WHEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE YOUR LOCKS?

There are times when things will go wrong with locks and keys. Despite the fact that a superior locksmith in Fort Lauderdale will be available even if it’s after hours, it’s still better to be pro-active instead, so that you will prevent the possibility of most mishaps.

Protecting your home is obviously very important. We all want our place of residence to be a sanctuary, a safe space where you will always feel secure and comfortable. Accordingly, it’s essential to keep all your locks in tiptop condition. Make sure that your front-door locks ~ and any other outdoor locks ~ are always functioning properly, with excellent durability. You’ll keep your loved ones and valuables well guarded when your locks are tough and resilient.

Important Points to Consider 

Rusty Locks

You and your family go in and out the door so many times every day, all day long. As time goes by, locks eventually get worn-out or even rusted, which means they will break easily. If you see any signs of rust, you’ll notice that you’re encountering difficulties placing the key into the lock mechanism, or maybe you can’t even turn the key at all. If this happens, replace the lock. 

A New Home

If you move into a new home, you must replace the locks right away. Since you never know who may still be in possession of an old key to your place, it’s critical that you get your locks changed.

New Roommates or New Tenants

If you rent out space in your apartment or house, or if you have any rental properties, the same rule applies. You must absolutely replace the locks, every time you change occupants. Even if the last residents returned their keys, you cannot be totally certain that they didn’t keep spare copies. If a break-in ever were to happen, you don’t want to have any doubts about former tenants. Keep your property effectively fortified when you have the most reputable and durable locks. 

Deadbolts

If you feel susceptible to an intruder for any reason, and you desire to enhance your home’s security, any locksmith professional worth their salt will advise you to install deadbolts.

Normal Wear and Tear

Worn-out or rusted locks are a major weakness in your security. They get increasingly difficult to open as time passes. Old or rusted locks are easier for an expert criminal to pick and break. If a lock has bad tarnish, rust, or if you notice any other signs of wear, it’s likely time to replace it. If your lock is growing more difficult to open with your key day by day, particularly in cold weather, then you ought to replace it. 

Combination Locks

Do you often lose your keys? Then you may want to think about replacing your regular lock with a combination lock. A combination door lock can be opened using a code number you choose. If the combination input ever malfunctions, or if you ever forget or misplace your code, don’t despair, because most combination locks also have a keyed lock. Change the combination if you ever think that its access may have been compromised, just as you would replace a standard lock if you lost your keys.

Lost Keys

It may take you awhile to admit it, but if you know that your keys are really lost for good, then you need to change your locks as soon as possible. All your exterior locks, which could allow an intruder access, should be replaced. After your outdoor locks are completely secured, then replace any inner locks in the order of your personal security preferences. 

Stuck Keys

Your key can actually get stuck, or even break off, inside a lock mechanism. If there is any issue with an internal lock mechanism, a key will not slide into the lock as effortlessly as it should. If there is any resistance when you turn your key, take it as a sign: It is time to replace the lock. 

Damaged Locks

If your locks are tampered with, vandalized, or otherwise damaged, then it is time to get new locks. Don’t take risks with your security! Replace your locks now. Don’t keep a damaged lock for any significant amount of time, because it will make you vulnerable to additional problems, and make it easier for a robber to get in. 

Break-ins

If the worst happens, and you are burglarized, it’s imperative that you immediately replace your locks. The force involved in the process of a break-in will compromise the lock mechanism’s integrity. A damaged lock will also put you at a greater risk of another theft. What’s more, mechanical failure could easily leave you locked out. You never know if your keys may have fallen into the wrong hands. So replace all your locks as soon as you can. 

Peace of Mind

Your locks do not necessarily have to show visible signs of damage for you to have to replace your locks. Over time, you may forget how many friends, family members, and neighbors have been given spare copies of your keys. Therefore, to expand your level of security, it’s a good idea to replace the locks periodically to maintain your home. You’ll thus have peace of mind, knowing that you are keeping your possessions and loved ones extra safe. 

Going Digital

Do you want to go high-tech? Replace all the conventional locks with digital door locks. This is an ideal way to secure your home, without needing keys at all. Keyless locks have opened new horizons in home security technology. They function with smart devices or remotes; alarm systems with remote codes; keypads; biometrics; and so on. As soon as you get accustomed to it, keyless locks are fairly easy to use. Most include an attractive selection of features that provide additional safety and convenience.

If you’re located any place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and you need to track down a trusty professional Fort Lauderdale locksmith, you may want to think about hiring a mobile expert locksmith on staff at Optimal Locksmith Pro.

Optimal Locksmith Pro: Common Transponder Key Problems

Since 1995, vehicles are required by law to have an immobilizer system. Part of this includes a computerized security mechanism which can only be activated using a transponder key.

Emergency Locksmith

A combination between the words transmitter and responder, a transponder key relies on a small microchip embedded in its plastic head. Don’t confuse these with automotive remotes, though: the keys have many more functions. Auto remotes, by definition, only serve to open and close the door, whereas your transponder chip is supposed to operate the entire vehicle. As a matter of fact, many transponder key models are actually fitted with auto remotes themselves.

While we’re on the subject of keys, it’s also important to remember that not all keys are transponder. Flat metal keys operate solely through the mechanical cuts, and are recommended alongside your transponder as well (it’s always a good idea to have a spare key for your vehicle in case your primary one malfunctions).

But how do transponder or chip keys work? Basically, the chip fitted into the head of the key emits a special radio frequency that matches a pre-programmed ignition code. The door will only open, and the car will only power on, if it receives the right signal from the key – meaning that it is very difficult to break into a car with this type of mechanism in place.

Needless to say, these types of keys offer an invaluable amount of security. With that said, there is always the off chance you may face an occasional glitch. So here are a few problems to look out for, and what to do in each situation.

  • You have a dead or dying battery

This is by far the most common transponder key problem around. Not all transponder keys are operated by microchips and batteries – but if yours is, read on.

Initially, identifying if your issues are the results of a flat battery can be tricky. If you need to press a button multiple times to get the door to work, you could be dealing with either a dying battery or a programming glitch. The best way to figure out which is the most likely culprit is to use an alternative key – if that works, the problem is definitely with the battery.

  • If you’ve lost your transponder key

As much as we try to take care of our valuables, there’s always a chance that things will get lost. Especially when it comes to small components like keys, which can easily fall out of your pocket, or even get misplaced while you were going about your day. Remember what we said earlier about having a spare key on your person? That tends to help in this scenario. A locksmith will have all the specialist equipment to duplicate it for you, so you won’t need to fork out an extensive amount of cash getting one from your dealership. If you don’t have an extra copy and you need to replace your transponder key, a locksmith can do that as well.

What you’ll need in this case is your car’s chassis number, which should be listed in your car’s registration documents, and the transponder chip code which would have been given to you upon purchase. If you don’t have the latter, the automotive locksmith you have hired will need to reprogram either the vehicle’s transponder system or just the ECU unit (in some cases, only the latter is required).

  • Your key is no longer transmitting the right signal

Like we said, a car with a transponder system won’t work unless it receives the right transmission. So for this scenario, you will need to reprogram your key to match the car’s code (in some cases you may need to reprogram the car’s system itself, like in the point above). If you can still access your car, quickly rev your engine on and off eight times in less than ten seconds – this should prompt the car to reprogram the key for you. No luck? You’ll need to get the pros to reprogram it for you.

  • The chip has been damaged

If replacing the battery and reprogramming the transponder show no improvements, you are likely dealing with a damaged chip. In this situation, you may actually need to buy a new transponder key. While locksmiths tend to be the cheaper alternative, this is one of those situations where you should consider going to the dealership itself – that way, you will be able to deactivate the old key so that nobody can access your car. This is a matter of preference, though: a locksmith will help you in this area too.

How can a locksmith help with my transponder key problems?

We’ve already touched on many of the services you can get from a qualified auto locksmith professional. Not only will they provide you with affordable solutions, but they can also help you 24/7 during emergencies. Just to be on the safe side, it’s always best to keep a few locksmith business names handy before you need to call them for an automotive emergency – be it with a transponder key or with any other part of your car’s security.

You should always hire a locksmith that is locally-based, and who has an address you can physically verify. It’s always recommended that you consult with an expert in person: this is a service most professionals offer to their customers free of charge. Things you should always double check include:

  • License and insurance information
  • Client references in the area
  • Full cost breakdown of the services you are looking for
  • A price quote for after-hours services (most locksmiths tend to charge extra for these)

Take the time to shop around and don’t hire a Fort Lauderdale locksmith who pressures you into making a hasty decision.

Optimal Locksmith Pro is always here to help car owners in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We specialize in all things transponder as well as offering an array of automotive services. Our licensed and insured professionals are more than happy to consult with you about your issues, and will gladly answer all questions you may have prior to taking our services on board.

Now you know a bit more about your transponder keys, you will be able to make a wise decision when it comes to resolving some of the most common issues.

Your Safe is Jammed – what do you do?

You have a safe for one reason – to keep your valuables, well, safe! No one can dispute that a locking safe does just that, but what happens when you can’t open it? Ironic isn’t it? Now your cash, documents and jewelry are “safe” from you, too! Don’t worry; there are solutions! Optimal Locksmith Pro offers a few in this post so be sure and read this through and call our shop for a free, no-obligation consultation and more information.

Do you know how many safes there are in the greater Fort Lauderdale, FL area? Thousands and thousands. Once in a while these trusty locking boxes don’t open so it’s best to know what to do in these cases.

Often, people buy antique safes or safes at auctions or estate sales. Many times these safes do not have combination codes or keys to them and are sealed shut. An experienced safe technician or locksmith can get the safe open without damage and be able to provide a new working combination or install a new lock on it so that the new owners can start enjoying its use and protection.

Business Keys

Forget Brute Force!

Optimal Locksmith Pro NEVER recommends smashing your way back into your safe! Sure, being locked out is frustrating and all, but damaging a safe is not the answer! You can destroy the safe completely and incur large repair bills so try and keep calm and forego the temper tantrum!

Don’t Damage The Contents!

Smashing, prying and blasting your way into a safe is not only dangerous and damaging to the safe itself, it can also put your safe’s contents at risk. Think about it; safes contain important items like cash, jewelry, titles, appraisals, flash drives, software, receipts, treasured mementoes, documents, insurance papers, and even weapons. The main reason you put those items into the safe was to protect and preserve them.

So What Do You Do?

Your best choice is to get help from the professionals. This may sound expensive and a hassle but it doesn’t have to be! Just be sure to call the right Fort Lauderdale, FL source and you’ll see. Your first thought might be to call a shop that specializes in safes. Beware! The majority of these shops really specialize in SELLING safes. If you need them installed or repaired, they almost always outsource the job to someone else. That in itself is not bad except that you are now incurring extra bills by adding middle-men to the task. Usually these safe shops simply call THEIR locksmith and add the bill to their own. You can save the extra cost and time involved by calling your own locksmith shop that specializes in safe installation, repair and service. If you don’t already have one, give our Optimal Locksmith Pro location a call. We offer fast responding, 24-hour service that includes professional service for your home or commercial safe. We can open/repair any make or model of safe no matter what size it is or what material it is made of.

Whoever you call to help open your safe, they will ask you for some basic information about it, including manufacturer and model number, or type. You’ll need to describe the problem other than “it won’t open.” You can tell them you forgot the combination or the dial is not working, or that the hinges appear to be sticking. It’s always wise to have your warranty information, purchase receipts and maintenance records handy as well. Being organized like this can save hours of time if you are in a hurry to access your safe’s contents. Don’t laugh; we’ve had customers that needed fast cash or documentation to close a deal and every minute counted!

Is Your Safe Electronic?

When you call for repair or service, you’ll be asked if your safe is electronic. Here in Fort Lauderdale, FL we have a mixture of both, so it’s best that you know what your safe is. Another name for electronic safes is digital safes. Because there are more parts involved, they tend to break more often than “regular” safes. Also, these safes work much like the keyless entry system on cars – if someone attempts too many combinations or codes in an attempt to gain access, the system shuts down as a safety precaution; usually for up to 24-hours.

Sometimes the electronic circuitry shorts itself out and this too can prevent your safe from opening. In addition, the battery unit or other power source may fail. An experienced and skilled safe expert like ours here at Optimal Locksmith Pro will be able to rapidly discover the problem and be able to repair it.

Final Tips

Your safe needs to be maintained, cleaned, and lubricated on a regular basis; at least annually. Like anything else with parts, this makes your safe work better and last much longer. Many Fort Lauderdale, FL lock and key shops offer this service as does our firm. Feel free to call and speak to our Optimal Locksmith Pro friendly staff about your particular safe needs and issues. We offer free consultations, free price quotes, and convenient mobile service that comes directly to your location, and works on site.

Your safe is valuable on its own merit. Sure, you use it to store and protect your valuable items, but consider that you also have an investment in this hardware item itself. As such, it deserves the best care and treatment. If your safe is used for business purposes it can sometimes be a tax deduction, so be sure to treat it as an investment and speak to your tax professional regarding how to list and report its purchase, and maintenance. Whether you store cash and gems in your safe or just keep treasured photos and family heirlooms in it, a working and well maintained safe is always an asset to your security and valuables. It’s always worth the best treatment, so be sure to call on Optimal Locksmith Pro or your favorite Fort Lauderdale, FL lock professional in order to get it.

HERE ARE SIGNS THAT YOU NEED BETTER SECURITY!

Are you the trusting type? Do you believe in the overall goodness of people? If you are easily fooled or feel that it can only happen to the “other guy” then read this post carefully and take our pointers to heart. Everyone (yes, you too!) needs security. Whether it’s at home, at your business, at work or in your car, you need to feel and be safe. This is especially true if you are responsible for others. Parents with children, pet owners, teachers, tour guides, public servants and many others all have the responsibility of taking good care of their human or animal obligations. So how do you know if you need better security without becoming paranoid and cynical? Easy; pay attention!

Residential Locksmith

SURROUNDINGS

Where do you live and work? Where do you shop and dine out? What stores do you frequent and at what times? Being aware of your surroundings can go a long way towards improving your safety and security. It happens on a frequent basis here in Fort Lauderdale, FL and everywhere else. A shopping cart in the store is left unattended, even briefly and someone steals a purse or reaches into one and steals keys, wallets, credit cards or cash.

Small children are especially susceptible. They can wander off, get lost, lock themselves in a trunk, climb onto a balcony, go with a stranger; you name it! Being vigilant at all times is vital; even in places where you’d least expect a problem like home or work.

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

There are pros and cons to living and working in well to do “safe” neighborhoods vs working class “inner city” locations. Older parts of town tend to have higher crime rates due to lower socio economic residents and types of businesses. You typically don’t drive through country club areas and see huge billboards for bail bonds or injury attorneys. Older locations tend to have older and outdated locks and security systems too. Many times crime rates are higher because of the ease involved in actually picking open or prying open cheap home or commercial lock hardware. Fort Lauderdale, FL is home to luxurious mansions as well as to mobile home parks and low rent areas.

Better neighborhoods also have their security drawbacks. Often a false sense of security arises from living with roving security, home alarm systems, manned gatehouses and high surrounding walls. It’s easy to assume that security is “taken care of” and not notice a stranger lurking behind a neighbor’s tree or a car that doesn’t have a visitor card on the windshield parked nearby. Plain and simple, you just can’t stop paying attention to your surroundings. Being aware of your neighborhood, workplace, coworkers and even customers is a huge part of living a more secure home and work life.

RECENT CRIME

Home Lockouts

Have you had a break-in recently? This could spell trouble if you are not careful. Were you home at the time or were you out for the evening or on a trip? Think about it. Was someone aware that you were gone or is your daily routine so predictable that others know when you are in or out? If you were going to burglarize a home would YOU want the owners there? Of course not!

Be smart and take steps to bolster your home security. Start by rekeying your door locks. Even if forced entry was used in your break-in, having new keys adds peace of mind and an extra layer of protection. Rekeying your locks is simple, fast and very affordable. Here at Optimal Locksmith Pro we offer this service to our local customers often with same day appointments. Call for free price quotes and for additional details.

Rekeying your locks allows you to keep the same lock mechanisms as only the interior pins are altered so that new keys must be used. Now, all those spare keys that your kids, friends, neighbors, realtors, contractors and delivery men had copies of will no longer work.

CRUISE CONTROL

Do you travel? Cruises and trips are fun and educational and are often part of the job. If people know you travel however, they can tell others and your home can become a target for vandalism, burglary or even arson. Optimal Locksmith Pro offers several ways to make your home better protected while you are away. Between security cameras, deadbolt additions, garage door locks and mailbox locks there are many ways in which you can bolster your home or business security while you are relaxing on beach somewhere!

ARE YOU A BUSINESS OWNER?

Not every business needs security surveillance but high traffic and high cash commercial enterprises would do well to consider it. You wear many hats as a business owner so you have other duties besides being the “watchdog” and being on the lookout for employee theft, shoplifters or pilfering. Even having vigilant managers on hand often isn’t enough. Don’t let this concern you too much; there are dozens of affordable ways in which you can increase your commercial security without making your firm look like a federal prison and without any interruption of day to day business. Most established commercial locksmiths in Fort Lauderdale, FL will be able to help by providing consultation services, commercial safes, CCTV surveillance, panic bars, high security locks and other smart options.

DO YOU HAVE NICE THINGS?

Do you have valuables at home? We’re not talking about family photos or your child’s first grade plaster hand print. If you have real collectibles, cash or art at home it may be time to consider upgrading your home security system including alarms and lock hardware. Items worth stealing don’t have to hang in your great room either; your garage can contain expensive or rare vehicles, four wheelers, jet-ski’s, boats, motorcycles and even your gun cabinet. Don’t become paranoid but do consider paying a little more attention to your surroundings and how your property can viewed from the standpoint of a crook, kidnapper or thief. Optimal Locksmith Pro offers full service locksmith care for home, auto and business needs along with free, no obligation consultations where we can discuss any and all of the above points.