5 Important Reasons Why You Always Need A Spare Key in 2020

It is surprising that so few people have a spare key and get caught out when they unfortunately get locked out of their house or lose their keys. Having a spare key is essential for homeowners, business owners, auto owners etc. to name just a few.

 

1. Spare Keys help prevent Accidental Lockouts

Lockouts can happen to anyone and at best they are frustrating, so it is best to be prepared for an accidental lockout before one even occurs. Not only does a spare key prevent you wasting your precious time and money it can also help in an emergency, it is not unusual to hear parents panicked on the phone as they’ve accidentally locked their young child inside their home whilst taking the bins out!

All it takes is a split second of absent-mindedness to leave you stranded in a lockout, at Keytek® we aim to be with you within 30 minutes in such emergencies and back inside your home in a matter of minutes.

 

2. What to do when your Key has Snapped

One of the main causes of lockouts is broken keys. Keys are not invincible to time or to the strain that owners put on them day in and day out. Keys can be easily broken when they have been in use for a long time.

If the locks that you use in conjunction with your key are not behaving the way they are intended, then you might be in for a key break. In some cases, you will be able to tell that your key is in danger of breaking just by paying close attention to it. Many keys will have minor cracks along the shaft of the key, and this is a sign that your key is in danger of breaking.

The presence of a spare key reduces the chances of damaging an original key. This is because one key will not be exposed to the extreme amounts of pressure that come with extended use. A spare key allows owners to switch between multiple keys. This allows them to make use of a spare key of their original key is showing signs of wear and prevent the original key snapping inside the lock rendering it useless and for you to become locked out.

 

3. Spare Keys make Key Replacements Fast

There are several things that will lead people to need a key replacement. It could be that you lost your keys*, the key got stolen*, or the key got broken. Whatever the case may be, in this scenario, your next move will be to acquire the help of a local Locksmith that can help you fashion a new key.

Having a spare key handy greatly decreases the amount of time that a Locksmith will need to fashion a new key for you. If the key is not available, the Locksmith will either have to disassemble your lock or they will have to resort to other measures to try and obtain the key code necessary to cutting your new key. In the instance that you are already in possession of a spare key, the key cutting process takes only minutes, and it will cost owners only a fraction of what it would have been without a spare key available.

*In the event that your keys are lost or stolen we recommend that you have your locks replaced with new keys as you do not want your keys falling into the wrong hands. At Keytek® we will always provide 2/3 keys with every door lock replacement and more may be available if asked for in advance.

 

4. Spare Keys Give Multiple Users More Convenience

There is an old saying that goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth”. The same concept applies to having too many people using one key. For instance, if a homeowner only has one set of keys, and has multiple people living under their roof, it makes it hard for everyone to depend on one person to always be there to lock and unlock doors. It also increases the chances of keys getting lost because there are so many people who are using one key.

With the presence of a spare key, every individual is responsible for their own key, and it allows for much more convenient access to places. If homeowners and commercial business owners are concerned about limiting access, they can look into employing master key systems. Any professional Locksmith will able to answer whatever questions you might have about this.

 

5. Spare Keys help you save Money

In the long run, having a spare key can save you lots of money as a homeowner, car owner, or a business owner. In the instance that you already have a spare key made (or several spare keys), you can avoid the fees that will be incurred with having to call a Locksmith, having to miss an important meeting, or having to keep your business closed for a few hours because no one can gain access. There are many more downsides to not having a spare key than there are to having one.

If you happen to lose your keys, or they break or they are simply out of the picture somehow, you will most likely be making use of Locksmiths services. In most cases you will need a door unlocking or a key extracting when this happens and the costs will of course be higher than that of getting a spare key cut.

 

Additional Tips about Spare Keys

Many people who make use of keys fear that spare keys make their homes, cars and offices more vulnerable. This is simply because it increases the chance of someone gaining access to your key because there is now more than one key. This is a valid fear to have, but it is important that you keep your spare key safe and in trustworthy hands at all times. Here are some of the ways you can accomplish that:

  • Do not advertise that you have spare keys available unless it is to the people who will also be using said spare key.
  • Never leave your spare keys outside your home (the plant pot or under the door mat for example), these are the first places a burglar will look and it will invalidate your home insurance if the intruder uses a key to enter your home.
  • Only leave your spare key with someone you trust, a local family member, friend or neighbour are your best options.
  • Make sure that you keep a list of all the spare keys you have made and know who has access to each of these spare keys. This makes it easier to track down in case anything goes wrong or if you want to get rid of a spare key.

 

Conclusion

Making use of a spare key is one of the best ways to minimise wasting time and money. Spare keys provide their owners with an overall peace of mind, added convenience, and the realisation that they will not be stuck in a lockout for long if they ever find themselves in one.

 

Further Reading

How Not to Lose your Keys in 2020

Smart Doorbells – Do they work? How Secure are they?

What is a Smart Home?

How Do You Replace a Car Key?

Locked out your car? Lost your car keys? Car keys been stolen? These are all frustrating and stressful situations but worry not we’ve got the full low down on what you can do in these situations to get you on the road again!

 

What to do if you’ve lost your car keys?

Have you got your phone, wallet, keys…? Don’t panic! If you’ve lost your car keys, keeping a clear head may help you remember where you may have left them. If your keys are still not to be seen check with your insurance provider first as your policy may cover lost keys. You can also get a replacement key through your franchised dealer but this may take a while and is usually costly. We recommend that you call an auto Locksmith in this situation as they are usually the cheapest and fastest option.

 

What to do if you’ve locked your keys inside the car?

Stay calm and check if you have a spare key anywhere when you’ve locked your keys inside the car. Our Locksmiths at Keytek® are able to gain entry to your car without causing any damage. However, if you need new keys cut, have locked the keys in the boot or have a certain type of car such as a convertible than a specialist auto Locksmith is needed.

 

What to do if your car keys are stolen?

Car manufactures are continually developing car security so that it is much harder for thieves to steal your car. But if they manage to get hold of your keys and didn’t steal your car at the same time your car is at risk of being stolen too. To protect your car and resolve the issue, here are some things you can do:

  1. Secure your car: Block your car in with another car so that it cannot be driven off or keep it in a safe place such as a garage (if that key wasn’t stolen also!). If you have a spare key, remove some spark plugs and a couple of fuses, so that the car won’t start for anyone trying to take it.

 

  1. Call the police: Report the crime and write down the reference number so you can keep track if there is any progress.

 

  1. Contact an auto Locksmith: An auto Locksmith specialist will be able to deprogram all previous keys rendering them useless and will be able to program new keys as well as changing the locks, so your car is as secure as can be once more.

 

  1. Phone your insurer: Some insurance companies include key protection within their cover. If your insurer does, they may help cover the costs of the auto Locksmith and the new keys.

 

What to do if your car key snaps?

If your car key snaps or becomes damaged then a specialist auto Locksmith will be needed to cut a new key, the Locksmith will then remove the electronic chip from the old key and insert it into the new one. If the key snaps in the lock or the ignition, the same process will occur but the Locksmith will remove the remnants of the old key first. If the transponder key is damaged the Locksmith will need to program the new key so that it can start the engine, key programming is more of a specialised area so before you call a Locksmith make sure they have the correct tools necessary.

 

What to do if your car key battery runs flat?

If you find your car key battery no longer works you can easily replace it with a new battery. To find the old battery gently pry open the fob using a small screwdriver or a coin and you will see a small, round silver battery. Look for the numbers on the battery before you buy the new one so you can match them up.

If your car doors are locked then it is worth trying to open the door by holding the key fob as close to the lock as you can and pulling the handle. Sometimes this works as there may just be enough power in the key fob to unlock door when it is in close proximity. Failing that, open the jack of your key fob, the majority of car manufactures hide a small mechanical key inside so you can manually open the car door.

 

Who do you call?

If you have accidentally left your car keys in the ignition or on the seats and the doors have automatically locked then our Locksmiths here at Keytek® will be able to gain entry to your car, providing there is a frame all the way round your car windows, without causing any damage! Just call 0808 1642928.

If we can’t help you then we recommend you call a specialist auto Locksmith. An auto
Locksmith is usually the cheapest and quickest option. They will be able to come directly to your location, gain entry to your car without causing damage and cut you a new key should you require it. Going to your car dealership or a local garage are a couple more options but they may work out to be slower to replace your keys and are usually more expensive.

 

How much does it cost to replace a car key?

Replacing your car key can cost from as little as £25 to well over £200, the price reflects on the make, model and age of the car and what immobilizer the car has. The key type also depends on the price, e.g. if it is a remote key fob, whether it has keyless entry and whether it is a key made before 1995 without the chip.

 

What information will you need to provide?

You will need to provide some information to the Locksmith to prove you are the owner of the car and you will need to ensure they have to correct tools for the job. Prepare the following:

  • The make and model of the car, some cars require more of a specialist Locksmith such as convertibles.
  • Registration number
  • Vehicle Identification Number, you can find this on your V5C papers.
  • Photo ID, this will help prove you are the owner of the car.

What is a Tubular Key? When is best to use them?

A tubular lock is also known as a radial lock, barrel key, Ace lock or a circle pin tumbler lock where there are a variety of pins (between 4-10), arranged in a circular pattern with the matching key in a tubular or cylindrical shape. It became popular in 1933 by the manufacturer Chicago Lock Company, and has since been widely used with commercial products, such as computers, bicycle locks, ATM’s, glass display cabinets in stores, vending machines and elevators. They are ideal for business owners who want to secure their valuables, but also for theft and vandalism prevention, public safety and protection against unauthorised entrance to buildings and machines. Tubular locks are a smaller version of a morticed lock and are very budget friendly, making them ideal for home and door use. The tubular lock uses a basic pin tumbler system but has a few differences, with the shape of the key being circular and open in the centre, with grooves cut into the outsides of the circular shape.

 

Slots

 

What is their background?

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, tubular locks were recommended as high security locks for apartments and houses. In the 1980s, this was challenged by advancements in lock manufacturers, as well as locksmiths becoming familiar with their certain weaknesses. This led to a decline in the consumer market for tubular locks and keys. However, manufacturers such as Ace, the Van Lock company and Illinois Lock company, continued to manufacture different variations of the tubular lock concept. Today, these are still challenging to lock pickers and burglars, and therefore are used in the gambling industry for slot machines.

Tubular locks are also commonly found on doors and are most suited for new post-1950’s pre-drilled doors. They are one of the most common types of residential locks in the US and require your door to be drilled and prepared in different ways for installation. They were originally designed in order to prevent high manufacturing costs and labour-intensive preparation needed on doors. Tubular locks have an independent latch and independent deadbolt, so you can identify them though the independent face plate for each of these functions.

 

Door Keys

 

How do they work?

The key is circular and has a ring-shaped hole, with a metal cylinder surrounding it in the middle. The pins are pushed in horizontally to the lock; this compares to the standard pin and tumbler system where key pins are moved vertically. The notch on the key should correspond to fit the similarly shaped hole in the keyway of the door, and these will have to line up to allow insertion of the key. Once the key is fitted into the keyhole, the key pins are depressed to the correct depth.

 

What is their design?

The design is similar to the pin tumbler lock, the key has notches around each edge, these depress a pin inside the lock to a certain height, allowing the cylinder to turn. The key pins (red) and driver pins (blue) push towards the front of the lock, stopping the plug (yellow) from rotating round. Once the key is fitted correctly into the gaps between the key and driver pins; this will depress the key pins aligning them with the indentations and shear plane, separating the plug from its outer casing (green), and allowing the lock to turn.

 

Are they secure?

They are secure and good for emergencies, with a feature that allows quick access or exit in the case of an emergency. For tubular keys, this emergency mechanism is on the inside of the door, with a longer protective plate. However, they are also good for securing homes and doors, as a separate deadbolt can be added to the lock to secure the door. Tubular deadbolts have a hardened steel pin within the bolt, and this prevents people from drilling down on it. They are also available with a key in knob or lever function with or without an emergency system and can be great for storage areas or mechanical rooms where a deadbolt is not needed. They offer a high level of security and can be purchased for a good price, providing security for your home and doors.

 

Conclusion

Now that you understand the history and background of the tubular lock, and the basics of using one, you can appreciate why this lock is used widely in different industries. These locks are often considered safer and more resistant to picking than a standard lock, and therefore can be a good option for anyone who requires a higher level of security.

 

 

Best Anti-Snap Door Locks

What is Lock Snapping?

 

Lock snapping is a common method used by burglars to render a euro lock useless. This involves breaking or ‘snapping’ the cylinder, to expose the inner mechanism, which can then be manipulated to open the door. In some cases a burglar may even break the handles to get better access to the cylinder. It is becoming more and more common, as the amount of properties that now have an uPVC door with a Euro Lock installed has grown significantly.

You may not know that the cylinder is the most vulnerable part of your lock and when compromised it renders your multipoint lock points useless. Lock snapping is not difficult and even an inexperience intruder can manage it. All they need to do is apply the right amount of force to the right part of your cylinder and they can expose the mechanism.

The only way to secure your home from this type of break in is to install an ‘Anti-Snap’ lock. These locks have been designed to withstand a lock snapping attempt by breaking or ‘snapping’ in a certain place. Where point where the lock snaps does not allow access to the inner mechanism, meaning that cannot be tampered with. You will still have to have the lock replaced, but it may have stopped a burglar from gain entry. We are going to take you through the different types of anti-snap locks, so you can learn what you need to take into consideration when buying an anti-snap lock.

1.     Sold Secure Diamond Standard

 

By looking out for an anti-snap lock with a ‘Sold Secure’ sign means that you will be purchasing a lock that has been rigorously tested by Sold Secure, a testing and certification house owned by the Master Locksmith Association.

SS312 Diamond Standard was started in 2010 and is being constantly updated and modified to guarantee that it can withstand newer developed methods of attack. It is tested for resistance to lock snapping amongst other methods of destruction.

 

2.     British Standard

 

A lock will on get a ‘British Standard’ kite mark, if it has been manufactured in accordance with the criteria set out by the relevant authorities.  A lot of insurance companies will often specify that a lock needs to be of British Standard to comply with their criteria. The British Standard stamp is widely regarded as a sign of high quality and means a lock can be trusted to be secure.

In regards to Anti-Snap locks the British Standard is the ‘TS007:2012’. A TS007 will protect your cylinder against many methods of attack, such as; drilling, picking, and bumping as well as lock snapping. If you see a kite marked lock, then it should protect your door from these types of attack. However we recommend that you stay updated with new and different ways to keep your home secure. While every TS007 is of a high quality, within the TS007 category there are 3 star ratings. You may want to look at the differences between these ratings to make sure you have the most secure lock that suits your budget.

TS007 star rating explained

 

 1 Star rating –

For a cylinder to achieve this rating it is tested in the manner equivalent to the BS 3621:2007 and the minimum requirements of BS EN 1303:2005.

 2 Star rating –

For security hardware to receive a two star rating the protection offered by the hardware to the cylinder is tested in the manner equivalent to the PAS 24 test. In addition, where possible, the hardware’ durability and corrosion resistance are tested in accordance with the European handle standard EN 1906:2010.

3 Star rating –

For a cylinder to receive three stars, it must meet the requirements of the one star cylinder and also withstand an attack similar to the PAS 24 cylinder test without the benefit of any protective hardware.

 

 

3.     Yale Anti-Snap Locks

 

Yale is one of the most recognisable lock brands and any lock made by them can be trusted to be reliable. Yale does manufacture a range of anti-snap locks called the ‘AS Platinum Series Cylinder’.  On the Yale website they state;

Whereas previously Yale AS Series cylinders were approved by Sold Secure SS312 Diamond Standard, we have moved away from this standard and focused all our development activities on the latest British Kitemark standard TS007. Homeowners throughout the UK recognize the Kitemark logo as a symbol of product quality and performance. Yale KM, AS and AS Platinum Series cylinders are all approved to TS007.”

So if you have confidence in the British Standard Kite Mark or your insurance policy states that your locks should be British Standard, then a Yale lock is a good product to go for.

 

4.     ERA Invincible Locks

 

ERA is another recognisable name within the home security industry. The ERA have been manufacturing, designing and pushing innovation within the industry for over 175 years. They specialise in trusted window and door security as well as smart home solutions.

The ERA don’t use the Sold Standard or British Standard to give their locks a quality rating. They have a test centre that is accredited by UKAS which means they are approved to independently test to a ‘gold standard’ of PAS 24:2012 certification.

Their solution to the lock-snapping problem is to design a euro lock that has a unique shape. The ‘Invincible Cylinder’ reinforces the central fixing hole with 5 times more material than a standard euro cylinder. According to the ERA website the ‘Invincible Cylinder’ boasts many security features including;

  • Reinforced with five times more metal than a standard cylinder lock – it can‘t be snapped*
  • 6 hardened high security pins for the ultimate anti-pick, anti-drill and anti-bump resistance
  • Robust shape is a strong visual deterrent to would be thieves
  • Independently tested to meet the latest security standards: British Standard Kitemark (TS007), Sold Secure Diamond and the police‘s Secured By Design accreditation

The difference between the ERA locks and other anti-snap locks is that while traditionally anti-snap locks are manufactured to break in a certain place, ERA lock are manufactured to not break at all. Therefore giving euro locks ‘fighting chance’ against potential thieves. These means that even if someone does try to use the lock-snapping method to break in, you will not need a replacement. The ‘Invincible Cylinder’ is designed to withstand over 15 minutes of attack, meaning the idea is that if the burglar is not able to physically snap the lock quickly then they will just give up. Unlike the other anti-snap locks, you will not need a replacement if someone attempts to break in.

 

5.     Mul-t-lock Integrator Break Secure XP+

 

Established over 40 years ago, Mul-T-Lock has been developing and manufacturing high security locking products for commercial, industrial and residential applications.

Their contribution to the anti-snap market is the Mul-t-lock Integrator Break Secure XP+. It is the first cylinder on the market to achieve a three-star Kitemark accreditation without the need for a high security handle. The Mul-t-lock Integrator Break Secure XP+ comes with a reinforced bar that advances the cylinders protection and resistance to lock snapping. It also features 2 grip deflectors, which makes it difficult for any tool to actually get a grip on the cylinder in the first place. It is also impossible to copy the keys, unless you have the code, so you don’t have to worry about people copying them. All Mul-T-Lock products comply with the highest international standards, such as; UL, CEN, VDS, SKG, CPC, A2P and ISO 9001/2000, ISO14001, SI 18001.

Picking a Anti-Snap Lock

 

So when it comes to picking an anti-snap lock, you need to look at the standards the euro cylinders adhere to. Whether it be British Standard or Sold Secure Diamond Standard, you need to check what standard your insurance provider requires you to have. For more information on lock types, click here.

 

References:

https://www.mul-t-lock.com/en-gb/site/mul-t-lock/about_mul-t-lock/company_profile/

https://www.erahomesecurity.com/mechanical-security/invincible-door-cylinder/

https://www.yale.co.uk/en/yale/couk/news/2013/articles/new-cylinder/

https://www.locksmiths.co.uk/security-advice/cylinder-snapping/

https://unitedlocksmith.net/blog/high-security-door-locks-how-to-choose-the-best-brand