Top Qualities to Look for in an Automotive Locksmith Service

Hiring professional services in the past often involved a lot of guesswork. The Yellow Pages were the go-to publication for homeowners’ plumbing or electrical needs until the internet arrived.

Now, comparison sites, consumer reports, and blogs are popular ways to choose different services. But, in an emergency, it is less likely you’ll have time to carry out any research. Ideally, people would have contact details stored for certain emergency services.

Plumbers, mechanics, and locksmiths are good examples of services often needed in a hurry. Catastrophic flooding demands the swift arrival of a plumber to stop more damage from happening. And locksmiths help people who are locked out of their homes, and cars.

How do you select an automotive locksmith?

Storing the phone numbers of services that provide emergency call-outs is wise. When disaster strikes, having the contact details of a local service that will assist can save money and time.

With millions of call-outs each year, storing a locksmith’s number is particularly smart. Businesses such as Locksmith Plus Inc. in Vancouver WA provide residential and automotive services. Storing a multi-service locksmith’s details will cover all the bases.

But, choosing the right service requires some thought. The cost will obviously be a factor, as will reputation. How fast is the locksmith able to get to you will be a consideration too.

What are the top qualities to look for in an automotive locksmith service?

Aside from cost and speed, there should be other factors driving your choice of an automotive locksmith. The majority of people will pick locksmith services based on only a couple of criteria. And largely this may be fine. But, auto locksmiths provide numerous services that you might not be aware of. Choosing the wrong auto locksmith might mean you miss out on potential savings.

Auto locksmiths can provide some services that car dealers charge heavily for, and key-cutting shops cannot handle. Duplicating transponder keys, and making Tibbe keys are two good examples.

Therefore, you need to choose your auto locksmith wisely. Here is a checklist for selecting an automotive locksmith.

The locality of the auto locksmith

This consideration is just as relevant for residential locksmiths as those who deal with automobiles. Locksmiths deal with many non-emergency problems, but unless you want to store more than one locksmith on your phone, you should go local.

Auto locksmiths will deal mostly with customers in a set radius. The company may have offices in neighboring towns and cities. And as locksmiths are often expected to arrive promptly, they generally only service specific areas.

If you do rely on a locksmith further afield, the call-out charges will likely be higher too.

Do they provide emergency locksmith services?

Not all locksmiths run a 24/7 business. In the case of auto locksmiths, it is vital to find one that is available at any time. Getting locked out of a car is annoying. Having it happen in the early hours of the morning could be scary if you’re alone.

Check if the auto locksmith provides emergency services, and look for the following:

  • Response times
  • Are response times guaranteed?
  • Call-out charges
  • Operating hours
  • Service area
  • Business location

There are some more considerations for choosing an emergency auto locksmith, and these continue below.

Pricing transparency

Good locksmith services will display their pricing structure clearly on their website. Things to be aware of are hidden charges, call-out charges, and additional travel charges.

Expect to see a list of charges for all auto locksmith services such as replacement keys or locks. Then look for other charges that will be added. You might then want to carry out some comparison work with other local auto locksmiths.

Homeguide indicates that the average price for opening a car door is between $60 and $85. This may differ depending on your location so compare pricing between a few locksmiths.

Guarantees and warranties

Professional services should be proud of their work and stand by it. Search auto locksmith websites for warranty information. Does the locksmith guarantee the quality of their work? Do they provide any form of warranty on replacement ignitions and locks?

Locksmiths should also be guaranteed. An auto locksmith will be able to gain entry to a car without causing any damage. But, in the unlikely event they do scratch your car or break something, there should be some liability insurance in place to cover it.

How comprehensive are the locksmith services?

As previously mentioned, the best scenario would be finding a locksmith who can assist residents as well as car owners. But, even if you choose a dedicated auto locksmith, you will want one that offers a full list of services.

Auto locksmiths get people into cars they are locked out of. They provide replacement ignitions and repair locks. Auto locksmiths can duplicate keys and program new ones too.

Since the inception of car keys, there have been constant developments. Just look at the list of possible car keys now.

  • Tibbe keys
  • Laser car keys
  • Transponder keys
  • Smart keys
  • Valet keys
  • Switchblade car keys
  • Mechanically cut keys
  • Master car keys
  • Remote car keys

Auto locksmiths can cut difficult keys

If you drive a Ford or Jaguar of a certain age, you might have a Tibbe key. More modern cars will have transponder keys. Ensure your auto locksmith can work with your model car. Of course, automotive locksmiths need to stay up-to-date and cater to all types of cars. But, there’s no harm in checking.

Duplicate and new transponder keys

Automotive locksmiths today are able to program transponder keys. Transponder key replacements aren’t cheap. But, buying a replacement transponder key from a locksmith, such as a Volkswagen key replacement provider may be cheaper than from a car dealership.

Auto locksmiths use diagnostics

Auto locksmiths use diagnostics tools to help program transponder chips. Choosing the right auto locksmith could help you in surprising ways.

There are things to look for in second-hand cars, and auto locksmith’s tools can spot some of them. Auto locksmiths use diagnostic tools to communicate with electronic modules, and if a car isn’t running properly they could spot the reasons why.

Obviously, most people call auto locksmiths because they are locked out of their cars. But, choosing a locksmith with limited services might mean you miss out on other benefits.

Level of experience and time established

A new business doesn’t mean that the people involved are inexperienced. But, finding a well-established locksmith is often a sign of good service. In these times of internet reviews and social media, a local business’s reputation will spread quickly.

A locksmith service that has been operating for a number of years may be a good sign. Especially if the firm has a low staff turnover and experienced workers.

Reputation and online reviews

While researching how long any locksmith has been operating, you will likely come across reviews. While anyone is free to leave online reviews, they are still a useful barometer for quality of service.

You can find reviews and comments here:

  • Yelp
  • Google Business Profiles
  • Trustpilot
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Social media – Facebook pages etc.

Licensing and certification

13 states in the US require locksmiths to be licensed including Oregon. The criteria change from state to state but will certainly involve a licensing fee, a test, and a criminal history check.

Locksmiths need to be trustworthy. These services provide security options for homes and businesses. And auto locksmiths are adept at breaking into vehicles cleanly. Therefore, accreditation and licensing are worth investigating.

Locksmiths may choose optional licensing in states where there is no mandatory requirement. Some businesses may also choose to join the International Association of Automotive Locksmiths or something similar.

Up-to-date with advances and technology

With locking systems becoming more complex, and changes happening regularly, auto locksmiths need to keep up to date. Inspect auto locksmith’s website for services involving laser key cutting, transponders, smart keys, and diagnostics.

A good automotive locksmith will be able to correct problems involving immobilizers, and clear fault codes. Modern cars contain hundreds of microchips now. Auto locksmiths have to be highly knowledgeable about the electronic systems installed in cars as much as how to remove broken keys.

Knowledgeable about other security measures

As well as in-depth knowledge of car locking systems, many locksmiths are able to provide advice and services linked to security.

Residential locksmiths will help you to secure your home, and point out weak spots and vulnerabilities. Auto locksmiths could help to prevent your car from being stolen or recovered if it does.

GPS systems are great tech for making car journeys easier. But, GPS can help track a stolen vehicle too. Many auto locksmiths will be able to install security devices such as immobilizers and alarm systems as well as repair locks.

Level of customer service

Lastly, but most definitely not least, is customer support. Sure, reputation and quality of the work are essential, but how does the locksmith’s customer service rank? Is there any after-sales service? And how easy is customer support reached?

Some companies provide excellent work but let themselves down through poor communication or customer support. Therefore, check online reviews for remarks surrounding customer services.

Also, look for communication channels on the locksmith’s website. How many channels are there? Does the website rely on chatbots, or are real people easy to communicate with?


The top qualities to look out for in auto locksmiths are pricing transparency, competitiveness, fast response time, and customer service.

Using the checklist provided here should help you to find a local locksmith for emergency call-outs and security-related work. Auto locksmiths are useful in non-emergency situations also. They may even spot diagnostic problems, or improve your vehicle’s security.


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