More Things Your Locksmith Wont Tell You | Reader's Digest

More Things Your Locksmith Won’t Tell You

Locksmiths reveal their best trade secrets.

By Michelle Crouch from Reader's Digest

1. Think twice before you buy a locked safe at a flea market, estate sale, or auction. It’s probably going to cost you $300 or more to open it, and chances are, all you’re going to find is mouse poop.

2. Contractors stink at installing dead bolts. I can’t tell you how many times I go out to rekey one or let someone in, and I find problems. If it’s not installed right, it won’t protect you.

3. A lot of us do undercover work for the cops. We make keys for them and get them into places at 3 a.m. so they can set up surveillance equipment or put the bugs in place. It’s part of the thrill of doing what we do.

4. When you buy a new house, always have your locks rekeyed. Otherwise there’s probably a master key out there that can easily open your home.

5. You’re supposed to check ID before you open anything. But half the time when someone is locked out of their house or car, where do you think their ID is?

6. The biggest mistakes people make with their safe: spinning the dial too fast, trying to open it before it’s unlocked, and forcing it closed when there’s obviously a problem.

7. I’ve seen my share of dead bodies. It’s always a bad sign when the landlord calls to get into an apartment, and nobody’s seen the tenant for ten days.

8. Don’t feel bad if you have to call me twice in a short span of time. I once had a guy lock himself out of his house three times in one day.

9. Never tell me, “Don’t worry. It’s an easy lock.” Every time someone says that, it takes an extra ten minutes to get it open. It’s the kiss of death.

PLUS: 13 Things Your Locksmith Won’t Tell You

Sources: Tom Rubenoff, a hardware salesman and former locksmith in Brookline, Massachusetts; Charles Eastwood, who operates Locksmith Charley in Phoenix, Arizona; Bob DeWeese, a locksmith in Baltimore, Maryland; and Rick Bayuk, owner of Karpilow Safe & Lock in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

  • Your Comments

    • Locksmithson

      One last tip. If you give your keys to someone parking cars or someone working on your car only give him the car key. It only takes a few minutes to have your keys duplicated. The information you have in your glove box leads them directly to your address. You’re enjoying a good meal and their buddy is in your house taking what he wants. I suggest a key ring called a carmack. This right splits in to to halfs. One has your car keys on it and the other all your other keys. I am 58 and have been using the same key chain for most of my adult life.

    • Locksmithson

      Another tip, if you have elderly parents and they have the same brand locks on their house give that key to the locksmith and ask him to key it to that key. You then have one less key on your ring. Don’t be worried if the locksmith has keyed it to a key he has in his truck that’s how they do it. Remember a locksmith can get in to your house without a key. Just remember to check his company first with the BBB.

    • Locksmithson

      When you move into a new home buy new locks at a store. In the long run it will cost you less then rekeying all your locks. Its not hard to do someone at the hardware store will tell you how. Most chain stores have locks keyed the same so there is no need to have multiple keys. My dad sold all his tools so I don’t have everything needed to change all locks. Even if you buy them and one lock doesn’t have the same key, most stores can key that lock to match the other locks either free or for a small fee.

    • Locksmithson

      Inside a lock there are 5 or six pins and springs on the top and bottom. When a lock smith changes a lock he might find himself short of a pin he needs. Some will take a larger pin and file it down.Try all the locks he changed they should work smoothly no sticking. Ask him if he had to file a pin to fit. This is a common practice but a good locksmith will not do this.

    • Locksmithson

      Ever lock comes in a box.In that box are 2 to 4 keys. Make sure you get the box and all the keys that were in it.

    • Locksmithson

      Before you change your dead bolt lock to a lock that needs a key from the inside too, there are codes to be followed. Some cities won’t allow occupancy of a home that has a keyway from the inside. You have to remember you might have to get out in the dark or quickly. How do you find the key to get out. I have keyways on the inside so I put a key on a braclet size ring and put it on the pantry door knob well away from the reach if someone breaks a glass pane. You might even put a small flashlight on the ring too.

    • E G Hill jr

      I’d like to add a few more things to this list. The only place we will ever know real security is between our ears. If they want in bad enough, they’ll drive a buick into your living room or chop a hole in your roof.
       0n the upside, though, is the fact that burglars are opportunists for the most part, looking for easy pickings. lf your house looks like it’d be a lot of work or risky to break into, he’ll seek out an easier target.
        Also, unlike what you see in the movies, burglars don’t usualy pick locks. The purpose of picking a lock is to open it without damaging the customers’ property. The criminal is there to rip you off, so he doesn’t care if he tears your door apart to get at your belongings
        Lastly, a lock is only as sturdy as the door it’s attached to. there’s little security in a $200 deabolt on a $40 wood veneer door

    • E G Hill jr

      I’d like to add a few more things to this list. The only place we will ever know real security is between our ears. If they want in bad enough, they’ll drive a buick into your living room or chop a hole in your roof.
       0n the upside, though, is the fact that burglars are opportunists for the most part, looking for easy pickings. lf your house looks like it’d be a lot of work or risky to break into, he’ll seek out an easier target.
        Also, unlike what you see in the movies, burglars don’t usualy pick locks. The purpose of picking a lock is to open it without damaging the customers’ property. The criminal is there to rip you off, so he doesn’t care if he tears your door apart to get at your belongings
        Lastly, a lock is only as sturdy as the door it’s attached to. there’s little security in a $200 deabolt on a $40 wood veneer door

    • http://locksmithottawa.org locksmith ottawa

      Who buys locked safes at flea markets? Lol.