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What To Do If You Run Into Trouble With Locks And Keys

We hardly ever think about our locks and keys…until something goes wrong. The truth is, whether residential, automotive, or commercial, keys and locks play a major role in our personal and business lives. If an emergency arises, it’s certainly unnerving, but you don’t have to let it get to you. There are numerous measures you can take to keep yourself secure. You can surely prevent most of the problems with keys and locks that could happen.

Extend the life of your locks. There are things you can do to make your locks last longer:

  • If a key won’t turn, don’t worry. Sometimes the pins get jammed up. Spray the lock mechanism with silicone spray or WD-40. This will often solve the problem so you won’t need to call a locksmith.
  • General lubrication. If you ever notice any excess friction or grinding in the lock mechanism ~ or at least twice a year ~ apply a silicone-based lubricant spray to the keyhole.
  • Replace your keys periodically. Our keys sustain a lot of abuse, because we use them many times a day, keep them who knows where, and toss them around. If you see that your keys are starting to wear down, or if they get damaged, then it’s time to make a new key. Don’t forget to discard your old keys responsibly; a recycle center is ideal.

What about stuck and broken keys? Haste makes waste: If you hurry with your keys, you could find yourself in a bind, because your key might break off in the lock! Take that few extra seconds and be patient with your key. You’ll save yourself plenty of grief.

If you are unfortunate enough to see your key break off inside the lock mechanism, if it occurs before you close the door, then you won’t be able to lock it, which obviously leaves you vulnerable to theft. If the key breaks off in the lock mechanism after you’ve closed the door, you likely won’t be able to open the door again. A broken key can cause damage to the lock itself. What you can do:

  • If part of your key is stuck inside the lock, and there’s a tiny bit of it sticking out, you may be able to get it out. If there’s enough of the key showing, you might be able to pull it out with your fingers or with needle-nose pliers. If there’s any damage, then call a locksmith.
  • If you don’t see any part of the key sticking out of the lock, it will be risky, because you could easily cause damage. Still, it might be worth a try. Find a flathead screwdriver ~ one that’s small enough to fit inside the keyhole. Pry the key inside, just slightly to the point where it comes out of the lock. If you do it just right, you should be able to remove it with needle-nose pliers or your finger.

Take Extra Security Measures

If you are concerned about circumstances at your place of residence or at your commercial building, there are many ways to give yourself more peace of mind.

Professional locksmiths recommend deadbolts. Be sure they are properly installed. A deadbolt should have at least a 1” throw. On the strike side, there must be a security plate with screws at least 3” long, going all the way into the wooden frame of the door. Do you have a window on or near your door? A thumbturn deadbolt isn’t won’t do you very much good, because a thief can break the glass, reach a hand in, and turn. To prevent this, install a double-cylinder deadbolt lock, which requires an inside key.

Know when it’s time to change the locks.

  • Lost keys. If you are sure you have truly lost your keys, change your locks as soon as possible, since you surely do not want to risk the possibility of a stranger gaining access to your property.
  • A new home. If you have just moved into a new place of residence, immediately change out your locks. You never know which former residents may still be in possession of an old key.
  • New tenants or roommates. The same rules that apply to your home apply to rental properties. If you rent out any space in your apartment or home, replace locks every time you change occupants. Even if the former residents returned their keys, you cannot be totally sure that there aren’t some extra duplicates out there.
  • After a break-in. If there’s been a burglary, you should replace all exterior locks right away. After that, replace any interior locks in order of your personal security preferences.

There are more ways to feel safe and secure:

  • keyless remote entries
  • magnetic locks
  • safes for business and home
  • keypad systems
  • use only reputable high-quality brands, at least grade 2
  • combination locks
  • hire only a local expert locksmith who is licensed, background-checked, bonded, insured, and certified
  • alarm systems

Preventive maintenance will help you avoid most lockouts. Do your part to keep your locks well maintained, and you may not ever have to hire a locksmith. Watch out for:

  • difficulties putting the key in the lock mechanism
  • wear and tear
  • rust
  • trouble turning the key in the lock mechanism

If you do come across any of these issues, your best bet is to change the locks, because worn-out locks will more easily get stuck or break, meaning you will get locked out. Old-fashioned or faulty locks also make you more susceptible to burglary.

When It’s Time to Hire a Locksmith

Sometimes you truly will have to call a locksmith professional. If your property is anywhere in Maple Grove, Minnesota, then consider hiring a dependable company such as Maple Grove Master Locksmith, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, always ready to get you out of trouble.