Some of the more frequent questions our professional locksmiths answer for clients consists of “when should I replace door locks” or “how long does an electronic lock last for?”
Generally, the answer is about every 2-5 years. But there are some things to consider. The client’s question is searching for a set answer, a number of years before finding themselves exactly where they are: doling out money to fix, replace or upgrade their door locks. While not unreasonable—the only thing worse than replacing a lock is having to replace a lock unexpectedly—different types of lock and lock brands have different lifetimes. Moreover, how the lock mechanism is treated over its lifetime has more bearing on how long it will last.
The true question to consider is “which situations require changing my door locks?”
Should I Replace or Rekey My Door Locks?
You’ve come to the right locksmiths at Metro Lock and Safe. Our reliable locksmiths are trained to use the special tools required to replace lock pins, extract broken keys and otherwise replace the internal mechanisms on a broken lock. This also means we know what situations require replacement and which require rekeys. We can suggest the right door locks and services you will need in every case, including burglaries, dead electronics and broken deadbolt catch.
Home burglaries create anxiety. Suddenly, home no longer represents the object of sanctuary. Much like street thievery and muggings, home burglaries rob a person of their person more so than their place. And it doesn’t matter the previous level of security, conventional or electronic, the victim will always feel like it was never enough.
While it is recommended to rekey, replace or upgrade your home security system, most home invasions do not result in damaged locks. The whole point of a burglar’s job is to identify the easiest targets and find the easiest access points. Most will avoid doors with locks entirely. It’s much easier to identify the forgotten window or sliding door to gain entry.
In the case of a home burglary we recommend upgrading to smart home system for the ultimate security. Adding a smart home security system to your home acts as an effective deterrent from the combined effect of cameras, remote locking and electronic door lock systems. Altogether, we recommend this upgrade for privately owned or rented homes.
For victims of a home invasion in an apartment building, adding a deadbolt lock and rekeying it to work with a new master key is recommended. Talk with your landlord to see if you can add a burglar alarm, anti snap lock or other smart home devices to keep your unit safe from unwanted thieves.
Lost keys are a classic case requiring re-keying. You can find re-keying kits at your local hardware store for a cheaper solution or bring it into the more experienced hands of Metro Lock and Safe. Our reliable locksmith team can also come to your place of residence or business within twenty minutes and re-key all the locks you need.
One brand, however, features the most consumer-friendly re-keying systems out there: the Kwikset Smart Key. With a small secondary tool and a new key, it allows you to re-key the lock in mere seconds. Beware though, if you lose a Kwikset key you run the risk of not only letting an undesirable into your home, but giving them the power to change your locks too!
Broken Keys and Locks
Broken keys are one of the oldest problems in the locksmith’s book but often do not require a rekey. If the fractured key fragment is visible and has an edge reachable by tweezers or pliers, you can probably remove the lock yourself. If you already locked yourself out or have a fragment too deep inside, do not insert anything else inside at risk of breaking the locking mechanism.
Your average locksmith should have the tools to extract the piece of key in the aforementioned lock. Even better, they should be able to copy the key from the fragments in most cases. Otherwise, for most broken locks locksmiths will take the time to repair or replace the lock mechanisms, be it from a key fragment buried deep in the chamber or a snapped tumbler.
Loose Door Locks
Loose door locks are the result of wear and tear on the internal mechanisms. Most people will take this as a sign that it is time for new locks but that’s not always the case. While they do represent a security risk because an intrepid thief can jimmy the lock open, your local locksmith can mend the internals. The question becomes a consumer’s cost comparison of repairing versus replacing and re-keying the lock. Both options can be serviced by a capable locksmith service.
For electronic locks not properly registering key codes and unlocking, assume the battery has died. There should be a battery icon or notification that will inform you of the battery life or lack thereof. Most battery compartments for this type of lock take a 9V Battery, but yours might be different. In any case you will not need a locksmith or a new lock, just a screwdriver or battery cover key. You will not be locked out either, most lock companies sell access code locks with a regular house key lock. If the manual lock no longer works or replacing the battery fails to set the lock in working order, find a locksmith that can identify why.
Broken Deadbolt Catch
Broken deadbolt latches and strike plates are reparable issues. Something any property manager, homeowner or locksmith can undertake. Replacing a deadbolt on requires unscrewing the old deadbolt latch and inserting the new one. Repairing the catch is a little more difficult and requires some power tools but it still doable for the intrepid homeowner. It is not recommended that renters DIY this project. Your landlord should contact a locksmith or contractor to handle it for you.
Need a Locksmith Near Phoenix?
We are the resident locksmith and safe experts for the Phoenix area. If you need a duplicate key, a replacement lock or a new safe among other services, our professional team of technicians can come to you or help you at one of locations across the metropolitan area. Contact us today if you have a pesky lock or safe in need of sorting.