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Residential Locksmith FAQ

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Home Safety

The lock experts at Top specialize in providing superior residential locksmith installation, repair, and maintenance services. Here’s a guide to the most common questions we get asked about our services by inquiring home or apartment dwellers.


How long will it take for the technician to get to our location?

Our technician will arrive directly at your location between 15 minutes and a half an hour depending on how close your location is to our mobile locksmiths.


Do I need to know what kind of locks are installed inside my home?

Nope! Our locksmiths have a professional eye for identifying lock brands and types, and can help you remedy any issues with the utmost concern for your time and budget, as well as security.


How long would it take for a locksmith to open up a door in my home?

After our locksmiths get to your location and initially assess the issue, they can get to performing lockout services – which can range between twenty and thirty minutes depending on the lock type, lock issue, and entry method.


Will the locks in my home get damaged during the lockout process?

Probably not. The methods of door opening that our technicians utilize are safe for locks – notably picking or bump keys. However, in extreme situations, we might need to drill your lock to get the door open – in which case we will need to completely replace the lock in question.


Will my property be harmed during a safe opening?

Never ever. Top Locksmith employs experts that ensure that all of your important valuables are protected and remain without a scratch during th entire process of a safe lockout service.

Will a locksmith opening up my locked safe damage the safe’s mechanics?

Usually safes that are opened up by our locksmiths will have to be replaced, as they will no longer be able to function with the level of security that’s truly necessary to safely house your valuables.


How much does residential locksmith service usually cost?

Here at Top, we offer a wide range of services, and always work within the budget of our customers, with a flat-rate quote sent to you before a locksmith arrives at your location that will never be deviated from. Our primary goal is the 100% satisfaction of our customers, and we will never stop working hard until we achieve it.

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Replacing Ignition Switches FAQ

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Auto Locksmith

Here at Top Locksmith we commonly get asked questions regarding the replacement of automotive ignition switches – a complex vehicular locksmith issue that seems much less straightforward than having broken keys. Here’s a guide to the most common questions about ignition switches that we get asked.


Is there a reason my car won’t start?

There’s a high likelihood that the reason your car won’t start is because it has a broken ignition switch. When cars won’t start many people usually resort to replacing the car battery, but this won’t solve the issues caused by a broken ignition switch. Ignition switch problems disrupt the power required to activate the engine when a transponder key is turned.


How can I know it’s time to replace my ignition switch?

Problems with my ignition switch disguise themselves as other issues – but the giveaway is if your car won’t start. This can happen in different ways – the car will still crank, or not at all  – but the ignition spark will be missing. In this situation you need to either repair or replace the ignition switch.


What are the chances of it being possible for me to repair my ignition switch?

This isn’t always easy. Sometimes there’s a simple piece or wire that can be replaced, but this isn’t common. The decision to repair or replace will be determined by measuring the cost/availability of both options against one another. Much of the time it ends up being cheaper to replace rather than repair.


How long does an ignition switch replacement take?

With all the necessary parts and equipment on hand, this will take about 20 minutes – but the exact time will be determined by how complicated the ignition structure of your car is. Usually what’s required is simply the removal of the bolts, latches, and screws holding the ignition cover together and their replacement once the ignition is switched out.


Can locksmiths really replace ignition switches?

Absolutely. When you work with the skilled locksmiths at Top, you’re guaranteeing yourself an efficient and professional ignition switch replacement, no matter the time of day.


Do I need to find a way to transport my car to the locksmith?

Absolutely not! One of the fantastic benefits of working with Top is the fact that they utilize a team of mobile locksmith vans that come directly to your location fully equipped with all the necessary tools to fully carry out an ignition switch replacement, as well as any other kind of locksmith operation.

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Types of Safes

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Safes Installation

Types of Safes

The majority of people consider their door locks as being the single element of home security, but they don’t often consider the way that safes can effectively protect their valuables. Safes are effective in both residential and commercial settings, and are available in both cheap and expensive varieties. Here, as prepared by the safe experts at Top Locksmith, is a brief guide to the different types of safes and what they do.


Diversion Safes

This is the most rudimentary type of safe available. It’s often called a hidden safe as it’s usually made of a typical object like a can, a candle, or a book. Valuables can be hidden inside these clandestine safes and stored inconspicuously in plain sight – on a bookshelf for example.


Fire Resistant Safes

These safes protect items from high temperatures, and are rated according to the amount of time that they can withstand extreme temperatures while never exceeding a particular internal temperature, that’s usually up to 350 degrees. These safes often have a 30 minute to 240 minute amount of fire protection, and are even more effective when they are installed inside concrete floors. However, these safes aren’t always watertight, and can fill up with the water from fire hoses or sprayers, so everything stored inside fire resistant safes should be placed inside double zip dry bags or sealed plastic containers.


Wall Safes

These are usually used to hide and protect jewelry or documents, and can be installed in different wall thickness depths. Some have pry resistant doors that are recessed and have concealed hinges, and these safes can easily be hidden by covering them with furniture or a painting.


Jewelry Safes

These safes are resistant to both fire and burglary, and are usually equipped with luxurious internal jewellery compartments with fine wood and fabric that are available in multiple customizable configurations. These safes are typically smaller than others.


Burglary Resistant Safes

These safes get rated based on their ability to resist the tools that burglars typically use in a break in, and the amount of time it would normally take a burglar to get to the safe – however, they are not designed to withstand heat in the same way that a fire resistant safe is.


Environmentally Resistant Safes

These safes are resistant to specific environmental elements like dust and water, and unlike fireproof safes, they can withstand long underwater immersion without affecting the important objects inside.


Fire Resistant Record Protectors

These self contained bodies are insulated and contain singular or multiple separately rated containers with different compartments meant for the safekeeping of important records. They are rated based on criteria including impact resistance and falling distance tests.


Smart Safes

These safes are designed to validate bills or dispense cash like ATM machines, allowing customers to use them at their choice or convenience, creating the environment for a secure financial transaction.

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Broken Key Copying Questions

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locks, Locksmith

If people experience key breakage, they might wonder if it’s still possible to create a copy of it if it’s the only key left in the house. There’s tons of variables that affect the ability to make a copy of a broken key, so here’s a guide to them, as prepared by the key copying experts at Top Locksmith.


So is it possible to copy a broken key?


Yes, usually. It’s usually possible that we can gather enough information about the key’s unique structure from single parts of it in order to make a full replacement. This of course depends on what state the broken key is in. It’s important to get a qualified expert to perform this operation, as unskilled locksmiths may further damage the broken key in attempting to copy it, lessening the chances of creating a working copy.


Cost of broken key copying

This depends on variables, most importantly how much the key blank costs. The price of the key blank depends on what kind of lock it’s for, and if it’s an automobile transponder key – which requires additional transponder chip programming. Another aspect of the cost is how much extra labor the copying will take, which increases if the breaks are uneven or strange.


Should I remove the broken key from the lock before trying to copy it?

The easiest way to copy a broken key requires all pieces of the key, but sometimes a key will break off so the entire groove blade is stuck inside the lock. There’s other ways to copy keys that don’t require the entire key, but they are more difficult and expensive. A licensed locksmith can help you extract a broken key out of a lock easily whether it’s a car or a house key.


Can I copy any type of broken key?

Yes, but usually broken luxury car keys or house keys with special patented keyways only available to certain licensed sellers can give you trouble – however these keys usually are issued with a special key code card, so if you have that, there’s nothing to worry about.


Do you need both parts of a broken key to copy it?

Nope! The important thing is that you have all aspects of the key’s groove blade, although if you have the key code instead you can still make a copy. You can also copy a spare key, and if you don’t have a spare, you can decode the lock – which is a more expensive operation, but one that a truly talented locksmith expert can easily complete.


Can you copy patented broken keys?

Yes this is possible, but can be very difficult. Always get a licensed locksmith expert to carry out this operation, as patented keys can be very complex and have anti decoding measures. However, with a code card, as mentioned above, this operation will be much easier.


Can I copy a fob key?

Smart keys use digital signaling instead of a mechanical blade to open up locks. If a fob key breaks, it can’t be fixed by your typical everyday locksmith. You might need a spare key in order to make a copy – however the process of getting a new fob key will require programming of a brand new key, rather than copying an already broken one, due to it being software based.


Can you copy transponder keys?

This depends on what part of the key is broken. If the blade of the transponder key is broken it can be copied. If the transponder chip is broken, you can’t copy it, but you can replace it by programming a brand new key with the help of a working transponder signal that utilizes the diagnostics computer housed within your vehicle. Each brand of car has a different process of programming transponder keys, so as a disclaimer, the ease of replacing a broken transponder key really depends on what make and model of automobile we’re working with – however, what you should know is that regardless of the car, if you have a broken transponder key you can have a new, working one in your hands with our help.

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Traveling tips from the Automotive Locksmith Expert

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Security Tips

Now that it’s Summer proper, you might be planning a fun vacation. If you’re flying by air, or our favorite, via a road trip, you’re going to want to make sure that you can really enjoy your trip and stay in the moment. This will require you to feel trusting and confident in your security while you’re on the road. This can be difficult to do when you’re distracted by the fun and stimulation of travel, but luckily for you, the experts at Top Locksmith have prepared an excellent checklist of security tips for while you’re on the road.


Spare Keys

  • One great way to avoid getting locked outside your car is to make sure that you have a spare key on you at all times. If you don’t want to carry it on your body, you can attach a magnetic lock box to the undercarriage of your car to make sure that you always have a spare key accessible.

  • If you don’t have a spare key, contact a licensed automotive technician at Top Locksmith today to help make you a duplicate key. They can cut and program the key on the spot.


Attaching Contact Info to Keys

  • Make sure to place your name and phone number on your keychain to increase the chances of getting your keys back if they are lost.

  • We advise against putting any more personal information on your keys, because anything more than your name and phone number can be a big security risk.


Mental Checklists

  • Make a mental checklist of all essential belongings to check for every time you leave your vehicle, including your keys.

  • Every time you leave your vehicle ask yourself the following questions: Do i have keys/ Did i turn off the lights? Do I have my wallet? … Eventually this exercise will become second nature for you, effectively eliminating the chances of you losing your keys.


Measures for really lost keys

  • First of all, retrace your steps, and check all weird areas like seat or car cushions.

  • If you really can’t find your keys, contact a car key specialist at Top Locksmith, who will come directly to your location within 20 minutes to provide, cut, and program you a brand new car key that matches your vehicle on the spot, getting you back on the road in no time at all.

  • When you have a technician making you a car key replacement, make sure to ask them to make a second key at the same time, so you can have a spare key in case anything comes up in the future.

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Security and Hosting Parties

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Home Security

Security and hosting partiesHosting a Summer house party has it’s own share of excitement and stress. You might be super excited to show off your cooking and hosting skills; you also might be nervous about a guest pawning some of your property. If you’re told all the people you’ve invited that they can bring their own guests, it’s important to be vigilant and prepared regarding your home security. Here’s some fantastic Summer house party security tips prepared by the experts at Top Locksmith.


Tell your Neighbors

Make sure you tell your neighbors that you’re having a house party so they can let you know if they witness any super risky or suspicious behavior. It also helps to let them know that there might be a noise, so that they can contact you directly if the noise is bothering them, rather than have to contact the police.


Make sure your Invitations are Secure

While social media is convenient and paperless, it can allow the number of guests at your party grow quickly out of hand. Guests might start inviting other people that you don’t know, and this amount of guests can start to exponentially increase. Make sure to send secure email invitations, or go the classic route with paper invitations, and make sure to ask your guests to RSVP.


Designate a Storage Room

Choose an area for the guests to store their personal items that you can lock behind you. Ensure that you’re the only person who will be able to access this room. You can even operate a professional style bag check by giving guests a number that corresponds to a number you leave with their item. By providing a locked designated storage space, you are minimizing the chances that somebody will accidentally take an item that’s not theirs.


Active Monitoring

Make sure that you monitor your party by keeping your eyes periodically on a video feed – which can be easilly installed through smart security systems that offer options for live monitoring via smartphone. This is the best way to make sure that all is well throughout your home. Of course, don’t stay watching this the entire time, but a quick glance now and then certainly couldn’t hurt – and it’s even more beneficial to have a recorded archived video of the entire party so you can go back to inspect it in case one of your, or your guest’s belongings have gone missing.

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Types of Car Keys

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Auto Locksmith

There’s many varieties of automotive keys, including transponder keys, VATS keys, and smart keys. These car keys are furnished through one of two common automotive key cutting techniques. In this brief blog post, the experts at Top Locksmith will detail the differences between these key cutting techniques, as well as the variety of keys commonly available in the automotive market today.


Mechanical (Traditional-cut) Car Keys

These popular car key types are cut inside a key cutting machine like the ones used for regular home or office lock keys. Up until the late 20th century, this was the only way to cut car keys, but since then it’s less commonly used.


Laser Cut Keys

These keys, known as sidewinder or internal cut keys, are the more advanced of the two automotive key types. They have the advantages of pick and duplication resistance lock cylinders, and are more commonly being used by automotive manufacturers today.


Common Types of Automotive Keys

  • Transponder Keys – These car keys contain a computer microchip in it’s handle that enforces ignition security and prevents key fraud. Transponder keys can be mechanically or laser cut depending on what the make and model of the vehicle is.

  • Smart Keys – These car keys use computer microchips as well as sensors to open cars without the use of a traditional key. All that’s necessary is to have the keys on your person and your car will automatically unlock and start as you approach it closely.

  • VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System) Keys – These mechanical keys contain a black resistor on the blade with one of 15 possible values that offer special security and prevention of key fraud. While these keys are often considered to be electronic keys, and the resistors confused for microchips, the keys are in fact devoid of computer technology.

  • Valet Keys

  • These car keys have been modified to allow their owners to operate door locks and car ignitions, but not open locked glove boxes or trunks, and they are often issued with normal smart or transponder keys. From their name, one can tell they are particularly useful in hotel and restaurant valet contexts.

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Outside the House Security

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Security Tips

Outside the home securitySometimes maintaining your security when you’re away from your house is an issue – as even if your home has a highly planned out security infrastructure, you’re not taking the entire spread of this infrastructure with you during your Spring or Summer vacations. Here are some issues gathered by the experts at Top Locksmith relating to maintaining the security of yourself and your property when you are outside of the home.


Paying attention to security when you’re out of the house

Whenever we leave the house, we still need to ensure that our belongings are protected. We might just decide to leave your property inside your car, or maybe in a nearby locker. But are they safe in both these places? The same reasoning applies to cruises where belongings are left inside staterooms – to which the entire staff maintains a key. Or perhaps you’re in the middle of moving, and have a great deal of property in a mini storage station. Or, you might be at a school or office, and need to transport valuables with you and leave them somewhat unattended. All of these scenarios represent possible security risks.


Addressing these security risks

You need to carefully choose what belongings you take with you when you leave your house. It’s better to take less than more, since if you carry way too much stuff it can be really distracting. Make sure not to leave anything you wouldn’t want to be stolen in locations that aren’t fully secure. Make sure to add any items that are extremely valuable that you may be traveling with to your homeowner’s insurance. Make sure not to flash any of your belongings around in public spots. Always lock up your belongings with padlocks, keep hotel rooms locked, and never leave your gym bag out, or your hotel door propped open on the door bar while you leave briefly. If you’re leaving your hotel room, always use the hotel safe.


When you’re back home

When you’re out of the house, your home security is still important. You’re going to want to ensure that when you come home, your entire house is still in the same condition. Trust in our security services to help prepare your home for extended periods of physical absence.

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Vehicle Theft

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Auto Locksmith

Vehicle TheftCar Theft Decline Due to Security Technology Advancements

There has been a slow and gradual lowering of automobile theft in recent years. 10 years ago, many people were losing their homes and desperate to turn to automobile theft to make ends meet. However, in the last few years, the job market has recovered, and the crime rate has lowered, and has been staying low. Another reason for car theft gradual decline is the increase in technological prowess. New smart car technology acts as a strong deterrent for thieves, in turn causing a continual decline in automobile theft. But car thieves aren’t yet finished with their dastardly trade.


New Vehicle Theft Threats

Tailgate vehicle theft has risen from around 400 7 years ago to almost 2000 since 2015. Officials estimate that the number is actually higher, but many people don’t want to report it at all. It will only take 30 seconds for a thief to take a tailgate off a car – a simple operation that utilizes basic tools. The thief can then make a severe killing selling off the electronics and scrap metal they receive through this theft. This can lead to large losses for truck owners. For example, those who own a 2016 Ford F260 King Ranch pickup truck will have to spend over 3000 dollars to replace a tailgate.


Keep Watch Over your Car Parts

You can secure your tailgates by locking them securely and parking with the tailgate backed up against a wall or another surface. Even if you don’t have a truck, you’re at risk for a specialized automobile part theft, as over 75,000 airbags get stolen from vehicles every year – and since airbags are much easier to steal than the entire car, it’s not surprising that most thieves these days don’t aim to steal the entire vehicle – just small parts of it that can fetch for good money on the illicit market. Other items that are commonly stolen are GPS devices and full systems, sound systems and stereos, car television sets, cell phones, electronic devices, third row seats, tires, and rims.


How to avoid having belongings stolen

  • Always secure your car using your key fob when you walk away from it – this will also help you remember to always have your keys on you, preventing the possibility of a lockout.
  • Keep your valuables hidden. Don’t display valuables in your ar windows, and don’t leave your keys out either.
  • Leave your car parked in well lit locations at night. If you ever see somebody in a parking lot checking up on random car doors, don’t park in that lot, and report the suspicious activity. Don’t assume that the person attempting to pick the car door is a locksmith.
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Spring Security

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Security Tips

Now that spring is finally in the air, we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the warm weather. Everyone is eager to make their outdoor plans, with beach weather looming on the horizon. You might be noticing an increase in walking street traffic, or just people hanging outdoors, pumped up to revitalize their daily lifestyles after a cold winter. We can all agree that warm weather is fantastic. However, it can also come with a range of serious security concerns. If you want to keep your residential or commercial property safe during warm weather, it’s essential that you practice good security tactics. A talented residential and commercial locksmith can help ensure that your home remains safe, utilizing some of the below tactics.


Spring Cleaning Security Concerns

Spring cleaning is a universal practice where people start to spruce up and revitalize their spaces once the weather starts to heat up. It’s a fantastic practice because not only does it make you feel good in the moment, but it has a whole slew of practical long term benefits. However, there are a number of serious security concerns related to spring cleaning – as the process usually involves the moving of belongings inside and out of your home or businesses, potentially providing a temptation to passing criminals. This is absolutely a risk that should be addressed, even if it sounds overcautious. If you’re trying to keep your home or business secure during your spring cleaning, you might want to follow the below tips:

  • Don’t leave any items alone on the curb without anybody guarding them
  • Place all old or precious items into black plastic garbage bags to mitigate the temptation they might pose to passing criminals
  • Bring older items that you want to dispose of to local charities
  • Don’t put brand new purchase boxes on the curb where people can easily see them


General Post Winter Security Upkeep

Locks are vulnerable to general deterioration due to weather. Locks freezing during the winter can cause them to not be as dependable or useable that they were previously. This can pose major security concerns to you and your property. If you’re at all concerned that your locks suffered damage during the previous winter, you should contact the experts at Top Locksmith, who can provide you with the highest quality in lock repair service, or replace locks that are beyond useable with a brand new functional one. Contact us directly to set up an appointment – we recommend doing so during the month of April, before the warm weather really ramps up, and before the burglaries increase as more and more people pass your property on the street – or even leave their property on Spring and Summer breaks.

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