Can a locksmith steal my car?

Yes. But don’t worry too much. A lot of people are surprised to hear this. When a person loses all the keys to their car and a locksmith comes to unlock it and make new keys/make a remote – they are doing all the same steps they would take to steal the car. It’s just that the owner of the vehicle is there and it’s an authorized and legal service. Security and ant-theft devices on a car make it more difficult for criminals to steal cars but they don’t make it impossible. It’s the locksmith’s job to bypass these security measures and make working keys/remotes for the vehicle.

Why don’t locksmiths steal cars?

Because it’s illegal, not nice, and an overall not smart thing to do. Firstly, stealing cars is very illegal. There are long prison terms. There are also a number of features cars possess that make the likelihood of getting away with it very slim. All cars have a VIN number that is used to trace the car and record important details like accidents and sales. Additionally, cars require a title in order to get plates and licenses. So anything driving a stolen car will probably get caught pretty soon. Secondly, I’d like to believe that most locksmiths are more honest than turning into petty criminals. Lastly, if you get caught stealing a car it’s highly unlikely you’d ever work on the locksmith industry again. Locksmiths can make car keys without an owner present. They do it frequently for car lots, car reposessers, and buy here pay here lots. Locksmiths have ways of verifying ownership and being compliant with local and state laws.

How Does a Locksmith Know it’s My Car?

This is an excellent questions. The exact details and information that is required may vary by state and local laws. The locksmith will required to follow those. As a rule of thumb, recording an ID, taking a picture of the license plate, recording the VIN number, and viewing the title to the car are good practices. In reality, these may not be readily available, especially in a lockout situation where the person might not have access to all of those things before the job is completed. Most locksmiths get a good sense for people and can determine if the person sounds legitimate and that their story checks out.
It would be a very odd crime to pay a locksmith to commit a crime for you. Firstly, there would be a documented call and possibly even a phone recording. Locksmiths generally take good documentation and pictures during jobs creating more evidence. Lastly, if the person paid with a card they would have another piece of evidence linking them to the crime. Even if they paid with cash, the locksmith would generate a receipt for the transaction, creating yet another piece of evidence. Lastly, the locksmith would be a witness to the person at the vehicle and would be able to identify the persona and testify against them in court.  Given all of this, it would be very unlikely for someone to use a locksmith to steal a car.

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.