Your Locksmith Needs This Information

Barry Campbell
Written by Barry Campbell
Updated May 31, 2016
door lock
Telling your locksmith what type or brand of locks you are having problems with can help them fix the issues faster. (Photo by Ashton Hansen)

When you're locked out or a door lock fails, give your locksmith this information to get inside faster.

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Many people develop a relationship with a locksmith to service, maintain and upgrade the security of their home or business. However, too many don't call a locksmith until it is too late — when a lock has failed or someone has misplaced or stolen the key.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is helpful if you understand what the locksmith needs to know in order to provide the best service to you. If you call a locksmith in an emergency situation, be prepared to provide as much of the following information as possible.

The locksmith will probably ask you several questions regarding your situation, but even if they do not, the more information you can provide, the better. It will allow the locksmith to have a better understanding of what you need. Plus, he or she can give you a more accurate evaluation of the problem and estimated cost.

What to tell a locksmith when you're locked out

How many locks may need to be bypassed in order to get in? Is the entry lock, deadbolt, storm door or security gate locked?

What’s the type or brand of lock? There are specific bypass techniques that only work with certain locks. This may mean they are easier or more difficult to bypass, but having the information up front can help the locksmith assess the situation.

For example, one major lock manufacturer sells two different types of locks. One type uses standard pins in the locks and is usually easily pick open. The other type does not use standard pins and cannot be picked, but it is susceptible to a variety of other bypass methods. Be warned that many of these alternative techniques may cause some damage to the lock, but the locksmith can also readily open them with no damage using the proper tools.

Are alternative entry points available? Let the locksmith determine the best point of entry. Some folks believe deadbolts are impossible to pick open, but there is no truth to that.

Is there an accessible door that has locks keyed the same as the locks you need to bypass? This often happens when a home has an attached garage. The garage door has been opened by remote, and the door into the house is locked, but there is another door that is accessible leading from the garage to the outside. Disassembling one of the locks on the accessible door to make a key may be the simplest and most cost-effective way to get you inside your house.

In general, the first method of gaining entrance to a home is to pick the locks, which causes no damage. There may be situations where other damage-free methods may be applicable and preferable. Drilling, or otherwise causing damage to a lock, should always be a last resort for a locksmith to use only after other methods have failed.

Do you have a key? This sounds like a silly question, but it is not unusual for a customer to say they are locked out when it would be more accurate to describe the situation as a lock failure.

What to tell a locksmith when a lock fails

Is the lock accessible from both inside and outside? When a lock has failed and you are effectively locked out with no access to the interior, repairing it may not be possible.

Does the lock seem to function fine when in the open position, but not when closed? This would indicate it is not really a lock problem, but rather a problem with the latch, deadbolt, strike or door alignment. In fact, most problems result from poor latch, bolt, strike or door alignment. Sometimes, these problems will lead to an actual lock failure if not corrected.

Does the key turn in the lock but not seem to do anything? This is a situation where access to the interior side of the door can mean a simple repair but, if you are locked out, may require destruction and replacement of the lock.

Info helps locksmiths fix the problem

Again, knowing the type and brand of lock can be very helpful to the locksmith. Your locksmith is very aware of common weaknesses of different brands and types of locks.

No one likes surprises in these situations. Providing accurate information to your locksmith will best enable them to assess the situation and provide you with the most accurate cost estimation before they arrive at your home.

As of May 31, 2016, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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