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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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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Does Your Car Key Have A Twin?

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015

Does Your Car Key Have A Twin?

Did you know your car key may have a twin? Have you ever though about this question? If you haven’t then you need to seriously consider about it. Can you imagine somebody else having a key similar to yours? A complete stranger who may live few miles or blocks away can easily access your car without struggling or fidgeting. But like others you might think that chances of this happening are quite slim. It’s true that odds are quite low, but some owners are shocked to discover that another key can easily open their car. Sadly, many come to know of this fact when its too late. The unscrupulous one will have gotten away with your valuables or car. That can be heartbreaking and a big loss. A big thank you to the guys at for all the useful information.

How Does It Happen?

Most people usually leave their car after ensuring its properly locked. They feel confident that once it’s locked nobody can access it since we’re the only ones to possess its keys. And it’s impossible for anybody in his or her right mind to attempt to break in a broad daylight. But did you know that key combination that are used by most car manufactures are quite limited. For instance, top brands such as Toyota, Honda or Ford usually have maximum of 3700 combinations. This means at some point, they’ll have to reuse earlier combinations. This is how most car key twins’ are born. There can be thousands of twins in the country and many car owners come to that the hard way when they lose their beloved car!

What Are The Risks of your Car Key Having a Twin?

Twin Car KeyThe thought of a twin key to your existing can be worrying enough. Can you imagine another person gaining access to your car and decamping you’re your valuables or you walking into a parking lot only to discover an empty space? In some cases you might be luckier to discover a twin in a friendlier manner. For instance, you might discover your Honda Accord shares the same key with the one that your father’s Honda Odyssey. This is after you mistakenly took the wrong key and were still able to unlock the door and also start your father’s car. Strangely enough, these two cars were sourced through different outlets and one of them was manufactured 3 years than the other. What if this discovery had been made by a crooked individual or a stranger?

Car Key Twin Not a New Incident!

According to locksmiths and car dealers, cars with identical keys aren’t a new phenomenon. But, many discover this a hard way after their items or car has been stolen. In fact, there’s even a possibility of twins in electronic keys that use special radio frequencies to close or open the doors. Car thieves know this and are braking into expensive cars by simply using a sophisticated radio relay system that sufficiently amplifies radio signal right the car owner’s house. It’s not just cars that are affected but homes as well.
Usually thieves break in and walk around with a bunch of keys hoping to find a perfect match. You like others are a likely victim.

What Can You Do About It?

car keysIt’s easy to minimize the odds of your keys having a twin by turning to rekeying. Unfortunately, this is not the perfect solution. Rekeying may offer you another key that made with the help of similar tumblers, cut depths or combinations. There’s a possibility of another person owning the twin key. So what’s the best solution? You can go for a higher grade lock; for example, installing good dead bolts. These types of locks and keys are made using entirely different combinations than one used by car manufactures. So chances of similar keys coming from same manufacturer are quite slim. However, it’s important to shop around and look for reputable and popular brands so as to be assured of top notch security.

Although the chances of someone else having a twin to your car key are slim, it’s best to be extra vigilant. Though its easier to smash a window than trying to unlock it using set of car keys, but reality is that car keys with twins do exist. By investing in a new better grade lock, searches on “does my car have a twin?” and related questions could become a thing of past. Get in touch with your local locksmith for lasting solution to your concerns!

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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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Rekeying Locks Verse Replacing Them

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015

Rekeying Locks Verse Replacing Them

Rekeying your lock or replacing, which is the best option for you? The answer to this question may depend upon a number of factors. Factors like the quality of lock that you have, the age of your house or your car vs. Age of your lock, the brand of your lock and the type of lock you have. These factors are what will determine which option will make sense to your home, your car or your business premise.

Rekeying involves altering the inside of your lock such that the old keys won’t work on the lock. Replacing is pretty obvious; it means installing a brand new lock, instead of upgrading what you already have and this is actually what most people go for, simply because it is an easy option and a well-known solution to issues like security, or when they lose their keys. But there are certain circumstances when rekeying is actually a simpler option and an easy one.

When should you rekey?

rekey4Unless your current lock has been irreparably damaged or simply flimsy, rekeying offers the same degree of security just like having a new hardware. However, Rekeying has some more advantages over replacement. First, it involves using hardware that is already installed, which means it is a pretty simpler option. Replacing require a new installation, which is not easy as it may seem and takes a lot of time leave alone being costly. Secondly, Rekeying is a greater way of minimizing security risk since you can be able to control the distribution of the keys to the newly rekeyed lock/s. You can also be able to use the same key on many locks, unlike lock replacement where you will need keys for each and every lock. Rekeying is an economical and much more convenient alternative to replacement. Rekey locks as soon as: A roommate moves out, as soon as you change a domestic helper, after a home renovation project, if you move into a new home or when your keys are stolen or lost. It doesn’t trust your friends or your workers or even your contractors, but sometimes you have no way of being sure that their friends or their employees may have any intention of accessing your home or your business.

However, there are circumstances where replacing is a much better option

When should you replace your lock?

replacing a lock1If your lock has not been working properly, then rekeying may not be able to solve your problem. Installing new hardware may also be able to improve the level of security especially if you have recently moved to a new location. If you want to change the style and the finish of your lock, or maybe you are changing out your door then, replacement is a necessity.

The technology of locks and security is constantly changing, so if you have an old lock, then it is high time you consider replacing them since as lock technology changes so does burglary methods. Old locks are easy prey to criminals so you may need to get the best expert when it comes to installation of a new lock. If your apartment or house was recently broken into, then it is highly recommended that you replace your lock. In most cases if a lock has been tampered with it is very unlikely that it will work and rekeying may not work.

Installation of a new hardware is often much more complicated that you can anticipate and requires the mind of a professional. You can do it yourself, but hiring a professional will not only ensure extra safety but also saves you lots of time leave alone getting assured that the installation has been performed properly and precisely.

So, which of these methods makes sense to your business premises, your home or even your car? Well, each situation is different, and I can give you my best recommendation in terms of cost, time, convenience and appearance. However, at-the-end of the day it is about going for the option that will make you feel the most secure. Rekeying is sufficient for changes in staffs or services while the replacement is the best option when you move into a new space or when you have had a break-in attempt. Either way, It is a job that should be handled by a professional and done precisely.

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