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How Changes In Temperature and Weather Affect Your Locks

Seasonal changes are often exciting. After a long winter, many look forward to the time spent outdoors in warmer weather brought in by spring. As summer comes to a close, cooler temperatures are appreciated as many prepare for the upcoming holiday seasons. However, as homeowners prepare for the change in seasons themselves, they also must be aware of the potential effects of these changes on external locks and entrances to their home.

Many do not realize that the change of seasons can have a major impact on their home. When the temperature dramatically increases or decreases in a short span of time, there is a higher chance that you will experience issues with your doors and locking mechanisms. A lot of the time, seemingly random problems that arise with your locks can be explained by seasonal changes.

Cold Weather Effects

As the fall and winter seasons arrive, the change in temperature affects your doors and locking mechanisms in a variety of ways. Doors that are made of wood are especially prone to problems during seasonal changes, as lower levels of humidity affect the material. Freezing temperatures and the absence of moisture in the air can cause your door frame to contract, leading to a poor fit between the door and the lock itself. This contraction means the door will begin to warp around your locks, and may lead to your deadbolt suddenly not being able to lock or unlock properly.

Aside from contractions with the door and door frame, if there is existing moisture in the lock, you may experience issues with your key not being able to turn. Moisture in the mechanisms of the lock may freeze over, causing your key to become stuck or much harder than usual to put into the lock.

Hot Weather Effects

Just as colder weather causes your door and door frame to contract, warmer weather can cause these mechanisms to expand. Higher levels of moisture in the air cause wooden doors to warp around the lock and press rigidly against the door frame. This expansion can lead to problems with your locks, as they suddenly start to “jam” more often. This means it becomes more difficult for the key to turn in the lock properly, or that the key can become stuck in the lock itself.

Homeowners must also be aware of the effects of warm temperatures on keys themselves. When left in a hot car for too long, or left in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, the keys can begin to distort. Distorted keys can cause problems with the lock, as they do not properly fit in the mechanism anymore.

How Do I Fix My Lock?

If you have noticed that your locking mechanisms have been affected by a recent change in temperature or weather, the best option is to call a reputable locksmith. These technicians will evaluate your circumstances and advise you on the best plan of action. Depending on the degree that your door or door frame has warped, they may decide to simply fix your lock or rekey it. In some cases, the home may benefit from the installation of a new lock entirely if it has become too incompatible with the door’s changes over time.

If you have found that your wooden door continually becomes warped, it may be time to consider installing a door of an alternative material. Weatherproof materials such as fiberglass, steel or aluminum are good choices, and will withstand changes in temperature and humidity without affecting your locks.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

If you have arrived home to find that your door is jammed, or the key will not turn in the lock, do not panic! Your first step should be to contact a reputable locksmith, such as Pop-A-Lock, to help you gain entry to the home, staying away from online “DIY” methods that may lead to more damage on your system. Pop-A-Lock provides a 24/7 emergency lockout service, that will get you back into your home quickly and efficiently, without damage.

Pop-A-Lock was founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, and has quickly become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the United States. All of our technicians are certified, experienced, and ready to help you find the best solution for your individual needs. You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online for a quote today!

Are Magnetic or Electric Locks Better For Commercial Properties?

When you own a business or commercial property, there are many options to consider when it comes to security. Taking the time to choose the most effective kind of locks for your specific property is an important practice, as these systems protect not only your building, but the employees, valuables, and sensitive information located inside.

If you’re unsure about whether a magnetic lock system or an electric strike system is right for your business, you’ve come to the right place! The professionals at Pop-A-Lock have created a guide below to discuss the pros and cons of these devices, helping you make a more informed decision about your commercial security.

Magnetic Locks

Magnetic Locks, or “mag locks,” are devices that use an electromagnet to secure doors. The magnet is attached to the door frame and a metal armature plate. These systems use low-voltage power to keep the lock closed and unlock with a card swipe, key fob or access code.

Mag locks can connect to a variety of access control systems, which can sometimes even be accessed using smartphone applications. If you’re interested in learning more about access control systems, check out our previous blog on the topic, “What is Key Control and Why Should My Business Care?”

If you’re thinking about  implementing mag locks into your access control system, consider the pros and cons of these devices, listed below.

Advantages of Mag Locks

There are many benefits to using a mag lock system for your commercial property:

  • Mag Locks can be extremely strong and durable, lasting a long time
  • Mag Locks be mounted on a wide variety of doors, even glass doors
  • These locks often require less cutting of the door frame during installation
  • Mag Locks eliminate the risk of lost keys/fobs, minimizing security threats
  • These locks are quick to operate after installation
  • Decreased costs over time as you don’t need to cut new keys

Disadvantages of Mag Locks

Just as there are advantages to implementing magnetic locks, there are a few downsides to consider when evaluating the decision to install these locks in your commercial property.

  • Mag Locks are frowned upon by most fire and code officials, due to their completely electronic nature. In the event of an emergency, it’s harder for individuals without a key card, code or fob to exit the building.
  • Doors may become more difficult to open if the maglock is continuously locked
  • Mag Locks need a constant source of power- the door will open if power is lost without a battery backup or if the battery backup goes down
  • Cards or fobs may be misplaced or stolen, allowing unauthorized individuals access to the property
  • Mag Locks can be pricey depending upon the quality and strength of the lock

Electric Locks or “Electric Strikes”

Another kind of system that should be considered for increasing your commercial property’s security is an electric strike. These devices can also be implemented into your access control system, giving you more jurisdiction over which employees can access specific areas of the building.

Electric strikes are  electromechanical devices that provide increased security to the building when used alongside other devices, such as a lock set or panic bar. When electrical power is supplied to the strike, the latch or lock bolt is held in place, keeping the door locked until a release system is activated.

Electric Office Locks

Release systems vary depending on the type of electric strike you install. Generally, when the mechanical part of the lock is activated through an electronic key card, code, release button or fob, the strike releases, opening the door from the outside.

Advantages of Electric Strikes

There are multiple advantages to implementing electric strikes in your commercial property:

  • Electric strikes are favorable to fire and building officials, due to the fact they can still operate with a mechanical release such as a push bar from the inside
  • Electric strikes are available in both fail-safe and fail-secure configurations
  • With electric strikes, the door can remain secure even with a loss of power, if properly configured
  • Decreased costs over time as you don’t need to cut new keys

Disadvantages of Electric Strikes

Although electric strikes have many advantages, there are certainly disadvantages to these systems that are important to consider:

  • Door is susceptible to normal mechanical bypass methods
  • Cards or fobs may be misplaced or stolen, allowing unauthorized individuals access to the property
  • Electric strikes can be difficult to install on door frames made out of materials such as aluminum, as they need thicker door spaces
  • Depending on the quality, they can be more prone to failure because they are more mechanically complex in nature than a magnetic locks

Choosing Your System

The best way to choose which system is better for your business is to have a security professional evaluate your commercial property. Technicians at companies such as Pop-A-Lock have the expertise and training to recommend which systems are most beneficial for your unique situation and can install both electric strikes and magnetic locks efficiently.

We recommend using a combination of both locks, as having both magnetic locks and electronic strikes on exterior doors reduces your risk for a security issue in the future. Although there are strengths and weaknesses to both systems, installing either option (or a combination of both) will increase your property’s overall security. If you prefer not to have two systems in place, we will recommend one or the other based on the door being guarded. This varies place by place.

Contact Your Local Pop-A-Lock Today!

Need help with installing locks on your commercial property? Contact your local Pop-A-Lock today! All of our technicians are certified, experienced, and ready to help you find the best solution for your individual needs. We install, replace, and rekey locks with advanced techniques that will ensure your property is secure as possible.

Founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, Pop-A-Lock has quickly become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the United States. You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online for a quote today!

Public Awareness: Buying Car Keys Online

Are you considering purchasing a key from an internet seller and then looking for a locksmith or professional to program that key? Just like many other items, the internet can seem like a promising place to save money on the purchase of keys, fobs, and prox keys. But, be wary – while this isn’t a scam, it also isn’t always the smartest way to go about getting a new key.

There are a few reasons to be cautious when considering purchasing a new key or fob online, instead of from a professional or the dealership. They include:

  • Many people  don’t realize that with modern vehicles, the majority of a new key’s cost comes not from the key itself, but in the decoding, cutting, and programming of the electronic components of that key to match to your vehicle so that it actually works.
  •  If you purchase a key from online, and then seek out a skilled tradesperson to match that key to your vehicle, it likely won’t be warrantied, which can hurt you in the long run.
  • Internet keys are often from aftermarket sources that use the lowest quality materials, construction methods and electronic components available.
  • Lastly, most online resellers do not charge significantly less than professional locksmiths or automotive security professionals who provide the same part- likely with a warranty on the part and labor included.

Need a Key or Remote For Your Vehicle?

If you need a key or remote for your vehicle, there are three words we recommend keeping in mind while searching – Avoid, Ask, Know.

1. Avoid using Google or Bing to locate a professional locksmith or automotive security professional when possible Instead use:
a. Findalocksmith.com
b. Keypro.com
c. popalock.com

These are three of the most professional and vetted associations and membership groups for locksmiths in North America. They are a reliable source to help you find a trusted technician and avoid locksmith scams.

2. Ask what the total price for the entire job will be up front.  Unless something is wrong with the vehicle or it’s not in original factory condition, most reputable locksmiths should be able to give you a very precise cost.

3. Know specifics if possible. If you’re internet-savvy or good at conducting your own research, you can likely find out exactly what OEM key part number your vehicle takes.  This is the exact button configuration such as lock, unlock, panic, remote start, automatic rear doors, power liftgate, or power tailgate. Providing this useful information to your locksmith may help save time, effort, energy and potentially reduce your total cost.

If You’ve Already Purchased a Key Online

man unlocking car with key fob

If you have already purchased an online key, it’s not the end of the world. If you’re seeking someone to cut and program the key or remote for you, here are four important things to remember:

1. Communicate: Whoever  you end up  requesting service from, make sure you clearly state if you have a working key for the vehicle or if all keys are lost or broken . This factor can cause a significant difference in pricing and procedures depending upon your vehicle’s year, make, and model.

a. Be prepared to show identification and proof of ownership. This would include registration, title, bill of sale or proof of insurance coverage naming you on the document.  Having your documentation in order, and letting the key professional know that you have this documentation readily available for them, can save you time, effort and energy, and could potentially lower your final cost.

2. Be transparent with your locksmith.  When you contact a key professional, let them know that you purchased a key online. If you can identify the reseller to your locksmith, it can help clarify the quality of the key.

3. Consider purchasing keys from your locksmith anyway. A good alternative for you – as well as the key professional – is to purchase another  key directly from the locksmith. This professional can service and program it  much more effectively. Then ask  if they can cut and program your online key as a backup for a reasonable rate while they are already on-site. Or, if you do not want or simply can’t afford to have the additional key programmed, most online resellers will accept an uncut returned key back in order to maintain their positive seller statistics.

The Bottom Line

We’ve given you a lot of information here. The bottom line, though, is that buying online keys is typically a waste of time and money versus simply calling a key professional to do the job in the first place!

Pop-A-Lock is the largest supplier of keys, fobs, and automotive key programming services to the public in North America. We use high-quality products, offer warranties on our parts and labor, and can typically offer the best value because of our purchasing discounts through our partnered vendors. If we provide service in your area, please consider reaching out to us for a free estimate to replace or create a duplicate key, fob or proximity key for your vehicle!

Pop-A-Lock Locksmith Technicians in Uniform

To talk with a Pop-A-Lock Professional about your best key options, call 1-800-POP-A-LOCK today.

What is an Accessibility Audit?

Unfortunately, those with disabilities face challenges every day that able-bodied individuals do not always consider. As a society, we are working towards making life more accessible to those who need accommodations, and part of this includes making buildings easier to enter, exit or to get around in.

When looking to ensure your facility is inclusive, a great method is conducting an accessibility audit. These audits show how well the space is meeting requirements for those with disabilities. Accessibility audits are a formal and methodological way for a professional to check your current compliance, and will allow the professional to make recommendations specifically for your property.

Recently, there has been a strong push in areas such as Canada for more equality, as nationally set standards for Accessibility have risen in a variety of sectors. Currently categories being addressed for those with disabilities include:

  • Information and Communication
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Design of Public Spaces
  • Customer Service

Locksmithing Companies And Accessibility

In terms of locksmithing companies, accessibility concerns can be addressed in the design of public spaces. By working to identify gaps in the requirements of businesses and public spaces, we can help make these areas more accessible for those with disabilities. Areas that locksmithing companies such as Pop-A-Lock can help with include the installation and maintenance of:

  • Levers
  • Latches
  • Electric strikes
  • Door operators and closers
  • Thresholds
  • Locks
  • Exit hardware

Conducting An Accessibility Audit

When public spaces and companies implement tools and hardware like those mentioned above, their buildings become more accessible to those with disabilities. Companies such as Pop-A-Lock provide accessibility audits (in select locations) designed to help businesses and public spaces know where their facility is lacking or could improve. These audits are very important, as they closely examine the property and provide valuable insight on aspects the organization may have missed. Missing certain things from the audit may be a crucial mistake, leading to fines and human rights violations on behalf of the organization.

When it comes to conducting an accessibility audit, it’s best to have an experienced professional inspect the property. If you try and do it yourself, you may miss something that you’re unaware of, which will affect your organization and those with disabilities trying to enter the facility.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

Interested in having an accessibility audit done on your facility? Contact your local Pop-A-Lock today to see if they offer a free accessibility audit. The professionals at Pop-A-Lock have the experience and knowledge needed to complete these audits, and will thoroughly inspect your facility to make sure it meets all requirements. Call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online to discuss your audit today!

I Locked My Child In My Car, What Do I Do Now?

I Locked My Child In the Car, What Do I Do Now?

In case of emergency:

  1. Call 911
  2. Block any sunlight you can from getting in the car 
  3. Keep track of time so you know how long the child has been in the car
  4. Look out for signs of heatstroke – bright red or flushed cheeks, confusion or lethargy, and sometimes vomiting
  5. Contact an emergency locksmith

As a parent, you do your best to keep your child safe. You anticipate dangers, securing your home and vehicle. Despite these efforts, accidents do happen, even with the most responsible of parents. If you accidentally lock your child in the car, take comfort knowing that Pop-a-Lock offers a free service to rescue your child. Even if the temperature outside is a pleasant 70 degrees, the temperature inside a closed vehicle can rise to 89 degrees in a matter of minutes. To save your child, don’t panic but act quickly and take the following steps: 

Call 911: 

A child left in a hot car is an emergency. Especially in the summer, you need to take action right away. Call 911 immediately and calmly explain your situation to the dispatcher. Emergency services will send police and firefighters to help get your child out of the vehicle.

Block Sunlight: 

To keep the car as cool as possible, do anything you can to block sunlight from entering your vehicle. Use nearby resources such as blankets or towels to create some shade for your child as you wait for emergency services.

 Keep Track of Time: 

Depending on the temperature outdoors, vehicles can reach temperatures upward of 100 degrees within ten minutes. Time is of the essence, so if emergency services fail to show up promptly, then you may need to break your window to save your child. 

 Know the Signs of Heatstroke:

According to the nonprofit organization, Kids And Cars, about 900 children locked in cars have died of heatstroke since 1990. A child with heatstroke typically has bright red or flushed cheeks, displays confusion or lethargy, and even begins vomiting. Heatstroke also limits the body’s ability to sweat and can either cause the pulse to weaken or speed up abnormally. 

Go Easy on Yourself:

Many parents and caregivers feel distraught and guilty for accidentally locking their child in the car. As long as you are able to take action to get them out immediately, the next step is to make a plan for the future. The following tips can help you avoid the same accidents moving forward: 

  •     Keep a reminder of your child (toy, blanket, etc.) in the front seat next to you.
  •     Keep your briefcase or purse in the backseat near your child. 
  •     Limit distractions and stay off of your phone while driving.

If you notice any other child unattended in a vehicle, call 9-1-1 and an emergency locksmith immediately.

Contact an Emergency Locksmith:

The Pop-a-Lock emergency locksmiths are here to help parents  rescue children who’ve been accidentally locked in cars as quickly as possible. Through the PAL Saves Kids program, Pop-a-Lock offers these vital rescue services 100% free of charge, and  has rescued thousands of children across the United States. The PAL Saves Kids program helps families and provides educational resources to parents and is always available if the unthinkable happens and your child becomes locked in your car. Don’t despair, and don’t wait to take action. Call Pop-A-Lock for help right away!  

 

Do I Need Lock Repair Or A Whole New Lock?

Do I Need Lock Repair, or a Whole New Lock?

As a homeowner, you should always be aware of the condition of your home’s locks. During daily use, be sure to look for signs of wear and tear, along with  potential issues that could lead to malfunction or easy break-ins. As a general rule, it is also a good idea to have a professional check your locks once a year,  making sure that everything is in working order and suggesting repairs and replacements when necessary. 

 

There is a significant difference between repairing and replacing a door lock. While repairs typically involve fixing or replacing pins and springs within the lock cylinder, replacing a lock entirely will require the removal of the old hardware and installation of entirely new hardware. 

What are the signs that a lock needs to be repaired?

As you enter and exit your home each day, pay attention to how your lock functions. There are some telltale signs that a lock should be repaired, including: 

  • Difficulty turning the key – If turning your key in the lock requires more force than it used to, your lock could be getting old and might be in need of repair. 
  • The key gets stuck frequently – Has your key ever become stuck in the lock? Even if you’re able to remove it successfully, this is a common sign that you need to repair the lock before the key gets stuck and you can’t remove it. 
  • Frozen parts – Over time, it is possible for parts of the locking mechanism to become frozen and not move, even when the key is in the lock. 

 

There are other signs that you need to have your locks repaired, such as if they’ve become damaged by inclement weather,  if you’ve lost your key or had it stolen. In some cases, it is more cost-effective to have a professional rekey the lock (which entails replacing the pins and springs with new ones that work with a new key) instead of replacing your locks entirely.

What are the signs that a lock should be replaced?

While it is a good idea to replace your locks every few years to protect yourself, your family, and your belongings, there are certain circumstances in which it is essential to replace your locks right away. Signs that you need a new lock include:

  • You’ve been a victim of a break-in – This is one of the clearest signs that you need to install new locks on your doors. You may want to upgrade your lock system or simply replace the locks out of an abundance of caution.
  • Your locks have been damaged beyond repair – Sometimes it’s impossible or unwise to repair a lock. Burglars will often damage locks when breaking in, or sometimes a lock will be damaged on accident. 
  • Your lock has become rusted and weathered– For locks that are exposed to the elements, rust and other damage is a notable concern. Rust inside a lock could prevent the teeth of the key from sliding under the tumblers and pushing them up. If your lock shows signs of rust or other weather damage, consider scheduling a replacement.
  • Your lock is old – Over time, particularly for locks that experience frequent use, your lock could become worn and less effective at letting you in and keeping others out. There also may be multiple sets of keys floating around (friends, neighbors, former roommates, and other residents), and you might wish to take control of your home back by replacing your locks entirely rather than having them rekeyed. 

 

Contact Pop-A-Lock for Help Rekeying and Replacing Your Locks

While you might be tempted to “do-it-yourself” and repair or replace your locks on your own, many people find that the task is very challenging and mistakes can be costly. Far too many homeowners have attempted to work on their own locks, only to damage the lock or the door itself, and have been forced to spend more money than they would have if they had hired a professional from the start. 

 

Fortunately, hiring the professionals at Pop-A-Lock is both easy and reasonably-priced. Our highly-trained and knowledgeable locksmiths are ready to help repair, rekey, or install a new lock any time you need us. We provide 24/7 lockout service for those who’ve experienced broken or damaged locks, so call us or reach out to us online to find a professional locksmith near you. 

List of Common Lock Types

Common Lock Types

Whether your needs are residential, commercial, or automotive, having the proper type of lock is  necessary for maintaining the security of yourself, your family, and your belongings. One factor that people often struggle with is determining which lock is right for their specific needs.

Many different types of locks are available for a wide assortment of purposes.  We know trying to choose the right lock can be overwhelming. However, don’t stress. You can get answers to all your lock questions when you work with the professional locksmiths at Pop-A-Lock.

Types of Locks

Some of the most common kinds of locks used include:

  • Padlocks — A padlock is a detachable type of lock installed on your door. It is usually composed of three components: a body, a shackle, and some kind of locking mechanism to keep the door securely shut.  The locking mechanism of padlocks may be integrated or modular. These locks commonly are used to lock things together, but they can act as a security device on certain types of containers or doors.
  • Deadbolt locks — Generally installed on external doors, a deadbolt lock can only be opened through the rotation of a key. This kind of lock is more complex, providing more security as the single cylinder deadlock allows a key on only one side.   The other side, normally interior-facing, is solely operated by a twist knob. , These locks can also feature a double cylinder. The double cylinder lock allows keys on both sides without a twist knob
  • Doorknob — It’s important to note that not all doorknobs  have a locking function, but many do have locking mechanisms built in. The lock on a doorknob is often seen in the form of a small button or lever on the handle of the doorknob.
  • Lever handle locks — Lever handle locks are seen on the handles of doors. There are three different grades of security. Typically, Grades 1 and 2 are used for commercial applications  and Grade 3 is for residential use.
  • Electronic door locks/Smart locks — A smart lock is a newer type of lock. These locks are electronic, and use either Bluetooth, WiFi or Z-Wave communication to interact with other electronic devices in your home. You may use an app on your phone or a fob, but  some electronic door locks feature touchscreens or keypads for access.
  • Passage Sets — A passage set is a hardware set which allows the functioning of a bolt into a door strike but not that ability to lock the mechanism. For this reason, passage sets are more common in areas not requiring security or privacy.
  • Mortise locks — Commonly used in commercial construction, a mortise lock consists of a lock chassis, two levers, and a mortise cylinder. These locks are more expensive but can also last much longer than other kinds of locks.

Need Help Finding the Right Lock? Call Pop-A-Lock Today

When you are  facing any kind of lock issue at your home or business, it’s important to always get  the professional opinion of a trusted locksmith. When you contact your local Pop-A-Lock , you know you will always be provided with the help of one of the most trusted locksmith companies in the nation.

Pop-A-Lock uses its Home Site Security Audit to give customers a more thorough look at the current security measures at home and consider additional options for a safe environment. We can also rekey commercial locks for businesses, and offer a Commercial Site Security Audit.

Pop-A-Lock was founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, but has quickly become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the United States. Our Pal Saves Kids Program is a free community service dedicated to saving children who are inadvertently locked in vehicles.

You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online to discuss your lock questions. We provide emergency unlocking services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

I Think Someone May Have Tampered With My Locks, What Do I Do Now?

If you have noticed that your home lock has been tampered with, or if it appears that someone tried to break in, you are probably experiencing feelings of anxiety, fear, and stress.

This blog will explain exactly what to look for if you believe your lock was tampered with, as well as detailing what actions to take with the help of an experienced locksmith.

Signs Your Lock Was Tampered With

If you suspect your lock has been tampered with, start with looking for these common signs:

Brute force. Signs of brute force include bent deadbolts or latches, warped doors or door frames, and the presence of small paint circles caused by moving the locking fixture. Criminals will often try to drill through a deadbolt, bash in a lock, or kick in a door. These actions often leave a trail of splintered wood and twisted metal.

Lock does not function. If there are no visible signs of damage, you may notice that the key does not turn properly. This could be an indicator the lock has been tampered with.

Bumping: By using a “bump key” – a dummy key of sorts – and hammering on the lock, a criminal can open the lock and gain access. When bumping is done correctly, it leaves little to no evidence. However, sometimes inexperienced burglars can leave identifiable marks. Signs of bumping include new nicks around the keyhole and shiny metal edges that look like they have recently been hit.

Picking: This occurs when a burglar employs small tools such as a pin or screwdriver to turn the lock and rake the pin tumblers. Once the tumblers catch the lock, the doorknob will turn. While picking requires much skill and patience, the method is gentler than bumping and may not leave a trace. A common sign of picking is tiny scratch marks and some exposed metal around the keyhole. It’s not likely to show dents or warped bolts.

How to Take Action

If you believe your lock has been tampered with, you will want to contact a locksmith as soon as possible. Take inventory of all your valuables and let your neighbors know about the attempted break-in. You may want to have a deadbolt lock installed, rekey, or install a new lock.

Contact Pop-A-Lock for Lock Rekeying and Repair

A trained and highly skilled Pop-A-Lock technician can repair your locks quickly and at an affordable price. We can repair or install all lock brands, models, and types. Our technicians will come to you, always arriving in a marked vehicle and uniform. They are fast, reliable, and have all the tools and equipment needed to get the job done quickly and correctly.

You can always count on the lock and key professionals at Pop-A-Lock for all your lock repair and installation needs. Don’t put your safety at risk by not having your locks installed by a professional. Call 1-800-POP-A-LOCK today if you need immediate service. We are available 24/7 to serve you.

How To Avoid Scammers and Choose the Right Locksmith

There were an estimated 263.6 million registered vehicles in the United States in 2015, and that number is continually growing. There were also an estimated 127.59 million households in the United States in 2018.

That means there are over 400 million locks – if you add business and commercial locks – and over 1 billion keys in the US that can be stolen or broken. The odds are that you or someone you’re with will need to call a Pop-A-Lock locksmith at some point in time.

But how do you know you can trust someone you find on the internet?

Unfortunately, locksmith scamming happens regularly. However, there are signs to look for and tips to know that will help you avoid being scammed. If you know what to look for – and what to avoid – when you get in trouble, you won’t be taken advantage of, or put yourself in harms way by locksmith scammers.

Be Proactive

One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is don’t wait until you’re rushed or panicked to find a trusted locksmith. If you take the time to do research before you need a locksmith, when the time comes you’ll know who to call and feel confident in your choice.

Things to research ahead of time:

  • Should be well-reviewed – If you Google search for “locksmiths near me,” there will likely be a lot of results that come up. One of the first things you should look for is if a locksmith is well-reviewed. They should have a significant number of reviews, and those reviews should be majority positive.

Example of Pop-A-Lock Houston's Google Maps listing

  • Check for licensure and locksmith ID when applicable – A trustworthy locksmith will have a locksmith ID, and will be licensed if in a state that requires licensure. These should be indicated on the locksmith’s website. You can also find out more about state licensing requirements here.
  • Look around on the website – A trustworthy locksmith should have branding, which will be obvious on their website. They will also note things like a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, potentially case studies from past work, a blog providing knowledge and expertise, and more.

When You Call the Locksmith

So, you find yourself locked out of your car at your daughter’s soccer game, or after meeting some friends at the mall. You’ve done some research before on local locksmiths and you feel pretty confident on the one you’ve chosen to call. Once you get on the phone with the locksmith, there are a few things you can look out for, to verify whether or not they’re trustworthy.

Once you get on the phone with the locksmith:

  • Ask for a cost estimate. It’s best to call and talk directly to a technician, so they can get all the details and information they need to give a quote. If possible, it’s a good idea to ask the technician to send the quote in writing as well, after talking to them verbally. Ask up front about any potential additional charges that may come up.
  • Make sure they answer the phone with the company name. Don’t trust a generic answer like “Hello, locksmithing services.” This is a big red flag.
  • Ask about payment methods. Requiring you to pay in cash is another possible red flag, and likely means you should avoid that locksmith.

When the Locksmith Arrives

You found a locksmith that you’ve read about in your research and seemed trustworthy over the phone. That’s great!

Odds are, by this point in the process you would have figured out if a locksmith seems shady or not. But don’t totally let your guard down just yet.

When the locksmith arrives on the scene, some things to look for include:

  • They should be in a clearly marked vehicle and/or uniform. A trustworthy locksmith will show up in a branded company car,  not a personal car, and possibly a uniform as well. At Pop-A-Lock, we guarantee our technicians will arrive in both a clearly-marked car and a uniform to ensure easy identification!

  • Drilling a lock should always be a last resort. Professional locksmiths go through extensive training to ensure they can fix a lock or key with the absolute minimum amount of damage to any car or home. If they say immediately that they’ll need to drill the lock, they are not a professional and not trustworthy. There are some cases where drilling may be necessary, but it will always be a last resort, and the locksmith should make clear that other tactics will not work.
  • The cost should not vary significantly from the quote they gave you. Once the locksmith arrives and sees the situation in person, there may be a small fluctuation in cost due to certain variables. However, the cost change should never be significant, and no work should be done without the approval of the new cost.
  • They should have an ID on them.  As with everyone, this helps confirm they are who they say they are.

Don’t Be the Next Locksmith Scam Victim

Having to choose and meet someone from the internet is always scary. Especially if you’re in an emotional state – like being locked out of your car or home – and might not have time to think clearly or think every detail through.

And, unfortunately, there are people out there willing to take advantage of other people. Particularly of naive people. This doesn’t have to be you, though!

When it comes time for you to pick a locksmith, there are a lot of indicators you can look out for that will quickly let you know whether or not they’re trustworthy. Do your research ahead of time, listen to your gut, don’t trust someone who can’t give you a straightforward answer or seems inexperienced.

Pop-A-Lock is located nation-wide and provides 24/7 mobile, emergency unlocking services! If you find yourself in need of a locksmith, we’ve got you covered! Anywhere, any time. CALL US today!