Learn the Difference Between Automotive Key Types

Did you know that not all automotive keys are made the same? It may seem surprising since every car you’ve owned seems to have had a similar key, but there are actually different types with a variety of features and all at different price points.

Aside from your traditional key, you’ll find anything from master keys to smart keys and everything in between. Take a look at the ways cars were open years ago through a traditional key and how technology has brought about modern options like the smart key.

Basic car key

The basic car key or traditional option is what you’ll find if you have an older vehicle or one that you may remember from back in the day. These are the ones that you can easily make a copy of at the hardware store and they can hook easily on your keychain. The reason that car keys have evolved from this option are many, but one reason is that they lack really any security features.

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If you still have a car with a traditional key, you may have had a security alarm installed or purchased an electronic key fob to help prevent theft of your car. These inexpensive keys don’t provide any encoding, can be made with any machine that cuts metal, and are outdated since better options have come out.

Master keys

In addition to your traditional car key, you may have been given a master key as well. These were meant to have copies made from them and to not be used for daily use since they were much more expensive than the basic key. Not only are they expensive to replace, but some old owners had to replace their engine management system if they were to lose them. Your used car purchase may come with a master key today.

Transponder keys

A key that’s been around since the mid-90s would be the transponder key, which offers a more secure option than your traditional key. These actually have microchips in the key handle so that when you start your engine, the sensor can respond to activate the transponder.

These can be replaced by your locksmith if lost. If you have a rolling code key version of the transponder where the key has to send a new code each time your car is used, it would be more expensive to replace when lost. These keys were the answer to car theft in the 90s.

Switchblade keys

Another popular car key is the switchblade key where the base retracts from the head of the key fob. These are great for keeping your car keys smaller in your pocket since they fold back up when not in use. It folds up like a switchblade knife and can be replaced if lost.

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Remote control car key

Your favorite way to open the car, the remote control car key is the device that allows you to lock and unlock your car. Hit the button you need to lock or unlock, and many come with an alarm system too. The infrared signal or radio transmitter sends a coded message to signal to the car what to do.

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Smart keys

Today, you have the newest version of locking and unlocking your car: the smart key. These were developed by Mercedes-Benz in the late 90s to offer a new, modern version to the old car key dilemma. They wanted to bring technology into the solution and give a new sense of protection to car security. It works as an electronic access and authorization for your system, meaning that it doesn’t actually require you to have a key to use.

You’ll simply hold on to your smart key, keep it in your pocket, and the car will work when it can sense that the smart key is within the presence of the car. Just touch a button to unlock the car and your settings will be applied, like your favorite radio station and seating position. You don’t have to ignite the engine with a key but just with a push of a button as long as the key is within distance of the car. When you walk away, your car will likely lock itself. These are great for security since they use rolling security codes that randomize the immobilizer.

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If you’ve ever wondered why everyone has a different car key or what the differences are, this guide explains what the different keys do for different purposes. That’s a look at the difference between your automotive key types.

The most common lock problems and how to inspect them

Are you suspicious of a lock problem at your home, office, or car? Whether it’s just been a long time since you’ve had them inspected, you’re preparing for a trip and want to keep things secure, or your lock just seems off, it’s never a bad time to have locks inspected. Securing your home, car, or office is an absolute must and it’s not something to put off. Take a look at some of the most common lock problems that cause homeowners to call the locksmith faster than ever.

The lock is loose or faulty

If you’ve discovered your lock seems a bit loose or it seems to be faulty, call your locksmith to get it replaced or repaired. A faulty lock is one in which the internal mechanism is worn or possibly broken, while a loose lock can happen from old age.

A loose lock is easy to unlock with the right tool or sometimes even a hairpin.  Don’t let either of these situations cause you to think you can let it go on like that; call a locksmith to have it handled since you are leaving your lock at risk of being compromised.

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Your key broke or got stuck

If your key got stuck or broke in the lock, call the locksmith before you go anywhere. New keys sometimes get stuck but they can be removed by a locksmith who can also lubricate it to avoid that happening again in the future.

Don’t force anything in either scenario; you could damage your lock. When a key breaks inside of the lock, typically from too much force, a locksmith will need to bring special equipment to help you out and make you a new key. Don’t try to pull the key out if its stuck or broken and sticking out since you could damage your lock.

The lock froze

During the winter months, it’s easy to have a frozen lock, especially on your car. Watch out this winter as the temps become harsh as your doorknobs may become more difficult to turn. In an emergency, you can try applying light heat, but overdoing it can cause permanent damage. Your best bet is to call the locksmith who will know how much heat to apply to avoid damaging it.

It’s warped

Lastly, a warped lock is one of the most common problems locksmiths come across. This can happen with age and poor weather conditions. A warped lock can cause the locking points to not work, which means that you’ll be unable to lock the door. Luckily, the locksmith can easily and quickly fix this problem to get you on your way.

Along with these common lock problems, watch out for issues like a key that is hard to turn or won’t work, a dropped door for a UPVC door, a faulty cylinder, and a clogged mechanism. All of these common lock issues are just a phone call away from being corrected and getting you back to your day.

Do I Need a Security Camera? Some things to Consider...

Are you considering adding a security camera to your home or office to make it more secure? These are becoming increasingly popular for their effectiveness and advancements in technology. It’s a great way to watch out for criminals, watch for internal theft in your office, keep an eye out for quality assurance, and just feel a peace of mind. Take a look at why you need a security camera, what it can be used for, and what you should know before making the purchase.

Criminal watch

One of the biggest reasons that people get security cameras is to watch for criminal activity. Whether it’s protecting your home at night or while you’re away, or having your office on watch during the night, crime detection can happen to anyone and by having proof on camera it will only help you recover your items or catch the thief. Most of the time when a criminal sees a camera, they will be more likely to leave to avoid getting caught doing something illegal.

At the office

There are a couple of great reasons to get cameras at work. If you want to make sure you’re getting the quality you expect from your suppliers, have cameras put up for quality assurance. Whether you’re a food manufacturer, a company that has to prepare shipments to your customers, or you want to make sure your sales staff is taking care of your customers properly, putting up cameras will remind your staff that they are being watched and need to perform to their best ability.

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If you’ve ever worried about theft happening within the building, it’s a great way to catch any of this in the moment. Internal theft can be a large problem for companies that don’t realize it’s happening since it can go on for a long time and start to add up.

Whether your staff is taking home office supplies or something more serious, like internal records and sensitive customer data, this can become a financial problem or a legal problem. Having cameras up will deter your staff from getting any ideas, while at the same time giving you a chance to see if there are other issues in the office that are slowing down productivity.

Don’t forget claims made in the office that could cost you. Be extra cautious in case someone files a harassment claim, somebody slips and falls in the parking lot, or a customer says they didn’t get the service they expect, you’ll have it all on camera. These types of things can cost you a lot of money, but if you have proof something didn’t happen as it was claimed, it will likely get dropped.

Things to look for in a camera

While it’s nice to have the visual recorded for covering your company or your home’s security, you’ll want to be sure to avoid recording audio. There is an Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 that restricts audio recording.

Keep in mind that just like any other technology, security cameras can be hacked but you can stay secure by updating your password that accesses the cameras on a regular basis. Be sure to choose one that is higher-end and can see up to 100 feet in HD, because the lower-end versions will only reach 30-40 ft. at best with low quality. You’ll also want to look for features that apply to you, such as night vision, video playback, video recording, and have notifications sent to you when motion is detected.

Then decide where you want to place your cameras and if you want them visible or not, since a hidden camera will catch things that normally would happen while those doing the action wouldn’t know they are being watched. Keep in mind that a wired camera tends to perform better and wireless cameras will kill your wireless Internet.

These are some of the things to consider if you are looking to get a security camera for your home or office. They can really give you the peace of mind you need as long as you choose the right setup and understand the best ways to utilize them. Use these tips to get the most of out of your security camera needs.

Best Locks to Secure Your Storage Unit

If you’re thinking about finally getting that storage unit for those extras that just don’t fit in the house, it’s important to think about how you are going to secure it when you’re not around it. It’s a great place to put your belongings when you need a little extra space at home, you’re moving, or you have items that you only use during certain seasons of the year.

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There is no need to hold onto holiday decorations or summertime equipment all year when you could be using the space in your home to function and live. Getting a storage unit can be a really handy way to get things out of one space temporarily and secure nearby, but make sure you are actually secure. Here is a look at the best locks you should consider getting to secure your storage unit from a break-in or vandalism.

Padlock

One of the most common options for locking a storage unit is to use a padlock, which allows you to lock up your unit without having to worry about losing your keys. You can get a keyed option as well, but having the option to use a combination style through a closed-shackle combination lock will make life simple. In addition, the closed-shackle design of it is challenging to break into with a bolt cutter; all you have to do is remember your combination.

If you get a padlock that requires a key, you’ll need it to lock and unlock. You’ll have two keys, allowing you to keep one as a backup in case you lose the other. Be sure to get one of solid quality so that a bolt cutter can’t get through any soft metal casing or poor quality material. Get one with a hardened steel shackle, a 5-pin tumbler, and a double lock.

Combination lock

Next, you could choose a combination lock like the padlock. Combination locks allow you to unlock the unit through a set of numbers rather than a key. You can choose from a single dial lock or a multiple dial lock, depending on if you want several combinations to open the lock.

Single dial locks will be used by operating a single sequence of numbers and lining them up on a single rotating dial. You’ll have to know the sequence to open it, as well as the right order of numbers because there are discs inside that have to line up with the correct sequence. You’ll hear a click when you have the right sequence and a simple tug will open it.

A multiple dial combination lock works where several rotating discs are operating with a pin with teeth that hook into them. You’ll have to align the notches of the lock with the pin’s teeth to open it. This works well for your bike or your luggage, but it’s not recommended for storage units compared to a single dial lock.

Cylinder locks, maximum security padlocks, and general purpose locks

Other great options for your storage unit are cylinder locks if you have the ability to lock it directly to the storage door, general purpose locks since they are made of brass or stainless steel, and maximum security padlocks made from these same materials. These three options are another way to really add security to your storage unit that other locks can’t.

If you are ready for a storage unit but you’re not sure how to ensure your belonging’s security, make sure you check out these best lock options, first.

Adding a Deadbolt Lock for Added Security

Sometimes feeling safe in your home requires you to take some extra steps to make that happen. For many, adding a deadbolt is just the solution they need. A deadbolt lock works by locking your door by turning a knob rather than having a spring involved like a regular lock.

This means that the deadbolt can only be opened through a key or knob, making it very difficult to break-in. Due to their increased likelihood of resisting a forced entry; it’s a popular choice among homeowners and offices. Take a look at your options for adding a deadbolt lock for added security on your property.

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Why deadbolts work so well

Deadbolts are known to be powerful locks that deter thieves that know they can’t break through them. When a robber is trying to break in your front or back door, even the most experienced ones won’t be able to open a door that has a deadbolt locking it in place.

While a kick on the door or other methods of taking down a door can work on a standard lock, it doesn’t work on a durable deadbolt. Deadbolts are considered the reliable option for locking up your property since they require locking and unlocking from the exterior and interior of the property.

Types of deadbolts

You may be wondering what a deadbolt lock is like and if you’ll have to choose between different options. There are actually three main types of deadbolts, making it easy to choose the one that works best for you. You’ll choose between a single cylinder, a double cylinder, and a keyless cylinder.

The single cylinder is the simplest option in which you’ll open from one side through a key while using the thumb piece on the interior side. This is a great option for those with doors that have on breakable glass since an intruder would break the glass and turn the knob to enter.

The double cylinder requires a key to activate it from both sides. This is the option you’ll want if you have breakable glass on the door since the intruder would need a key. You’ll just have to be careful because this type of lock can slow you down if you were to need to exit quickly, such as in the event of a fire.

The third route is the keyless cylinder deadbolt, the easiest to operate of all, allowing you to leave and enter without any key at all. You’ll use a password or fingerprint scan, closing it with a button or knob rather than locking with a key.

The drawbacks of them

While deadbolts are an amazing security feature, there are drawbacks to any route you go. You’ll have to come up with a difficult password to avoid an intruder guessing it and getting inside. The double keyed deadbolt can cause for a panic when trying to get out during an emergency and you could get stuck inside the house if you forget your password. Be sure to get a bump resistant deadbolt because these are susceptible to lock bumping.

Brands and costs to expect

If you’re sold on a deadbolt, expect to pay around $30-$50 or higher depending on what features you want. Brands like Schlage, Kwikset, and Code-a-key all sell deadbolts at a variety of price points.

If you’re looking for the ultimate protection against a break-in, call your professional locksmith to have deadbolts installed on your property today.