Locked Out? Call a Locksmith

by Don Elliott on September 1, 2011

Nothing can be more frustrating than being locked out of your car or truck. Today’s sophisticated security systems and electronic keys require more than the occasional coat hanger to solve the lockout problem. Police will unlock your car, but only if there is immediate danger to a child or animal locked inside the car.

What to do? The solution is to call a professional auto locksmith who specializes in automotive locking systems. Finding the right car locksmith is not as hard as you might think.

  • Identify the Associated Locksmiths of America logo in the yellow pages, in online ads, or in advertising. ALOA members subscribe to a “Code of Ethics.” The code of ethics includes proper training, licensing, insurance, and procedures that you would expect from a security professional. An ALOA member list can be found at www.findalocksmith.com.
  • If you have roadside assistance coverage, call them first. They can refer you to their preferred car locksmiths and explain what costs are covered by their program.
  • Check with family and friends who may have recently used a car locksmith. Locksmiths depend on the loyalty of their customers for referrals.
  • On the phone, ask for an estimate of how long it will take for the auto locksmith to arrive and the approximate cost of their services. Most locksmiths are mobile services, not tied to a business location. If the locksmith is not in your vicinity, ask for a reference of another locksmith that might be closer. Good locksmiths know each other and will do what they can to provide the best service.
  • Service vehicles should be clearly marked with a company name.
  • The ALOA Positive ID Policy requires that the car locksmith complete an Authorization for Security or Emergency Services form to make sure that you are authorized to have the work completed. Don’t be alarmed if they ask you for identification. They may need a photo ID and your signature before they begin their work. This is a good time to ask for a written estimate of costs as part of the paperwork.
  • If for any reason you are not comfortable with the locksmith’s business ethics, find another locksmith. A good locksmith will do the same, if he is suspicious that you are not authorized to have the lock opened.
  • Keep the number of a good locksmith in your wallet. Shopping for a automotive locksmith in an emergency situation is not a good plan.

Most locksmiths provide 24-hour service. There is usually a minimum fee for mobile service that is based on location, time of day, and type of lock. Base fees range from $40 -$150. Emergency lockout services are typically one fee. If it is necessary to provide new keys or to replace locks, the cost of the material and labor are extra.

There are many different auto locksmiths across the US. Do your research ahead of time. This will help you reach a professional locksmith when you really need one.

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