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The Rise and Fall of Physical Keys – What You Need to Know

The Rise and Fall of Physical Keys - What You Need to Know

keys in a door

As we welcome in the new year, it’s important to remain open to change and new possibilities. For those of us in the lock industry, this change comes in the form of keyless locks. We’ve long known that keys are pesky objects: they can break, get lost, or are a flat-out pain to locate when you need to get inside in a hurry. The solution? Keyless electronic locks that either require a keypad code or authentication via smartphone app to gain entry. These new, high-tech locks have risen in popularity in recent years, but even though they eliminate many issues associated with traditional key locks, they may not be the best option for your home. Read on to learn more about keyless locks and see if they’re the solution to your security needs. 

Are keys dead?

In short, yes and no. Electronic locks are relatively new, and the vast majority of homes and apartments in America are still fitted with traditional “pin and tumbler” or deadbolt locks. You’re far more likely to see electronic locks on cars than residences, but the invention is quickly gaining traction. 

As mentioned above, keyless locks were created as a solution to the problems associated with key locks. Rather than relying on a key to turn and release a door’s locking mechanism, today’s most popular electronic locks — keypad locks, smart locks, and biometric locks — are equipped with motors buried within the door itself. The motor is connected to the lock’s bolt or cylinder, activating only when stimulated by an electrical impulse. For keypad locks, this impulse is triggered when the correct code is entered, smart locks activate through a remote sensor, and biometric locks open when an approved fingerprint is scanned. 

At this time, however, electronic locks are still in their infancy. Only time will tell if traditional metal keys will endure these innovations. 

smartphone lock and key

Advantages and Disadvantages of Keyless Locks 

As a home or business owner, you should stay aware of security trends to ensure that your residence is as protected as it could be against outside threats. Part of this awareness is knowing when your current locks are outdated. But even if your locks need to be replaced, keyless locks may not be right for you. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons: 

  • Advantages: The good news with electronic locks is that you no longer need to worry about losing your keys! That’s one less thing to keep track of, or possibly break. Additionally, as long as you have a free hand, keyless locks make for easy entry since you need only punch in a code or open an app to unlock your door. Smart locks are particularly convenient if you need to let someone in while away: the majority of app-controlled locks on market allow for remote operation, meaning you can lock and unlock the door from anywhere. As for security, electronic locks offer an array of benefits. For one, they’re nearly pick-proof since the lock won’t turn unless triggered by an electrical impulse. You also don’t risk intruders gaining entry through using a spare key. Traditional “pin and tumbler” locks aren’t nearly as secure: over time, criminals have discovered a fool-proof way to pick these locks using lock bumpers. If break-ins are a frequent problem in your area, electronic locks will offer greater protection overall. 
  • Disadvantages: Having an electronic lock doesn’t always guarantee an easy entry. For keyless locks, forgetting your key-code, losing your phone, or weak internet connection as all can prevent the door from unlocking — and you can’t turn to a spare key for help. Power outages create unique issues as well: since the lock is controlled through electrical impulse, a power failure can result in the door remaining locked or unlocked until the power is restored. For either of these lock-out scenarios, it’s worth mentioning that, ironically, some electronic locks have a back-up key lock in case of emergencies. (See the above for all the reasons why this is a problem.) Although electronic locks can’t be easily picked, if your access code or phone falls into the wrong hands, intruders can enter your home damage-free and just as easily as if they found a spare key. With keyless car locks, there have also been instances where the locks were hacked, though it’s still uncertain if this will become a big problem for residential electronic locks as well. 
security keypad

Pop-A-Lock Can Handle It 

No matter your lock needs, Pop-A-Lock’s expert technicians can take care of the job. We can install electronic or high-security locks quickly, at minimal cost. Just call us to get a free quote! If you’re still undecided on which lock will best suit your home’s needs, give us a call anyway. We’re always free to chat locks and help you choose. 

Who at Your Company Should Get a Key?

Who at Your Company Should Get a Key?

team meeting

Businesses are composed of myriad moving parts. From daily operations to the maintenance of the office space, it’s impossible to list everything involved in making a company functional. But it takes all parts working in harmony for a business to thrive. Sometimes, helping your company achieve this goal means delegating new responsibilities to stand-out employees, trusting they’ll work in the best interest of the company. And, sometimes, this means handing over the keys.

Why Employees May Need Keys

Though most businesses rely on key-swipe mechanisms during business hours, nearly every office has an entrance that can be unlocked with a key at all times and internal doors with key locks. Regardless of your profession, if you operate out of a physical office space, it’s more than likely you’ll need to entrust a handful of employees with keys to these entrances. 

Though the reasons vary, employees typically need keys for one of the following purposes: to gain access to facilities outside normal hours, to open or lock up, or to respond to emergencies. 

Often, an employee needs to gain access to business premises outside the hours of operation, whether to fulfill their responsibilities or to complete a special project that demands working odd-hours. For these reasons, they may require a key to enter the building and lock up, and keys to access any internal offices they need to use. While these employees might also be tasked with locking up behind them, other employees are typically assigned the responsibility of opening and closing the office, which requires company keys as well. Finally, there might be certain employees who should be given keys for the sole purpose of entering the building in case of an emergency. These individuals are either equipped with the skills and expertise necessary for handling a break-in or other crisis, or they’ve proven to care enough they would be willing to help professional responders. 

In any case, being in possession of company keys is a major responsibility and due to the risks involved, keys should only be handed out if it’s absolutely necessary for business operations.


Who to Trust

When your business depends on everything happening as it should, you can’t trust just any employee with the company keys. Even if some operations require someone using business keys, it’s imperative you fill this role with someone you can rely on and, for special situations where an employee might benefit from 24/7 access to company resources, it’s important to consider their character first as well. 

  • For one, it’s of the utmost importance that all company key-holders demonstrate integrity in all their work and professional relationships. You need to be certain these people would never abuse their privileges, or use the key for any non-work related purposes. 
  • In addition to being trustworthy, these people must also prove they’re responsible, reliable, and can listen to instruction. These employees are thorough and organized in their work, and make improvements when needed. If trusted with a company key, you could be sure they wouldn’t lose it or forget to complete the tasks they’re supposed to complete. 
  • When choosing an employee, you may also want to consider their leadership skills. If an employee is using a company key, it’s almost certain they’re at the office at an odd-hour, with few other people. For this reason, it helps to choose someone who knows how to act in case of an emergency, and would be willing to report any suspicious activity.

We’ll Take it From Here

As a business leader, you’re free to trust any employee with the company keys, but we think it would be ill-advised to leave your security maintenance in the hands of anyone other than Pop-A-Lock. We’ll help you locate potential weak-spots through our business security audits, and ensure you have full control over who can enter or exit your facilities with our business lock installation and rekeying services. Whatever your needs, we’re determined to make your business even stronger. Browse our website for more information, or give us a call to get a free quote today!

How A Key Gets Stuck In The Ignition and What This Means for You

How A Key Gets Stuck In The Ignition and What This Means for You

Key stress

Cars  are our main mode of transportation, which makes it that much more stressful when something is wrong with our precious vehicles. This is particularly true when you run into a problem, such as your key getting stuck in the ignition, and don’t know who to call, let alone how to fix it yourself.

key stress phone call

Turn Your Car Off Properly

Oftentimes, especially when you’re in a hurry, it’s very easy to miss crucial steps to turn your car off. Many automatic transmission vehicles come with a safety feature that prevents the driver from removing the key from the ignition when the car is not in park or neutral. Before trying anything else, make sure to check that your shifter  is in one of these two positions.

Another reason your key might be stuck in the ignition is because you did not properly turn the car itself off. In order to turn the vehicle off, the key must be turned all the way into the lock position (in most cars, this means all the way down). If your key is not coming out of the ignition, try turning the car on again and turning it off properly before attempting to forcefully yank the key out.

stuck key in ignition

Keyhole Obstructions

Once you have ascertained that your car is in the proper gear, it’s time to move onto the next reason why your key may be stuck: dirt, dust, or other particles blocking your key from being removed from the keyhole. It is very possible that debris has gotten into the keyhole, but it is not something to worry about. To get your key out, you have 3 options:

  • Spray WD40 into the keyhole to loosen up the dirt that may be obstructing the hole.
  • Gently wiggle the key back and forth, which should also loosen up any debris that may be blocking the keyway.
  • Call a locksmith for professional help if neither of the above options are possible or working.
cleaning your dashboard

Steering Wheel Locked

If your key is stuck in the ignition and you find that your car’s steering wheel is also locked in place, it is possible that you  have inserted the wrong key. Locking the steering wheel is a safety feature on most vehicles that is present in case the incorrect key is inserted. Fixing this is the simple process of turning the steering wheel slowly to the left and then to the right while applying slight pressure to the key. Once you have enough pressure, you should be able to unlock the steering wheel and remove the key from the slot.

A Broken Key

The worst case scenario in a situation like this is that your key has broken, causing it to be stuck in the ignition. This may happen more often with duplicate keys, as they are weaker than the originals. You have two options when it comes to a broken key:

  •  Use a key extractor tool and attempt to remove the piece of broken key that is stuck in the keyway. If this tool is not available to you in the moment, or if this solution is not working, your best option is to:
  • Call a locksmith. Having an experienced, professional set of hands on the job will be the best bet for you if the key breaks off inside the ignition.

Additionally,  it is always important to pay attention to the general state of your car key before putting it into the ignition. If the key already looks damaged, prone to damage, or is flimsy in any way, it has a higher chance of breaking off inside of the ignition.

A Dead Car Battery

A final reason why you may not be able to remove the key from the ignition is a dead car battery. The fix for this is fairly simple: to check if your battery is in fact dead, try turning on your headlights or turn signals. If these are not working, your car battery is most likely dead. Once you have ascertained that this is the case, simply jump-starting your car will allow you to remove the key from the ignition keyway.


Though having a key lodged in the ignition is not an ideal situation, it is important to remember that there is always someone or something out there that can help you. Whether it be a friend jump-starting your car for you, a key extractor tool, or WD40, you will find a way out of this situation. And if you find yourself needing extra help, Pop-A-Lock’s trusted, certified locksmiths are here for you and ready to do so.