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Locksmith Services Facts

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Q: When should I call a locksmith?
A: There are many situations in which it is a good idea to call a locksmith. At Capitol City Lock and Safe of Richmond can provide you with any locksmith service that you need. We make keys for homes, offices and cars. We install security hardware (such as deadbolts) and access control systems. We can give you advice for your particular security need. We can help you gain access to your home, office, or car if you happen to get locked out. You name it, we can help you with it. If for some reason we cannot help you with something, we will work with you to assist you to find someone who can. Your safety is our main concern.

Q: Can I schedule a specific appointment time with Capitol City Lock and Safe of Richmond?
A: At Capitol City Lock and Safe of Richmond, we are equipped to handle emergency situations as well as scheduled appointments.

Q: Should I use WD-40 or Graphite in my locks?
A: The answer is easy… Don’t ever use either one in your vehicle locks. WD-40 and similar petroleum based lubricants can, over time dry into a sticky film that not only inhibits the moving parts inside the lock but also traps the dirt and road grime leading to all sorts of lock failure. Graphite is the lubricant of choice for house, office, hotel type locks. In this application it works great. Vehicle locks are a whole different animal. Because the locks come from the factory pre-greased, putting graphite in them is only going to make mud. For the health and longevity of your vehicle locks we recommend using a Teflon or silicon based lube. These are found in most hardware and home improvement stores.

Q: What is a transponder key?
A: A key that has a device imbedded inside which transmits and receives data. These devices contain one of over a trillion unique codes. When the key is inserted into the ignition, the transponder sends a signal to a disc-shaped antenna mounted behind the steering wheel. If the signal is recognized by the vehicles immobilizer, then the engine will start. If the signal is not recognized or has been weakened by damage to the transponder then the immobilizer will shut down vital operating systems to the engine and it will not run. This technology greatly reduces the risk of auto theft and provides a peace of mind for the vehicles owner.

Q: I found my keys after you made a new one and they don’t work anymore. Why is this and how can I fix it?
A: Some vehicles that are equipped with transponder technology require all previous keys to be removed from the system before a new one can be programmed in. This is not a cause for alarm. In many cases you can add these keys back into the system yourself. In some cases however, one of our locksmiths will have to add it in for you. If this has happened to you, then please e-mail or call us, we will be glad to help you.

Q: How is my Transponder key programmed?
A: Every car is programmed differently. Most Transponder keys come preprogrammed with a fixed code. This means that it cannot be changed to match the vehicle. The solution to this is to program the vehicle to recognize the new code. This is done with a variety of equipment depending on the year make and model of the vehicle.

Q: What is a Laser Cut key?
A: Contrary to its name, lasers are not used to cut these keys. This term refers to keys with the milling on the side rather than on the top and bottom. For years only high end manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW used this style of higher security. These days however, A good number of vehicles including Honda, GM, VW, Lexus, Infinity, Volvo, Saab, Audi and many more use them. Getting a copy of one of these keys can sometimes be very difficult. Getting a key replaced when there are no keys can even be a nightmare. That is of course if you don’t call us. We have the ability and equipment to copy, or even generate a new one of these “laser cut” keys. Even better, we come to you! no driving, no waiting rooms, no hassle - We are mobile!

Q: Why should I make sure that I hire a licensed, professional locksmith?
A: Unfortunately, there are many individuals out there who are working as locksmiths but are not licensed. Most of the time these unlicensed, inexperienced, unprofessional "locksmiths" are simply trying to earn as much money as possible and therefore will give deleterious and misguided advice. Often these people do not have any real experience or training in the security industry and are motivated by greed. Only a licensed locksmith can give you qualified advice and recommendations regarding security solutions (both physical and electronic) for your home or business.

Q: My wood door is hard to lock, I have to exert a lot of force to get it locked. What’s the problem?
A: Buildings tend to shift and settle. Wood has a tendency to expand during humid weather and contract during dry weather. This all affects alignment of the hardware on your door. Our expert staff can determine a remedy that best suits your specific situation.

Q: My key is difficult to turn, should I force the key until it turns?
A: Exerting force will likely break the key off in your lock. It sounds like the key you are using has gone out of manufacturer’s specifications due to excessive wear. Your best course of action is to call a professional locksmith to help deal with this situation.

Q: How do I know if the lock on my door is Master Keyed?
A: The only way to know for sure is to have a Professional Locksmith disassemble the lock in question. Most apartment buildings are Master Keyed out of convenience to the Landlord or Property Owner. In the event of an emergency only 1 key is required to enter any suite in the building. The problem that exists is that up to 32 different keys could operate a Master Keyed lock. We recommend adding a second deadbolt to your Apartment door that operates with only one key.

Q: Can I have all of my locks on my house use the same key?
A: Yes, Capitol City Lock and Safe of Richmond can do this. In most cases you can keep your existing locks, you can have us code them alike. This is called "Keyed Alike". We can make an assesment to to see if your existing locks are able to be keyed alike. If your existing locks are not compatible, you may need to purchase additional locks to accomplish your goal.

Q: My keys were stolen, now I need to change my locks, Do I have to purchase new locks?
A: No. it is not necessary to buy new locks. Re-keying locks is usually significantly less expensive than replacing locks. You can have your Capitol City Lock and Safe of Richmond "rekey your locks. Re-keying locks is something that should be done if you have moved into a new residence or lost a set of keys.

Q: What do I do if I lost my keys?
A: Call Capitol City Lock and Safe of Richmond. We can generate new keys for most types of locks!

Q: Can A Choice Locksmithing cut a key from a number?
A: Yes. In many cases keys can be made from the code number of a lock. Security Professionals will require proof of ownership before cutting a key by code to safeguard security.

Q: Is hiring a locksmith when I am locked out of my car the best choice?
Y: Yes, Your vehicle is one of the biggest investments you have. It use to be, anyone could open a locked car using only one tool. However in recent times, auto manufactures have really incresed the security of almost every car. Now a professional with the right tools and techniques is required to open your locked vehicle. By calling a trained professional locksmith they arrive in a service vehicle equiped proper tools and machinery, ready for any emergency. It should be noted that in many places, the police no longer will respond to lockouts unless it is a dire emergency. The more informed police departments do not want to risk doing damage to your car.

Q: What is a Master Key?
A: A Master Key is created when a group of locks are "custom" coded so each lock uses a different key, but a combination is "added" so one key will open all locks. It is a myth that there exists a particular Master Key that will open all locks. In order to Master-key a group of locks the locks must all be made by the same manufacturer or at least have "common" Keyways. In a group of locks that are Master-keyed (MK) each lock is operable by both it's own individual key and the Master-Key. Each individual key operates it's own lock only. The Master-Key operates all the locks in the group. Other systems are also possible using sub-Masters, Grand-Masters, etc.

Q: I have a new car, It has some kind of security device built into the key, do I have to go to the dealer to get a copy?
A: No. Most locksmiths can reproduce these keys. Including the latest high security vehicle keys. In nearly all cases, your locksmith will save you money over the dealer. Believe it or not, your locksmith is usually more familiar with, how these systems work, than your dealer.

Common Locksmith Terms and Definitions

Access Control - This refers to any barrier or device, that limits or prohibits free or unlimited access to unauthorized users.

Blank - A key before any cuts have been made.

Cabinet Lock - A relatively small type of lock designed to be used on drawers, cabinets, pieces of furniture, or thin doors.

Cam Lock - A lock that has an attached cam that serves as the lock's bolt. Cam locks are often used on cabinets, file cabinets and drawers.

Change Key - The key that operates one lock in a master keyed system.

Code - A series of numbers or digits on a key or lock that specifies or references the particular cuts of the key to operate a lock.

Combination Lock - A lock which is operated by local input of a specific series or sequence of numbers or letters is a combination lock.

Control Key - A key used to remove the core from an interchangeable core cylinder.

Deadbolt- A Deadbolt is a lock with a bolt, which requires a deliberate action to extend, and which resists end pressure in the unlocking direction when fully extended.

Door Frame - An assembly of members surrounding and supporting a door or doors, and perhaps also one or more transom lights and/or sidelights.

Door Knob - A doorknob is a popular type of used for opening and closing a door. In its simplest form, a doorknob provides only a place to grab so that the door may be pulled toward oneself. On most modern doors, however, doorknobs can be turned to operate a latching mechanism, which normally holds the door closed. A doorknob may also have a lock built in, though in some cases it is beneficial for the lock to be separate.

Electronic Lock - A lock which is controlled electrically and can be used with Access Control.

Emergency Service - Services provided 24/7 365 days emergency service for your home, vehicle and business incase anything happens. A company that can change locks, open doors anything.

File Cabinet Lock - Any lock used on a file cabinet, a plunger lock cylinder for a gang lock normally used in a file cabinet.

Garage Door Lock - a rim lock mechanism designed for use on an overhead door, which mechanism has a spring loaded bolt which automatically locks the door's bolt mechanism.

Gate - A gate is a moveable or stationary barrier to prevent access.

Key Control - Any method or procedure which limits unauthorized acquisition of a key and/or controls distribution of authorized keys.

Latch - A mechanical device which automatically keeps a door closed until a deliberate action is used to retract it.

Lock - Any device which prevents access or use by requiring special knowledge or equipment.

Lockout - When someone is not able to gain access into a home, vehicle or business.

Locksmith - A person with the knowledge and ability to select, install, service and bypass all the components of an electrical or mechanical lock.

Master - Any keying arrangement which has two or more levels of keying. Allowing one person entrance everywhere while restricting others.

Padlock - A detachable and portable lock with a shackle which locks into its case. Could be either in Key or Combination form.

Rekey - To change the existing combination of a cylinder or lock. This means you will have a new key and your older key will no longer work.

Safe - A substantial, secure container with varying degrees of security and/or fire resistance, used to store valuables against fire or theft. This can be secured with either a key or combination locking mechanism.

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