Finding The Right Automotive Locksmith Is The Key!

by Don Elliott on July 24, 2012

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 the car.

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, recommends that drivers exercise caution when searching for a locksmith. Not all locksmiths are as helpful and honest 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” that includes proper training, licensing, insurance and procedures that you would expect from a security professional. An ALOA member list can be found at
  • If you have roadside assistance coverage, make them your first call. They can refer you to their preferred locksmiths and explain the costs covered by their program.
  • Check with family and friends who may have recently used a locksmith. Locksmiths depend on the confidence of their customers for referrals.
  • Ask for an estimate on the phone about how long it will take for the locksmith to arrive and approximate costs. 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 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, including 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 car locksmiths in an emergency situation can lead to a costly repair.

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.


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