efficiency and range continued to increase, manufactures were able to produce vehicles with proximity keys – AKA touchless or smart keys – for their vehicles. This latest key system simply requires that the fob or smart key be in proximity of the vehicle in order to gain access or start the vehicle.

This system provides a great deal of convenience to owners but resulted in a higher cost of replacement in the case of lost or stolen keys.

There are quite a few key types and systems out there, each of which requires different knowledge and training on how to duplicate or replace. Knowing what type of key your vehicle has can be useful information if and when you find yourself calling a locksmith.

No matter what type of key you have, Pop-A-Lock has your back! Our technicians are trained and equipped to duplicate or replace virtually every make and model of vehicle key, and our prices are often deeply discounted from your what your local dealer can offer. Call us today to get a free quote!

10 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe From Burglars

An average of around 3.7 million burglaries occurred each year from 2003-2007, according to the Bureau of Justice.  In about 28% of these burglaries, a household member was home during the burglary.

When a burglary is occurring, almost 30% of thieves enter through an unlocked door or window, and 34% through the front door. 

Home Safety Burglary

Don’t be the next victim!  Our Pop-A-Lock locksmiths have some professional advice on how to keep your home secure and scare off burglars.

1. Install motion-activated outdoor lights

Burglars don’t want to be seen. If they’re creeping around the outside of your property and they trigger a light, odds are they’ll immediately leave the property in hopes no one sees them. They also may think someone is home inside and turned on the light.

2. Leave the TV on

If you’re out running errands or home alone for the night, it’s a good idea to leave a TV on. This makes it appear as if someone is home and awake, and is a good way to deter potential burglars.

3. Install break proof laminate on windows

Laminated windows seriously slow down burglars. Again, anything that forces them to be on your property for longer will be a deterrent, and if they do stick around their chances of being caught go up.

4. Consider a dog – if you don’t already have one

You don’t need – or want –  a mean dog. But if you have a friendly dog who goes crazy when they see or hear people in the yard, you’ll have a good warning if someone is approaching, and the person outside won’t know whether or not the dog is friendly.

5. Put indoor lights on automatic timers

Allowing your lights to turn on and off – even if you’re not home or asleep – can make it look like you’re home and deter burglars from targeting your house. And if you vary the schedule it will throw them off even more.

6. Vary your schedule

And with the above point, we want to add that varying your schedule in general can deter burglars from targeting your house. If someone is patrolling your neighborhood looking for homes to break into, they likely won’t choose yours if they can’t tell whether or not you’re home at specific times of day.

7. Install a security system

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, installing an indoor or outdoor (or both) security system is a great way to keep an eye on your house and know if a burglar is trying to get in.

8. Always lock your doors and windows

It may seem obvious, but as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, almost 30% of burglars enter homes through an unlocked door or window. Check that all your doors and windows are locked before bed each night, and before you leave the house for any amount of time.

9. Keep your garage closed

A garage is just another entrance to your home for burglars. Always check that it’s closed before you leave the house or go to bed.

10. Make your house look lived in

When you’re out of town or away from your home for any extended period of time, put your mail on hold, schedule someone to come mow the lawn, ask neighbors to park in your driveway occasionally. Anything to make it look lived in and not empty will help ensure burglars don’t target your home.

Approximately 4,800 burglaries happen every day in the US. That’s a startling number. The good news, though, is that there are steps you can take to keep your home and family safe from burglars.

Our locksmithing experts have created a free home security audit. The checklist can help you create a safe environment for you and your family – while you’re home and away.

If you’re interested in re-keying your home or upgrading your home’s locks, contact your local Pop-A-Lock today!