When people type in “locksmith near me” to find someone to make a car key, they might be surprised to find that the locksmith will ask them several questions. Many customers assume the locksmith will just say yes and then show up. In this article, we will explain some of the questions locksmiths ask and why.
Do you have any working keys?
This is probably the first and most important thing a locksmith will ask when they call you. There are several reasons why they ask this question. One, it clues the locksmith into what level of skill the job might require. The company many have a person on staff that normally only does commercial locksmithing for businesses but in a pinch can unlock a car with a set of specialized tools. The other piece of information they are hoping to learn is how long will the job take. It’s easier and takes less time to duplicate an existing key then it is to decode and cut a new key. Additionally, when all the keys are lost to a car it might require specialized procedures or software to create new keys.
What is the Year, Make, and Model?
This is the second most important question they will ask. Not all locksmiths that make car keys are going to be able to make keys for every year, make, and model. For example, making keys to an Audi is much more difficult than a Honda, Ford, and Chevy. Occasionally, newer models will require specialized keys that are expensive and the company might not have them in stock. Depending on the vehicle, the remote might have specialized functions like remote start, hatch opening, or tail lift. Typically, most companies can provide some type of remote that will provide the basic functions to the car such as lock, unlock, and panic but might not have the more advanced features.
Does the same key work on the door and the ignition?
This question often confuses and surprises people. Most people wouldn’t imagine a scenario where the key wouldn’t match for the door and the ignition. In cases of repossession and attempted theft, the locks on the car might get damaged. Afterwords, the locks might need to be replaced and the person replacing them might not key the door and ignition to match. If the door and ignition don’t match the locksmith will have a lot of extra work because they essentially need to do twice the work.
Where is the vehicle?
People will often answer where they are located and not where the car is located. For example, the person might be over a friend’s house in University Heights when their vehicle is at their home in Beachwood. This doesn’t make much of a difference if one of our locksmiths is in Shaker Heights but we’ve had cases where customers were over 45 minutes away from their car! After getting an address, the locksmith company can determine which locksmith should go to the job and provide the customer with an estimated arrival time.
Is there anything else we should know?
This catch all question can provide some odd responses. A lot of odd things can happen to vehicles and this question might prompt a potential customer to provide some helpful information. Sometimes cars will have broken doors, known electrical issues, dead batteries, or other issues that help the locksmith determine pricing, difficulty of a job, and a better estimate for how long the job will take to complete.
If you call up Lock Alchemy for a car key in North East Ohio, we may ask you several questions but you are always welcome to ask us questions! Please feel free to email or call us, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about car keys!
Lock Alchemy is a premier provider of transponder keys in the Greater Cleveland area and especially in the East Side Suburbs such as University Heights, Beachwood, and South Euclid.
There seems to be a lot of confusion around transponder keys and chip keys. Transponder or “chipped” keys have an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip inside the head of the key or embedded inside the remote. In order to start the vehicle a correctly cut key must be inserted into the ignition. Additionally, the transponder chip must match the vehicle. There is no standard chip that is used in car keys. Different manufactures use different types of chips in different car makes and models. The transponder chip must be programmed to the vehicle which can be done with either an onboard programming procedure or a using a car programmer connected to the car’s OBD.
These chips were added in order to provide additional security and reduce car theft. A person can not simply force the ignition over with a screw driver or even drill it and force it over. When the correct key is inserted in the vehicle, the car verifies that the RFID chip matches the car. The component that checks if the transponder is a correct is called the immobilizer. If the car does not recognize a properly programmed chip it will not allow the vehicle to be moved.
There are several types of immobilizers and they each work in different ways. If a correctly programmed transponder chip is not present, some vehicles will not crank at all and others allow the engine to crank but no fuel will be injected into the engine resulting in the car not stopping. Some other immobilizer systems allow the car to start for a couple seconds but then will shortly cut off the engine. Regardless of how they work, the immobilizer system will not allow the car to be moved without a properly programmed chip.
A lot of people are under the impression that they do not have a transponder key. This is often wishful thinking, as most cars made in the last 20 years do indeed have immobilizer systems with transponders. If the vehicle was made in the last 10 years it’s almost certain that it has a transponder key. There are a few exceptions however, like fleet vehicles and some Asian made cars.
How long does it take to make a transponder key?
It varies depending on a number of factors. Some vehicles are more difficult by design, some are easier. Here are some other factors that can make the process take longer.
1) The car battery is dead
2) The car has or did have an aftermarket starter
3) The car was stolen
4) The driver’s side door key and the ignition don’t match
5) The lock is particularly difficult to pick
Losing your car keys is not fun. Some customers are very patient with the whole process and some customers seem to not understand the process. You don’t really want it to be too easy to break into your vehicle and make a car key right? The process does take time and we try our best to explain why it sometimes take longer than expected. Believe us when we say that we want it to go as fast and as easy as possible ourselves. We charge a flat rate for our services, not by the hour, so we have an incentive to complete the job as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Lock Alchemy carries a large assortment of transponder keys for your automobile needs, often less than dealerships and almost always more convenient.
Monday- Friday: 10am-5pm
We operate on most federal holidays. If you need service outside of our regularly scheduled hours please do call and we may have availability.
PO Box 210141
1568 S Green Road
Cleveland, OH 44121
Beachwood, Bedford, Bedford Heights, Brook Park, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Euclid, Fairview Park, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Linndale, Maple Heights, Newburgh Heights, Orange, Parma, Parma Heights, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights and Warrensville Heights.
Westside: Amherst, Avon, Columbia, Elyria, Firelands, Lorain, North Ridgeville, Oberlin, Sheffield, Vermilion.
Lorain County, Medina County
Blue: All Services
Green: Locksmith Services
Purple: Commercial Locksmith & Security Services
We DO NOT accept Zelle or Venmo