Home Buyer Tips: Don’t Forget the Locks!

Most home buyers feel a great deal of pride and satisfaction the moment the keys to their new home are presented to them. However, it’s essential for new home owners to understand that those keys may have been in the hands of the previous owners or tenants, as well as anyone else they entrusted with them during their stay. This brings about the question of whether or not to change the locks or simply to have them rekeyed. Either way, to protect the new home owners property and, it’s a good idea to do one or the other.

Considerations When Replacing Locks

Replacing locks is often recommended for owners who suspect the ones currently installed are compromised or are in poor condition. It’s also ideal for those who may want to upgrade to a more modern (i.e. more safe) residential door lock. However, changing all of the locks that give access to the home might become costly, depending on how many need to be replaced. Costs will also increase if deadbolts also need replacing or if owners want them installed for additional security.

Homeowners should also consider the time and complexity involved in replacing locks. The process can take some time and there is also the need to have a bit of knowledge concerning choosing the best door locks for their needs. When taking this route, consider the pros and cons of smart locks and electronic keypad locks in addition to traditional options. A reputable local locksmith can prove to be invaluable when making these decisions.

Residential Lock Rekeying

If the home’s locks seem secure and are satisfactory, then rekeying them may be a simpler and more affordable option. Rekeying traditional locks involves altering the tumbler so that it will only work with an updated key. This means that home owners will also have to have new keys molded and cut.

Those in need of smart lock rekeying may need to reprogram a keypad unit or alter the codes of swipe access cards. While these procedures sound rather simple, they are not the easiest feats to accomplish without a bit of experience and locksmithing know-how. As a side note, homeowners are advised to also give consideration to rekeying or recoding their electronic garage door openers at this time, as well.

The Importance of Calling a Professional

New homeowners should seriously consider calling a professional to replace or rekeying locks. Home security is a place where cutting corners or a DIY project gone wrong can not only jeopardize any valuables stored inside, but also the safety of a household. An experienced locksmith will have all of the right tools, skills, and know-how to help homeowners feel safe and secure in their new place. Additionally, new homeowners might want to get a home security inspection to make sure other aspects of the home’s security are up to snuff.

Mercedes Benz Keys Now Available

We are pleased to announce our expanding ability to now program Mercedes Benz Keys!

mercedes benz key

 

Prices

$225 for a duplicate Mercedes Benz key cut and programmed into your vehicle.

We can also generate keys if you have lost all of your keys.

Here is a chart of the year, make, model and function we cover for Mercedes Benz:

Model Chassis Type Model Year Add Key Lost Key
A-Class W169 2004-2011 Yes Yes
B-Class W245 2005-2011 Yes No
C-Class W203 2003-2007 Yes Yes
CLK-Class W208 2001-2002 Yes Yes
CLK-Class W209 2003-2008 Yes Yes
C-Class W202 1997-2002 Yes Yes
C-Class W204 2007-2011 Yes No
E-Class W210 2001-2002 Yes Yes
E-Class W211 2002-2007 Yes Yes
E-Class W212 2009-2010 Yes No
CLS-Class W219 2004-2009 Yes No
S-Class W220 2001-2005 Yes Yes
S-Class W221 2005-2011 Yes No
Cl W215 2001-2006 Yes Yes
Cl W216 2005-2011 Yes No
Sl R230 2001-2009 Yes No
SLK R171 2004-2009 Yes No
G-Class W463 2002-2011 Yes No
R-Class W251 2005-2010 Yes No
M-Class W164 2005-2010 Yes No
GL-Class X164 2006-2010 Yes No
Vito/Viano/Vaneo X639 2004-2012 Yes Yes
Sprinter W906 2005-2012 Yes Yes

If you would like a Mercedes Benz key call 541.632.3968.

Volvo Keys, Remotes & Fobs Now Available

We are pleased to announced that we now have OEM access to program all makes, models and years of Volvo Keys!

 

volvo keys, remotes & fobs

Here are some general prices for OEM duplicate keys:

$160 for high security key cut and programmed into vehicle
$125 stand alone remote (must purchase key too)
$200 for remote smart keys programmed into vehicle
$280 Remote head flip keys programmed into vehicle

Notes:

  • We will match or beat any local prices
  • These are estimates as the date of this post. Prices may change.
  • If you are purchasing multiple units simultaneously a significant programming discount will apply.

If you would like to get an additional key made for you Volvo call us at 541.632.3968 with the year, make and model.

P.s. if you have lost of all your keys we can come out and generate keys on site.

Common Construction Mistakes with Locks and Users

Regularly we get called out to new construction projects or remodels towards the end of construction as the user is taking over their new space. This is a time of transition where the small things on a job are often overlooked and become noticed. One of these is the lock hardware and user needs of keys.

This blog post covers common mistakes that are overlooked by both contractors and users when remolding or adding buildings. We recommend working with us in advance to save you money by doing it right the first time. Here are some mistakes, examples and ways to avoid them.

Common Mistakes

  • Incompatible key ways
  • Incompatible hardware
  • Ignoring user function and access
  • purchasing pre packed master key systems

Incompatible Key Ways

Incompatible key ways are the most common mistake we see. For example, an existing building uses Russwin cylinders and the keys and the contractor installs Sargent cylinders. In order to get the building back to one keyway the customer has to purchase Russwin cylinders . The client ends up purchasing locks twice.

Ways to avoid it

Have the contractor or locksmith spec the new cylinders to match the existing cylinder type and manufacture.

Incompatible Hardware

Another common mistake we see is installing different manufactures hardware. This can cause incompatible keyways, additional hardware to have on hand for maintenance and additional keys.

For example, there was an apartment complex that used Best Interchangeable Cores (IC) for their residents. Then they added a club house where the contractor installed Schlage hardware, so not only was the keyway incompatible but the Schlage hardware would not accept a Best IC. In order to get the user back to one key system the hardware had to be replaced to accept Best IC.

Ways to avoid it

Have the contractor or locksmith spec the hardware to match the existing hardware type and manufacture and/or at least be compatible with the existing system.

Ignoring user function or access

A smaller issue we see is that when new locks are installed the most common function – entry (53) for an office or front door is used. But storage doors that should always be locked and only opened with a key, then need to be replaced.

Ways to avoid it

Discuss the function and use type for each door. The five most common functions are entry (53), storage (80), classroom (70), passage (10) and privacy (40).

Purchasing Pre Packed Master Key Systems

This issue is mostly found among multiple building complexes. The contractor normally orders a master key key system from the factory with the hardware, per building as each building gets built. But the problem you can have for example, is at a six building apartment complex the end user has six master keys (s)he has to carry that  are not compatible. When if done correctly the user should have one master key because they are managing the whole complex.

Ways to avoid it

Consult with locksmith and user groups to customize master key system to their specific needs.

These are some of the common mistakes that we find when we are called in to setup a masterkey system for the final users as they take posession and they are not happy to have to pay for items twice. The simple solution is to consult with us, your locksmith, at the beginning, during and for the final transition of occupying the space.

Ideally, we can order the right hardware and cylinders to match your existing system. Then only pin the cylinders to the master key or user needs – once. Doing the full job right the first time.

Let us know if we can save you money doing it correct the first time by calling 541.632.3968.

Broken Lexus & Honda Remote Head Key Shells

Do you have a Lexus or Honda remote head key that is cracking? Or has it already split in half near the blade? No worries, this is a very common problem and we can fix it!

Problem

The problem stems from the lack of plastic holding the brass mechanical blade that uses the turning force for your locks. This happens on remote head keys because the shells are more spread out in order to hold the remote circuit board.

 

What it looks like

Here are a few pictures of customers Lexus and Honda remote head keys shells that are either taped together or broken apart.

empty broken lexus remote head key shell
empty broken lexus remote head key shell

 

taped honda remote head key
taped honda remote head key

How we fix it

The fix for these is to provide a new key shell and cut it for you. then move over the remote and transponder chip components into the new shells. This takes less than 15 minutes.

broken lexus remote head key shell next to fixed new one 2
broken lexus remote head key shell next to fixed new one

We stock the lexus and honda remote shells so we can take care of you the same day. As of 7/15/15 you are looking at $60 to provide the shell, cut the key and transfer the components over.

If you need your Lexus or Honda remote head key shell fixed just give us a call at 541.632.3968.

Access Control Options & Checklist

We regularly receive residential and commercial requests about access control options for doors. There are many options to choose from and we can make what you want happen. The locks range from $150 – $2,000+ per unit depending on the features you want.

Here is a short buying guide to help you choose the best lock for your needs and some basic recommendations we commonly make.

Features Checklist

Features

Answer / Yes or No

Users
# of User Codes Need
Lock Type
Mechanical Only
Eletronic
Access Options
Keys
Buttons / Pad
Touchscreen
Swipe Card
Proximity Cards
FOBs / Remotes
Bluetooth
Internet
Locking Options
Lever / Knob
Deadbolt
Exit Device
Mortise Cylinder
Mag Lock
Connectivity
Blue tooth
Wireless
hard wired
networked
Software
Schedules
Advanced audit trails
Integrated systems

Recommendations

Residential

For residential homes we recommend Schlages Keypads, Touch Screens or Connected Devices. 

Commercial

For commercial applications we recommend Kaba Ilco’s Simplex Series or Eplex Series.

We can supply any of the locks and install them. Call us at 541.632.3968 if you have any questions or would like to discuss options.

Is your door stuck shut even though the lock turns?


Is your door locked from the inside and outside, even when you have a key and it turns? If so, we see this every month. Typically your latch is broken.

A latch is the spring loaded piece on the edge of your door that connects between the door and door frame. After 6-12 years they break from us. We most commonly see Kwikset latches malfunction like this.

What we have to do is come out dissemble your door know and manually retract the latch. Then replace it with a new one.

Here are some pictures of the latch damaged and out.

damaged latch

broken latch removedIf you need us to come out, open your door and remove you latch call us at 541.632.3968

 

Did You Lock Your Keys in Your Mercedes or BMW Trunk?

Were you unloading groceries and/or packing, then set your keys in your trunk and have the lid close? Don’t worry we did two in the last seven days, a 99 Mercedes Kompressor and 08 Mercedes C Class so you are not alone.

We can get your keys out. Even if it is a high security BMW or Mercedes with a deadlocked truck. Here is how:

First Option – Conventional Opening

The first and easier way is to come out and open the cab of your car. This works if you have either (a) a manual inside trunk release or (b) the back seats fold down from the inside.

If you have an electronic trunk release that gets locked down  when the alarm sounds or the back seats fold down from the inside of the truck such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and more. Then we move to step two.

Second Option – Bypass Method

On most Mercedes, BMW’s, Audi’s & Volkswagen’s there is a bypass method that de activates the alarm and unlocks the trunk. For security reasons we cannot show or explain to you how to do this.

Third Option – Make a Mechanical Door Key

The third option is to make a mechanical emergency key to unlock your trunk. This is the case for most Mercedes and BMW when the smart keys have set the alarm before being locked in the trunk. Yes, you do have an emergency key hiding inside your smart key or proximity box with a hidden mechanical lock on your trunk – for this very occasion.

Making a mechanical key takes about 30 minutes. Here are some shots from the last episodes.

mercedes hidden trunk lock
Mercedes hidden trunk lock under the lip in the upper left hand corner.
mercedes high security door lock
A dissembled Mercedes high security door lock.
cutting mercedes high security key
The 3D Xtreme cutting a Mercedes high security key.

 

Will a Used Prox or Smart Key Work or Not?

Customers bring us and ask whether the more economical used proximity box or smart key they find online will work or not.

Even though it is the correct part, the issues come during programming because certain manufacturers products, once married to a particular car, cannot be re-married to another car, where others can.

Here is the short list of when and where used proximity boxes and smart keys will work and when they will not:

Manufacturer Used Need New OEM
Acura/Honda Yes No
Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge Yes No
Ford/Lincoln/Mercury Yes No
GM/Buick/Cad/Chevy/Olds/Pontiac No Yes
Hyundai/Kia No Yes
Nissan/Infinity Yes 2013+
Mazda Yes No
Toyota/Lexus Maybe Yes

Do Not Duplicate Keys Policy

We frequently receive requests to both copy “do not duplicate” key and/or to provide them for clients. This can be a controversial item so here is a short post on how we address it.

“Do Not Duplicate” or any similar wording, stamped on a key is a false sense of security. There are no laws stopping anyone from not copying it. Although, it does provide some psychological resistant as many hardware stores and some locksmith will not copy a Do Not Duplicate Key.

do not duplicate keys

Our policy is to explain this to the customers asking, and let them decide.

We do copy “Do Not Duplicate” stamped Keys. If you would like true key control, that is where no one can get a copy of it made, that exists and can be provided for your security.

Here is our full policy:

Do Not Duplicate Keys: Orders for keys stamped “Do Not Duplicate” or similar wording will be handled in the same manner as any unrestricted keys .  Team members should inform the consumer that the use of keys stamped “Do Not Duplicate”, or similar wording, is not effective security, and further that the use of such words is deceptive because it provides a false sense of security. Consumers who desire effective security should purchase a patented key control system rather than rely on a “Do Not Duplicate” marking. This does not apply to keys protected by law.

Automotive Specialist