Austin Locks

Locksmiths Tips!

Should I Change or Rekey My Locks When Moving To A New Home?

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016

Should I Change or Rekey My Locks When Moving To A New Home?

Moving to a new home is as exciting as it is challenging and often there are so many things to do that you might overlook the most important ones like security. As a first time home owner, the excitement of meeting new neighbors, unpacking, organizing mortgage payments and finding new schools for your kids can get you occupied to an extend that your home security gets clearly forgotten.

This should not be the case. If having a secure home with complete privacy is one of your concerns, then you should consider re keying your home or changing the locks as soon as possible. Your landlord or Realtor might not mention who the previous occupants were, and whether they handed over their keys before moving out. Apart from the previous occupants, there are contractors, the neighbors, the plumbers or even other family members who might have been given a copy of the key to your home by the previous owners. All these people are a potential threat to your security and privacy, unless you make an effort to change the locks or re key your locks.

One might argue that my home is a brand new home, hence there is no record of previous owners with copies of the keys thus there is no need to rekey or change the locks. Well, true as that might be, it is important to keep in mind that the contractors or developers keep a master key that can open several homes. Unless you change yours, then it is easy for such developers to get access to your home using the master key. Another possible argument with new homes is that since the locks were installed immediately before you moved in, there is no need to change them. This could be true, but can you trust whoever is telling you there are no copies of the keys? Just because someone says so, doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.
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To change or re-key the locks

After deciding to make this change, what is the best way forward? Re keying the lock implies that the pins and springs are removed and replaced with new pins thus making it possible to open the lock with a different set of keys while the previous keys are invalidated. Re keying can involve alteration of the tumbler; change of water configuration or even for a key exchange. This is normally done by a professional locksmith and can be performed on any lock unless the lock is malfunctioning or if you want a totally different style.

rekey4The main purpose of re keying is to have control and accountability over all the keys that can access your home. After re keying, you can decide how many copies of the new keys you want and who should have the copies. In case the contractor had a master key to your home, there is a possibility of some master pins being left in your locks. These master pins are known to double the number of keys which can operate the lock thus a single lock can be operated by up to 16 different locks. Re keying the locks removes these master pins, thus invalidating the master key or any other copies.

Re keying can also make it possible to examine and correct the errors made during installation of the lock. These problems when corrected make the lock operate more efficiently. During re keying, the locksmith examines the condition of the lock and determines whether or not a replacement is required thus saving you money and time.
Replacing the locks is a more expensive, invasive and a complicated option and should only be chosen if the locks condition can’t allow re keying, if the current locks don’t seem reliable or there is need to upgrade to more strong and efficient locks. Although it is an expensive investment, it is worthy if you think of the people and property that need your protection.

lock replaceReplacing the lock can also allow more convenience for instance if you want to accommodate the needs of persons living with disabilities in your home. Lever handle locks for instance are easier and more attractive to operate as compared to a knob. Deadbolts are also available. One advantage with deadbolts is the ability to use the interior thumb to operate without grasping. Electronic locks on the other hand can be picked if greater convenience is required. Thus, there are several options to choose from while changing the locks which can make your home more flexible and convenient for persons with differing needs.

Thus, to answer the question Should I Change or Re key My Locks When Moving To A New Home? The answer is simple, if the locks can allow, rekey since it is more cost effective in terms of time and money. However, if the lock’s condition can’t allow for instance due to wear and tear, then changing the locks might be the best option. If you want to keep your home secure and private, purpose to do either of this at least as soon as possible after moving in.

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The Process Of Rekeying A Car Door Lock

Posted by on Dec 21, 2015

The Process Of Rekeying A Car Door Lock

Car door locks are quite intimidating; with today’s anti-theft devices re-keying car door services are better off being done by professionals. Even though re-keying of car lock services are done perfectly by professionals, it’s possible to do it yourself provided that you are patient and careful apart from having proper tools.

If you own a car, a need will always arise regarding re-keying of car door locks. For example, if your keys get lost or get stolen, you must never take chances and duplicate a key. Its always risky having your key floating somewhere in an unknown location. Furthermore, the thief who stole the key might be around and may steal your car anytime using the copy of your car key.

It’s for the reasons mentioned above that you must train yourself on how to re-key your car locks.There are several steps necessary in re-keying car door locks. Below is The Process Of Rekeying A Car Door Lock:

STEP 1- Removing the tumbler and the lock

Removing TumblerBegin by removing the car door lock as you work on removing the tumbler mechanism. You will find out that the tumblers that are inside are set in a similar pattern like the previous key that operated your car door lock. Does a readjustment on the tumblers so that they can be able to fit in a pattern of a different key so that the previous key can no longer open your car door lock

STEP 2- Replacing the pins

Replacing PinsReplacement tumbler pins always come in sets. All pins differ in length and are on most occasions labeled using numbers. Put the new pins in the place where the old pins were. Make sure that the new pins do not extend further in comparison with the tumbler’s top. When re-keying more than a single car lock arrange the new pins in a similar order so as to use one key with each and of them

STEP 3- Marking your key blank in preparation for cutting

Insert the blank key inside the tumbler mechanism. Used a scribe or even a pen to mark the positions of all tumblers that are on the blade of the key-blank. These marks must indicate where the key requires to be cut

STEP 4- Cutting the new key

It’s important to use a dremel tool that has a cut off wheel so that you can be able to cut through the grooves of that key. If you cannot afford to have a dremel tool, use jeweler’s files when carefully cutting the grooves into the key-blank. Ensure that you check the fit often and you must be careful so that you do not cut below the marked lines. Patience must be observed when shaping precise instruments like keys

STEP 5- Testing your new key

After you cut the key, make sure that all the tumblers are perfectly flush with the outside edge of the tumbler plug that you are using. After everything is in place, test the new key. Reassemble the door lock mechanism as you try the new key. If you are lucky, the new key will perfectly work and you will have successfully completed the process of re-keying your car door lock. If for any reason the key fails to work, remove your car door lock and cut a new key again

STEP 6-Completion

After successfully making a new key that perfectly fits in the new lock tumbler configuration, adjust the tumblers that are on the other locks so that they can match with your key. Once the key opens all your door locks, reassemble the entire system because you will have re-keyed the whole car already. At this juncture, you should be in a position to take your latest key to any hardware around so that you can have several copies made from the original key that is less problematic in opening the new car door lock that has been configured


  • – – You may need to lightly lubricate the locks when replacing the pins
  • – – In order to prevent losing upper pins and springs from accidentally falling out, its important to work on high-contrast surfaces or over bowls/dishes that catch lock components whenever they fall out

The tools required when re-keying

  • – * Pinning or re-keying set/kit of lock pins
  • – * Cylinder follower
  • – * Ring remover
  • – * Plug follower
  • – * Screwdriver
  • – * Needle-nosed pliers or tweezers
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What Is Proper Pricing For Rekeying Services?

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015

What Is Proper Pricing For Rekeying Services?

Are you thinking of rekeying your locks? Are you looking for a local locksmith who can come to your house to do the rekeying? Do you know how much this is going to cost you? Well, the truth is that the cost you are going to incur depends on factors such as size and experience of the company and where you are located. However, there is usually a base fee which most locksmiths will charge you to cater for typically standard rekeying services regardless of where you are located. So if you are wondering on the cost you are going to pay to have your locks rekeyed, have a look at these aspects.

Service call

Locksmith ContractMost locksmiths, both companies and independent ones will charge you a service call fee regardless of where you are located or the type of service you are seeking to get. Mostly, the rate for service call ranges between 40-100 dollars. This rate covers the cost of having a locksmith visit your home, inspecting and assessing the work to be done, plus a base rate for their service.

Be careful to note any locksmith who just gives you a random figure over the phone without charging you a service fee. It is a red flag and such kinds can be rip offs who want to charge hidden charges. Try your level best to avoid sealing a deal with such people at all costs. They will not quote a service call fee over the phone, but when they come to access the task, they charge you some insane excessive rate. It is therefore advisable that you pay for service call first, instead of struggling to pay an insane figure when the locksmith finally comes home.

Lock cylinder rate

Save moneyFor each lock cylinder you want rekeyed, the locksmith with charge you a figure between 5 and 35 dollars, on top of the service call fee. This is the standard lock cylinder rate for most companies, whether you want the rekeying on one or many doors. So, the question is what determines the exact rate to charge? One thing that has to be taken into account is the base figure in the locksmith’s mind. Additionally, material’s costs, locksmith payment rates, time required to rekey the lock and other similar variables are considered in coming up with a lock cylinder rate. Ensure that when you call a locksmith, they give you both these figures (service call fee and lock cylinder fee). Anyone not willing to give you these two figures and gives you a straightforward figure is discouraged. Call another company as this locksmith may end up inflating this figure when they are done with rekeying your locks. Trust you me, this will be late for you start complaining about their integrity.

Additional factors

When you call locksmiths, don’t expect all of them to charge $50 flat for service call fee and $10 flat for each lock cylinder. This rate varies with the locksmith and the local averages charged by locksmiths in that specific area. In addition to the service call fee and lock cylinder fee, other variables that determine locksmith charges include:

  • Location where you need the service. For example, in a big city like LA, you are more likely going to pay more as compared to somebody in a smaller rural city.
  • Company’s reputation
  • Competitor rates
  • The cost of parts used in rendering the service.
  • The kind of lock to be rekeyed. For example, if yours is an older lock, you may pay more as there is a lot of work needed and also more expensive parts may be used.
  • Whether it is a commercial or residential job.
  • The type of the company. Is it a big or small one? Is it a private or an independent locksmith?

Once these few factors have been taken into account, the figures are added to the base rate charged for service call and lock cylinder to be rekeyed. It is therefore important that you inquire from the locksmith about all these additional factors and how much they will affect the total cost before hiring them.

Be keen to observe any suspiciously low or high quotes as this is a locksmith who does not have your best interest at heart. Call more locksmiths for quotes instead of tying yourself to this one. Avoid those companies who just mention a random figure without accounting for both service call and lock cylinder, they may inflate the figure later. Despite the fact that prices fluctuate, a locksmith should be able to quote these basic rates when asked, for you to make an informed decision on the right locksmith to hire.

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Can All Locks Be Rekeyed?

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015

Can All Locks Be Rekeyed?

There are many different scenarios in which you might need to change your locks. Whether you’ve moved into a new office or home and are concerned about your security (it’s very easy to duplicate keys nowadays) or you’re dealing with a broken lock or you’ve lost your keys, you generally have two options: replacing the lock or rekeying. In some cases, full replacement is unavoidable, but still rekeying is a better option. Not only this process less time, but can be done at a fraction of cost. Let’s have a close look at the rekeying process.

Can all Locks Be Rekeyed?

Yes, it’s possible to rekey most of the key based locks.rekey

How Does Lock Rekeying Work?

It’s a fairly straightforward process in which a locksmith replaces the lock pins located within the lock’s cylinders and altering the tumbler (wafer) configuration so that only the newly cut keys can open the lock. The next rekeying step is cutting those new keys (you can order as many copies as you want). Once your lock has been rekeyed, you won’t be able to use your old keys.

It’s Possible to Setup a Master Key System

A locksmith can rekey most of your locks to work with just one key or you can even opt for a master key system so that certain keys work only on specific door locks while a master key can open all your locks. This is very useful for commercial establishments that want to provide some keys to their employees but still want to limit their access to some areas.

What Needs Rekeyed?

Usually, it’s best to rekey all your locks, but in some cases, when the location has been masterkeyed, just few need to be done. If you want to rekey all your locks, you can assess how many of them need rekeyed by counting the number of places where a key can be inserted in a lock, which is a cylinder.

Most double cylinder deadbolts, common in the US, have a cylinder inside and outside the door. They’re common on doors next to glass windows. If someone were to break your window, they still won’t be able to open the door without a key.

Can It Be Keyed to One Key?

If locks in your house currently work on a single key, there won’t be much problem in rekeying and making them all work on just one key. If you’re using more than one key for operating different locks, it may be necessary to replace some of the locks in order to make entire house or commercial establishment work on a single key. All this depends on the locks you have in your house and the type of keyways they have.

Price to Rekey

saving moneyThis depends on few factors. First, and most important one is the type of locks that are to be rekeyed. Most standards locks used in houses may need a minimum key recharge, but there are exceptions to some types of locks. Some commercial buildings have exit devices, restricted keyways, high security locks and other devices for which you may have to pay more. In most cases, it’s just few dollars more per lock for these devices. It’s possible to rekey most of these locks and is the most economical way to restrict access to any location that may have keys in the wrong hand.

Benefits to Rekeying

The rekeying process is much faster than lock replacement. Usually a locksmith can rekey a lock in about half the time it takes to replace the entire lock. This can be very important if you’re talking about large number of locks in business, where time may be of essence.

Cost Benefits

Another benefit of rekeying a lock of complete lock replacement is lower cost. In many cases, rekeying can save you considerable money, especially when you have multiple locks.


If you want to get rid of multiple keys on your key ring, or are tired of guessing which key fits what lock, rekeying locks in your house or business is a great option. This way, all your locks will be able to work on one single key.

Improved Security

Rekeying locks can also minimize security risk to your business or home. Since you can now control the distribution of keys to your newly rekeyed locks, you will know exactly who all have access. Rekeying is the best way to establish security in your new office or house when its unclear whether the former occupant has keys that still fit the previously keyed lock.

No matter what your reason for changing your locks, rekeying in most cases is be a better solution. This will ensure that you have the convenience and security you need at an affordable price. Give your local Locksmith a call today to set up an appointment.

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