How Automotive Locksmiths Help Motorists Get on the Road

To stay on the road, motor vehicle owners need to carry out servicing and occasionally repairs. In some areas, regular car smog testing is required. These things are taken as a given by car owners, and come as part and parcel of having a roadworthy vehicle.

But, there is another service that regularly helps drivers get back on the road. Automotive locksmiths help motorists get back into their vehicles when they’ve locked keys inside. These locksmith services also carry out other vital tasks that enable drivers to keep motoring.

But, what do automotive locksmiths do, and how do they help motorists get back on the road?

What is an automotive locksmith?

An auto locksmith might work independently or as part of a larger team. In some circumstances, an auto locksmith might be a one-man band. However, in the case of this website here the automotive side is offered in conjunction with residential locksmith services.

Many locksmith companies will provide services to get residents back into their homes, or to open safes and other storage devices. Alongside these residential services will be an automotive locksmith too.

Automotive locksmiths carry out the same type of tasks as regular locksmiths but they concentrate on motor vehicles. Therefore, they deal with people who are locked out of their cars, or with broken ignitions among other things.

How skilled are automotive locksmiths?

As car manufacturers design ever-more secure locking systems, auto locksmiths must keep up with change. Automotive locksmiths don’t just fix locks and remove broken keys – although this is a big part of an auto locksmith’s work – they also reprogram transponders and correct problems with immobilizers.

To do this requires knowledge about programming and how to reset fault codes. Auto locksmiths must learn how to cut laser keys and duplicate remote car fobs. Automotive locksmith’s skills have to include how to safely gain entry to vehicles without causing damage, and how to bypass keyless systems.

According to the Cars and Automakers Database, there are about 7,000 different models on the road. An auto locksmith has to be able to deal with vintage models and brand-new hot off-the-showroom floor cars too.

In what ways do automotive locksmiths help motorists keep driving?

Along with there being 6,999 different models and 128 brands, there are actually 285 million vehicles on US roads. It is perhaps no surprise then that more than 11 people a minute lock themselves out of their cars.

Any motorist who has experienced the pain of being locked out of a car will understand the benefit of auto locksmiths. Imagine having a week’s worth of groceries and getting locked out of your car on a hot day. Or, knowing your children are waiting to be picked up but you’ve locked yourself out of your vehicle.

In this instance, it might constitute something of an emergency. And one of the biggest parts of an auto locksmith’s role is providing emergency services.

Starting now, you can look at automotive locksmith emergency services, and the other ways that locksmiths keep motorists on the road.

Emergency auto locksmith services

When a motorist has been the victim of a car crime or they have locked themselves out, they may need help quickly. And often, events such as these happen at inconvenient times.

Emergency auto locksmith services are typically available 24/7. Keeping an auto locksmith on speed dial might not be needed, but storing an emergency number will do no harm at all. In fact, having the number of a locksmith on your phone will give you peace of mind if nothing else.

Emergency locksmith services are likely to cover the following:

  • Broken key extraction
  • Fuel cap removal
  • Lock replacement
  • Key replacement
  • Transponder reprogramming
  • Lock repair
  • Access to locked cars

It is quite common for people to lock keys inside vehicles. On these occasions, the auto locksmith only needs to find a way into the car to recover the key. But, when keys have been stolen it may be necessary to replace locks and reprogram transponder keys.

Malfunctioning locks can also prevent motorists from gaining access. Older locks might have a build-up of grime or they may have corroded. Auto locksmiths have services to help motorists in this instance.

You can look at all of these services and some others in a little more detail below. Here are eight of the ways that auto locksmiths keep motorists mobile.

1 Fix car door lock actuators

One of the most prevalent problems with car doors is the locking mechanism. Lock actuators react to signals from transponders and either open or secure the car door. However, car door lock actuators can go bad.

Reasons that car door lock actuators stop working range from flat batteries to damage from a collision. Dirt and debris can affect them too. Sometimes, lock actuators need replacing. A good auto locksmith will be able to replace any faulty door lock actuator without any problem.

2 The use of technology

Automotive locksmiths don’t just keep up to date with the latest advances in car locking systems. They also use the latest developments to assist motorists.

Car owners can benefit from auto locksmith services because they use such tools as code key cutters. Diagnostic tools are also utilized by automotive locksmiths to communicate with different modules in vehicles.

Some estimates say that there are over 1,000 chips in each gas-powered car today. It is vital then that auto locksmiths understand how to use diagnostic tools to reprogram mobilizers and transponders. By reading and clearing fault codes, an auto locksmith will have a car owner back on the road in no time.

3 Ignition repairs and replacements

Doors are not the only parts of a car requiring a key. Although modern cars often have keyless ignition switches, there are still millions of vehicles with traditional systems that require keys.

Auto locksmiths can replace ignition lock cylinders, and repair them when possible. Occasionally, ignition switches can malfunction. An auto locksmith will be able to fix the problem and get the car on the move again.

4 Fuel cap opening

Another part of the car that traditionally requires a key is the fuel cap. Normally, the key to the fuel cap is the same as the ignition. But, locks sometimes malfunction or stick. Auto locksmiths will be able to repair or replace the lock on a fuel cap as they would any other.

Another possible issue with a fuel cap is having a broken key stuck inside. This is a common problem and can occur with any car door lock.

5 Broken key removal

If a key snaps while in a lock then it will need to be removed. Without the necessary tools, this can be quite tricky. Locksmiths are able to remove broken keys in house locks and cars.

Once the key has been removed, a duplicate key could be made, or the lock replaced entirely. Even bent or damaged keys can be duplicated. And if not, then a replacement lock will be installed

6 Lock replacements & repairs

Replacing a lock after keys have been stolen will bring reassurance that the car is secure once more. Thieves are targeting the most expensive car parts such as catalytic converters now. Certain anti-theft devices and a secure lock-up will help to avoid this scenario.

And replacing or repairing locks will also help to increase security and bring a certain peace of mind. If a car lock is damaged or faulty then the vehicle will not be secure. To be able to get on the road and park safely an auto locksmith will be needed.

7 Key reprogramming and transponder services

Modern car locks don’t always require physical keys though. So, instead of replacing damaged locks, it is sometimes necessary to reprogram transponders instead. Programming new keys and clearing the old ID from the car’s memory will mean any stolen key will no longer work on the vehicle.

8 Resetting immobilizer codes

Modern cars are far more complex than older models. They are built to give drivers more comfort, increased safety, and security. Devices such as immobilizers are great at stopping car theft, but they can go wrong.

A malfunctioning immobilizer will stop a car owner from driving away. An auto locksmith, though, will be able to overcome the immobilizer and get the car running once more.

Are auto locksmiths necessary?

Statistics seem to vary quite some when it comes to the locksmith industry. According to IBISWorld though, 41,232 people are working in the locksmith industry in 2023.

A significant amount of these people will be concentrating on the automotive sector. With close to 300 million vehicles on the road, auto locksmiths offer a vital service.

Many people conclude that breaking into a car is easy. The movies and TV shows display actors easily accessing cars with the barest of tools. But, modern cars are designed to be difficult to steal. Car manufacturers don’t want to make thieves’ lives easy. Therefore, car locking systems are regularly updated and improved.

Even things such as biometrics are being used to protect cars today. But, until biometrics are included in every vehicle, auto locksmiths will be necessary.

As you can see, automotive locksmiths don’t only open car doors. They carry out a host of other services that even include coding and diagnostics.


Auto locksmiths are as vital to motorists as mechanics are. Automotive locksmith services may save you money too. For example, DIY methods could cause damage to a car. But, an auto locksmith will gain entry without so much as a scratch.

From replacement keys to ignition repairs, auto locksmiths help drivers to keep on the move. And in an emergency, an auto locksmith can respond quickly and use their knowledge to fix many lock problems.


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