With over 114,000 motor vehicle thefts alone in England and Wales between 2018-2019, there’s never been a more important time to make every effort to keep your vehicle safe and sound.
Automobile and van manufacturers both at home and abroad have kept pace by designing superior lock and key systems, and robust alarm systems to ward off thieves, but the services of a locksmith are invaluable for keeping your car secure years after its purchase.
The following post will outline the various services offered by automotive locksmiths in the UK.
Automotive locksmith services
The main services that an automotive locksmith can perform on your vehicle include:
- Emergency lockout services
- Car lock repair
- Replacement car keys
- Car key / key fob programming for electronic and keyless entry systems
- Lost or stolen key security
- Immobiliser and anti-theft systems
- Vehicle tracking
- Van security and safety
You’ve got places to be and things to do, so being locked out of your vehicle is never a pleasant experience. Emergency lockout services are an ideal way of gaining access to your vehicle, and most reputable locksmiths will use non-destructive entry tools and techniques to prevent damage to the lock system.
An alternative would be to contact your dealership and arrange for them to pick up the vehicle and provide you with a new set of keys. The problem is that this can take up to two weeks. If you need to gain access to your vehicle now, emergency lockout services are the most convenient way of doing so.
Car lock repair
Mechanical car locks are often durable and quite resistant to wear and tear, but they aren’t impervious. If your lock becomes worn out or damaged, it may be difficult or impossible to enter with your key.
That’s why locksmiths provide car lock repair services, to make your locks responsive again without impeding your ability to drive or even enter the vehicle in the first place.
Car lock repairs may involve replacing the existing lock due to seizing up through rust or from physical damage, but they may also be able to provide you with a means of using the ignition and opening the new lock with the same key as well.
Replacement car keys
Car keys can become lost, misplaced, or damaged over time. Physical keys are only part of the problem, however. All cars in the UK since 1995 must also be equipped with an immobiliser unit, which corresponds to a transponder key typically located within the key fob. These can also break down or become unresponsive, requiring a new physical and/or electronic transponder key.
Locksmiths can provide replacement physical and transponder keys for all sorts of car models. These keys could be a full replacement of a lost or damaged key, but you could also request a new key from a professional locksmith as a precaution, even if the existing one works just fine.
Car key programming
As mentioned above, modern cars are equipped with immobilisers and transponder keys. Some cars even lack mechanical keys altogether and opt for keyless entry via smartphone app, keypad passcode, or key fob. As with all digital technology, however, reprogramming the transponder key requires technical expertise that automotive locksmiths are capable of providing.
Transponder keys can become damaged from exposure to water (most aren’t, in fact, waterproof), impact, or they may be lost or stolen. Since the transponder key is uniquely coded to the immobiliser, and thus the vehicle will not start without the corresponding code, keys may need to be reprogrammed.
Lost or stolen key security
If your vehicle (or key) has been lost or stolen, your primary concern should be contacting the authorities, followed by contacting an automotive locksmith. A stolen vehicle’s immobiliser unit can be de-programmed, as can the keys, thus removing access for potential thieves.
Some of the specific services that a locksmith can provide to ensure the safety of your vehicle in such instances include:
- Deletion of immobiliser transponders, rendering lost or stolen keys unusable
- Disconnection of the key fob remote control and the vehicle’s lock systems
- Re-programming and/or replacement of the ignition barrel, glove box compartment, and/or tailgate barrel
Should your vehicle ever be stolen, the above services can help to render the vehicle essentially useless. But what can you do in the meantime? A savvy thief is likely to already have a clever plan in mind, and will ideally want to drive as far away as possible to avoid detection.
This is where vehicle tracking can help to alert police - many locksmiths provide GPS tracking capabilities for customers for this purpose, but there are other benefits, too.
Business clients may wish to equip their fleet of vehicles with GPS tracking in order to keep a handle on mileage expenses, or for added customer satisfaction in the case of delivery vehicles, since customers can track their parcel or delivery in real-time.
Van security and safety
In general, vans tend to simply carry more ‘stuff’ than a compact passenger vehicle. Whether it’s full of construction equipment or expensive electronic gear, extra measures for ensuring the vehicle’s safety can go a long way to you achieving peace of mind, wherever you have to park your van.
Automotive locksmiths can provide durable lock systems in addition to the manufacturer’s locks, examples include: deadlocks, slam locks, protection plates, and replacement locks resistant to lockpicking attempts.
Automotive locksmiths in the UK
A locksmiths is not a registered trade in the UK, which means that any business can claim to operate as a locksmith regardless of genuine expertise. That’s why it’s worth spending time evaluating automotive locksmiths, to ensure that they’ve really got the expertise you need and a good enough reputation for you to entrust with the safety of your vehicle.
Some locksmiths are registered with the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), which vets, approves, and audits locksmiths within the United Kingdom, but many automotive locksmiths have decided to join the Auto Locksmiths Association (ALA), which operates in the UK, America, Europe, and Southern Ireland.
When searching for a locksmith in your post code, be observant. Choose one that’s known for reliability and professionalism, and ideally one that has been vetted and approved by either a locksmith organisation, or by a professional service that only chooses quality locksmiths – a prime example is Rated Locksmiths.
Vehicle theft and burglary remain a significant problem in the UK, so you shouldn’t leave it to chance that your car or van will remain safe. Take appropriate precautions - hire a quality locksmith through Rated Locksmiths. Our online marketplace of approved automotive locksmiths in the UK gives you choice, and saves you time in searching for locksmiths who are operating within your post code. Get a quote today.