Lock Installation and Repair

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How does a locksmith open a locked door?

Locksmiths use specialized tools and techniques to open your door in the case of lockouts or lost keys. Trained locksmiths can pick your door lock with lock-picking tools such as a rake, a tension wrench, a half diamond or a hook. They may use a technique called bumping, which will work on pin tumbler locks, or as a last resort they may use a drill to remove your existing lock. The national average locksmith price ranges between $70 and $100. A locksmith can also replace your current lock system, re-key your locks if you have lost your keys, repair a broken lock, install a deadlock and more. Locksmiths not only help with front doors, they can help if you are locked out of your car, locked out of your mailbox, locked out of your shed … you name it. There may be an additional charge for emergency after-hours locksmith services. Check out our tips for smart hiring on Thumbtack.

How much does it cost for a car locksmith?

There are several reasons you may need a car locksmith. You may be locked out of your car (either with the keys inside or with no keys at all), you may have lost your car keys and need a new key, or you may want to make a duplicate car key. The national average locksmith price ranges from $70 to $100. Getting locked out of your car can be scary and overwhelming — especially if it’s cold and dark out. Fortunately, professional locksmiths provide round-the-clock assistance to help people in these circumstances.

Car lockouts are one of the main reasons people need a locksmith. Your locksmith’s price can depend on the type of car you have, the time of day (or night) it is, and where you are located. Locksmith pricing may be based on a flat rate, or pricing may be quoted to you after the locksmith determines the circumstances. For example, a flat rate for a car lockout could be $65 for standard vehicles. That price could be higher for after-hours or long-distance service, or service during extreme weather. If you have entirely lost your car keys, a locksmith can make you a new car key, but first they must verify that you are the owner of the car. Locksmiths can even program new car key fobs for you — often at a lower price than a dealership.

How much does it cost to make a new key for a car?

Locksmiths’ prices for making new car keys can vary depending on the make of your car as well as the time of day and location. The national average locksmith price ranges from $70 to $100, but duplicating a key may cost as little as $30, while extraction a key stuck in the ignition, cutting a new key and programming the fob can cost much more.

You might need a new car key if you have lost your key, the key broke in the ignition, the key is bent or damaged, or you just want a duplicate in case of emergency. You can request a duplicate of a key you have on hand, or you can have a new key made or cut if you have lost your original car keys. If you need to replace lost keys, you’ll need to first provide proof that you are the owner of the car along with the vehicle identification number (VIN). If you’re just locked out of your car but don’t need a key made, a locksmith may charge $65 to get you back in. Locksmith car key services are often far more affordable than dealership prices for new keys.

How much does it cost to have a deadbolt lock installed?

Installing a new deadbolt lock can improve your home security, especially if you think your current lock system has been compromised or there are unaccounted-for copies of your house keys in circulation. A professional locksmith can install a new deadbolt for you in a matter of hours. The national average locksmith price ranges from $70 to $100. Locksmith prices for installing deadbolts may be higher based on whether the professional provides the lock or you have it on hand, how many components the locking system includes, and how long the installation takes. The cost to purchase a lock yourself from a big-box store can range from approximately $70 to $225 or more, depending on quality and materials. Higher-security locks often take longer and therefore cost more to install.

Reviews for Ashburn auto locksmiths
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Highly recommend!!!!! To be precise, if you want excellent immediate, reliable, economic service - go with this company. I recently bought “Paragon Lock and Safe” locker box. I was putting all the docs in it and when I was closing, I forgot to take the key out. It got auto-locked with key inside. Then found “Key Locksmith” from thumbtack, he called me and fixed appointment within 15 min. He came and opened it safely without causing any damage to my docs. So happy with his service. My weekend time saved. Highly recommend!!!!!
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Everything you need to know about auto locksmiths.

What services do car locksmiths offer?

While a car locksmith primarily unlocks vehicles, they can also perform several specialty services. For example, they can often:

  • Repair auto locks
  • Replace ignition keys
  • Remove broken car keys from ignitions
  • Fix damaged ignition keys
  • Replace lost car keys when there isn't a spare
  • Duplicate keys
  • Open trunks and hoods
  • Program keys (including transponder and remote keys)

Your local auto locksmith might also sell equipment to help you handle minor lockout issues. You might also be able to get a car lockout kit or duplicate car keys near you if they have a retail shop. Are you looking for a key fob replacement near you? A local locksmith might provide this service too. 

When to hire an auto locksmith.

When you’re locked out of your car, it’s incredibly difficult to gain access to it. Cars have integrated security systems, complex electrical components and transponder chip keys that require specific knowledge to program.

It’s time to call an auto locksmith near you if: 

  • You lost your car keys or locked them inside the car.
  • The key broke off in the ignition.
  • Your car remote or transponder key is not working.
  • Your key is damaged from wear and tear.
  • You need an extra set of car keys. 

In all of these cases, it's best to trust the experts with your vehicle (and its keys). 

Questions to ask car locksmiths.

When you hire a locksmith for your car, make sure they are insured, licensed and bonded. And make sure you trust them with your vehicle, which is a valuable possession. Here are some other questions to consider asking, depending on your situation: 

  • How much does it cost to have you unlock my car?
  • If I have problems with my ignition switch or more complex issues, can you help me in the future? 
  • Are you local?
  • Do you work with transponder chip keys?
  • What are your regular business hours? 
  • Do you offer 24/7 emergency services?

Can a locksmith pick a car lock?

An automotive locksmith has the specialized tools to get your car doors open, even if you've locked your car key inside or lost your keys. 

The process of unlocking your car may be as simple as using a slim jim or broken key extractor, or as complicated as reprogramming your keyless system. It just depends on the situation. 

If you need help getting your car unlocked, the safest way to go about it is to contact a car locksmith, and let them take care of the problem. 

What is the average cost for a locksmith to unlock your car?

If you are locked out of your car and need help from a car locksmith, expect to pay at least $30-$50. 

However, depending on the type of locksmith services you need, average costs may range between $85-$115. You may pay more if you need locksmith services outside of regular business hours, if you need to rekey your locks or you need to have your keys or locks replaced.

Can a locksmith make a key fob without the original?

Yes. A locksmith can legally access databases to help them create a key using your car's vehicle identification number (VIN). You may have to provide them with proof of ownership in the form of a car title or registration, along with your government-issued photo identification. 

Creating a new key for a modern car may be more expensive than you think, though. Cars built before 1981 use metal keys and generally cost just a few dollars. Newer cars may use electronic keys that pair to your car's electronic control module. 

Even though it can be somewhat costly to have a locksmith create a new key for your car, it may be less expensive than having a dealership do the same work for you. Get cost estimates from local locksmiths and other professionals just to be sure.

How do you get into a locked car?

There are many legal ways you can attempt to get inside your locked car, but taking the DIY approach to unlock a car without a key could damage your locks, set off your car's alarm or cause body damage to your vehicle. The safest way to re-enter your vehicle after you've locked yourself out or lost the key is to contact an auto locksmith for help. 

How to choose the best car locksmith near you.

Start your search by reading reviews of local auto locksmiths in your area by using Thumbtack. On Thumbtack, you can see locksmiths' ratings and customer reviews, and browse through their profiles for more details on the type of services they offer.

When you start contacting locksmiths, ask if they could estimate how much it may cost to come to your location and unlock your car. Make sure you have the proper documentation on hand before they arrive, and be clear about exactly what you need them to do. For example, if your car is locked but you've lost the key outside your vehicle somewhere, you'll need a new key. If you know your key is inside, you may simply need their help unlocking your vehicle.

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