Inserting your car key into the side door lock and turning it in the ignition used to be the standard for every vehicle, but more and more cars today rely on keyless remote technology for ease in opening and starting your car.
If you’re not quite sold on the idea of operating a car with the start of a button, you might want to know more about keyless systems and how they work. Here are the basics and benefits of remote keyless entry for your car:
What Are Keyless Remotes and How Do They Work?
Keyless remotes are in-hand systems that depend on the remote key you carry and its connection to a receiver installed in the car. The singular coding in your remote’s chip matches that of the chip in the car, and it allows you to send signals to perform functions like locking and unlocking the vehicle, starting the ignition, opening the trunk and enabling or disabling the car alarm. Your remote will work within the range of a specific distance.
What Are the Advantages of Keyless Remotes?
The option of keyless remote entry provides numerous benefits, starting with significant ease and convenience. You’ll never have to wake up on a cold morning and run into the chill to get your car warmed up before your commute — just press a button and your car will prepare for your arrival on its own. And when you’ve got your hands full with kids and groceries, getting everything into the car is much easier with a quick click to unlock everything and open the trunk.
Keyless entry provides better security, as well. No one can pick your car’s lock — because it doesn’t have one. If you forget to lock up, just press one button to secure your car from across the parking lot without backtracking. And don’t fret about fumbling with and dropping a metal key in a dark parking lot. One click and you’re in your car as quickly as possible.
In addition to their functional advantages, remote keyless entry is plain trendy. You’ll feel chic, breezy and modern with your cool car and its click-capable functions at the press of a button.
Ernie’s Can Help With Any Key
Just like residential and commercial door lock and key services, Ernie’s Lock and Key can provide all the assistance you need for electronic key systems. Contact us today for more info.
So you think it’s time. Your sons or daughters are old enough to attend school, go out into the neighborhood on their own or be dropped home from a friend’s house when you’re out, and you think it’s probably wise to give them house keys to make sure they can always get in.
The problem with giving keys to kids, however, is that they can easily misplace them, which is a security threat to your home and a problem when your child gets locked out. Here’s how to help your kids keep track of their house keys:
Organize keys so they’re easy to locate. Think about buying your child a lanyard or a special keychain to help him or her have a personalized and easy way to remember and grab house keys. Kids can also attach keychains to their backpacks with a clip or tie. It’s easy to lose one little key, but losing a backpack or lanyard will be much more noticeable, so kids will keep better track of their keys this way.
Use a key rack at home to help keep all keys in one place. Designate a special spot in your house where everyone can put their keys down when they come home and pick them up again when they go out. If Mom, Dad and the kids all hang their keys on one rack or place them in a specific drawer, the whole family will always know where the keys are when you need them.
Have spare keys and keep them hidden. In the event that your kids (or you!) do misplace their keys, you should always keep spare keys as backup. Make duplicates and hide your keys in places only your family knows about.
Have a plan if your child gets locked out of the house. Even with the best organization, sometimes mistakes happen and your kids can get locked out. Make sure you’re prepared for this situation by having an emergency number to call, a neighbor they can go to or a spare key hidden in a secure location, like inside a keypad-entry garage. For security, never hide a key in a visible or easily accessible place outside, like under a mat or potted plant.
Choose Ernie’s for Your Duplicate Keys
If you’re confident your kids can handle having their own house keys, trust Ernie’s Lock and Key for your key cutting and duplication needs. We’ve been dedicated to the safety and peace-of-mind of residents in the Maryland and Metro D.C. areas since 1960. Contact us today.
You use keys for everything, from your front door to your car to each floor of your office building. With such a busy schedule and so many keys floating around, it can be hard to remember which goes into what door, and misplacing one can be disastrous.
To keep your keys straight and ensure you always have the right one at hand, set up your own system for differentiating them while keeping them together for convenience.
Tips for Organizing Keys
Decorate the Keys Yourself
Want an easy way to tell your keys apart and know at a glance which goes where? Color-code and decorate them at home. Assign a shade to each location and memorize them or keep a color legend somewhere you’ll remember to check. Lay your keys out on a paper towel and paint them with nail polish or color them with sharpies. You can also decorate them with letters or symbols to signify their use.
Use Key Caps and Key Rings to Separate and Distinguish Your Keys
If you don’t want to DIY-decorate your office keys or those that aren’t technically your property, you can buy pre-made organizational key caps to slip over your key heads. They’re made of rubber or plastic, come in all shapes and colors and are cheap.
If you have so many keys that they’re hard to handle, try organizing them on different rings on your keychain depending on their use. For example, keep your office keys on one ring, your house keys on another and the keys to your cars on a third. Breaking them into sections will help you distinguish them more easily than having one big cluster.
Try a Key Organizer
To optimize your organization, buy a premade key organizer to give you professional-grade control over where you keep your keys.
Trust Ernie’s Lock and Key
Your new system should keep all your keys easily accessible and accounted-for, but if you ever misplace a key, Ernie’s is here to help! Servicing lock and key needs in Maryland and Metro D.C. since 1960, we’re your best choice for key-cutting and other essentials. Contact us today!
Several circumstances might lead you to be in need of a key change. If you’ve misplaced your key, suffered a break-in, moved to a new house, started a new business in a previously owned building or experienced a change in staffing, it’s likely you desire a new key for safety and convenience purposes, but you might not know where to start.
Most don’t know it, but when you want to change your key entry method, you have the option of either changing your locks or rekeying them. Here’s the breakdown and benefits of both:
What Is Changing a Lock?
Replacing a lock in order to change your key involves removing your current lock system and installing one that is entirely new. You’ll need to consider various factors when selecting a brand-new lock, such as your budget and the type of security features you desire. If you want a completely different kind of lock than the one you currently have, this method is necessary. You can buy a new lock at the hardware store and replace it yourself or consult your local locksmith for choices and installation.
Lock changing has several advantages. Selecting an entirely new lock, rather than working with your old one, gives you the added benefit of security customization. You can choose the appearance, features and functionality of your lock, add additional security pins or screws and create a system sturdier than any you’ve had before. You also have the option of upgrading your lock to reinforce and improve security whenever you desire.
What Is Rekeying?
Rather than removing and replacing your entire lock system, rekeying lets you keep your deadbolt system and readjust it to work with a different key. Your old key will no longer work, but otherwise your security will remain stable and operate in the same way — you’ll just have a fresh key to keep it safe. Rekeying is cost-effective but it can also be complicated, so make sure you contact a locksmith to help you perform the duty.
Rekeying is another great option for changing your entry key because it’s simple, efficient and cost-effective. You’ll keep your lock intact, so you don’t need to worry about budgeting for a new deadbolt system. The only costs you’ll incur are for the locksmith’s labor. In addition, when handled by a professional, rekeying is a quick and easy route to enhanced security and a fresh start.
Which Method Is Best?
Whether you choose to rekey or change your lock is based on personal preference and your situation. Think about what you’re willing to spend and the reason for the replacement. If you’re moving into a new house or business and want to make sure no one else has access, rekeying might be enough of a safety measure to ensure you’re the only one with the key.
If you’re looking for increased security or an upgrade because of the threat of burglaries, you might want to invest in a completely new lock instead.
New Lock and Rekeying Services in Maryland
Whether you’re looking for a new lock or need your current one rekeyed, Ernie’s Lock and Key can help. Servicing the keying needs of the Maryland and Metro D.C. areas since 1960, we specialize in ensuring your building is secure. Contact us today for more information.
Building a business requires extensive amounts of dedication, time, resources, money — and the list goes on. So naturally, one of your most significant investments should be in the security system of protecting your business, assets and employees.
Keyless entry installation in Maryland is a modern and efficient technology that puts you in control. The system uses either keycards or personal identification numbers, which prove to be more convenient than fondling with a physical key. A simple swipe motion of a keyless entry system is beneficial to companies that have high employee turnovers.
Benefits of Commercial Keyless Door Locks
With a commercial keyless entry system for your small or large business in Maryland, you’ll have complete access to all the control systems. Here are four main benefits of keyless security:
A keyless entry system installed at your Maryland business allows you to keep track of employee entry and exit times, along with which entry and exit points they use. The efficiency of your company can increase by allowing you to track employee work hours accurately. Because you’re in control of the system, you can issue temporary keycards, or change or delete permission as deemed necessary. Essentially, you can completely regulate who enters the building during specific times and days of the week.
As a business owner, you aren’t only responsible for the safety of your physical assets, but for your employees, as well. Keyless entry installation minimizes risks in the workplace and prevents security issues from occurring. Safety in all buildings helps reduce internal theft and violence, while also keeping your employees out of danger. With a keyless system, unauthorized personnel are unable to enter, which produces a secure workplace environment.
Having a keyless entry locksmith in Maryland ensures secure solutions for your business’ important technologies and documents. Because people can “pick” traditional locks, the security of a building is greatly reduced. However, keyless systems are more complex, which lessens the risk of theft and creates a secure solution to protecting your tech, documents and other essential items. Keys can fall into the wrong hands — but not with a keyless system.
With a keyless system, you’ll no longer need to pay for lost or misplaced keys, or make copy keys for new employees. Although the initial cost of a keyless installation is heavy, the investment pays off while producing a more secure workspace. A downfall of having a key system is the cost of replacing spare keys and hiring a locksmith to replace outdated locks. Compared to keyless security, physical keys can get lost or stolen and can’t be revoked unless physically gathered.
During all the Halloween festivities and fun of dressing up and eating candy, you may forget about the security of your home. Locking your doors may seem like a no-brainer from some — but Halloween is a popular holiday for mischievous hooligans and quite possibly, more serious criminal acts.
While people in costumes may be difficult to identify and pranks may begin to scour your neighborhood as the clock nears midnight, Ernie’s Locksmith in Maryland devised a few tips to keep your home safe during Halloween.
There are two types of people in this world — those who lock their doors each time they leave their home and those who never give it a second thought. If you’re the latter of the two, a home automation system allows you to lock and unlock your doors remotely with an electronic door lock. With smart lock security technology, you can make sure your home is secure by viewing an app.
Setting up an alarm system enhances the security of your home compared to only locking your doors. It’s a good idea to make sure your system is working correctly and that your doors, handles and locks are not loose or broken.
Although it’s customary to leave your porch lights on to indicate your participation in trick-or-treating, leaving your interior lights on is a safe way to indicate people are home — even if they aren’t. Using a smart lock security system in Maryland allows you to turn your lights on and off from anywhere.
Peepholes serve a purpose, and you shouldn’t be afraid to keep your door shut if you’re unsure of who is on the other side. Instead of leaving your door unlocked during trick-or-treating or a party, use the peephole. Burglars have a better chance of entering your home if you’re constantly opening it without caution.
It’s a smart idea to keep your plans off social media because it leaves your house vulnerable and open to crimes. Don’t share the location of your haunted party, as it could encourage unfortunate or dangerous events to occur at your home without your permission.
Although it might not happen frequently, there will be times when you need the services of a capable locksmith. The first question that pops into your head will probably be, “Where can I find a locksmith near me?”
While a quick Internet search will likely yield a host of results, some of them will be mobile locksmiths who may not have a strong presence in your area. A better option is to contact a local locksmith who has a solid reputation within your community.
Reasons to contact a local locksmith:
They know your area and its unique security needs. A local locksmith with roots in the area has unique insight into your security issue and can recommend the most reliable, affordable solution. You’ll also know who to call if you need follow-up service.
They have all the necessary tools and equipment to do the job. Local locksmiths are brick-and-mortar business establishments and have all the requisite resources and technology on-site. In contrast, a mobile locksmith you find online usually has a limited number of tools and equipment.
You’ll avoid scams. Mobile locksmith scams are all too common these days. When you contact a local locksmith, you’ll know you’re dealing with a reputable business you can trust.
You’ll be supporting a small business. It’s good to know that when you call your friendly neighborhood locksmith, you’re helping to support a smaller company that makes a positive contribution to your local economy.
Ernie’s Lock Co. Is the Best Locksmith in Riverdale, MD, and Beyond
If you’re looking for a local locksmith in Maryland, Riverdale-based Ernie’s Lock Co. is ready to assist you. We’re a full-service, community-focused small business that’s been meeting the lock and security needs of Maryland home and business owners since 1960. Next time you’re locked out, remember to make us your neighborhood locksmith!
Your life is fast-paced. You spend time at home and work and complete a million tasks in between — whether that’s picking up the kids, running errands, making appointments or something else. Amid all the bustle, it’s easy to lose a key or get locked out of your home. What’s not so easy is dealing with the aftermath while the rest of your life barrels forward.
The need for a quick key duplication service near you is never more apparent than when you’re locked out. Companies like KeyMe have answered the call with automated duplicate key maker machines placed in strategic locations. Though an automatic duplicate key maker is useful, it may not be a one-size-fits-all solution as advertised. Let’s take a look at the KeyMe model to see why you may want to think twice and call a locksmith instead.
What Is KeyMe?
KeyMe is a New-York-based company founded in 2012. As a self-proclaimed “locksmith in a box,” KeyMe will strive to provide a duplicate key maker near you when you need it most. If you’ve ventured into a Rite Aid, Kmart or 7-Eleven store in the Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. area, you may have noticed a KeyMe machine. KeyMe kiosks enable you to make duplicate keys on the spot, which is supposed to save you a trip to the locksmith.
KeyMe provides an easy, convenient method for producing spare keys for your home, business, car or just about anything else that requires a key. They also allow you to create copies of RFID key cards or key fobs. These devices use radio waves to store and read information on a tag. Depending on where you live and work, your apartment or work building may use an RFID tag to allow access into certain areas.
How Does KeyMe Work?
KeyMe promises to make copies of your keys in a flash, but how does it deliver? Currently, the system uses a combination of kiosks and a mobile app.
When you visit an automated KeyMe kiosk, the machine will walk you through how to copy a key. Here’s a summary of what might unfold as you use the service:
The kiosk gives you options for different key types to duplicate. The selection includes standard keys, high-security keys, vehicle keys, RFID tags and key fobs.
Once you select the option you desire, the machine will prompt you to place your key in a designated slot.
The KeyMe kiosk will then use a complicated algorithm to optically scan and interpret your key’s data.
If you’ve selected a standard key option, the machine can cut the key immediately.
For more specialized keys, the machine will tell you the replacement key will need to be shipped to your home within a few days.
After you print your key or order a copy, the machine will prompt you to make an account to store the key’s information. This is where the KeyMe app comes into play.
In addition to making instant copies of your keys, the KeyMe kiosk enables you to create and store digital copies of your keys for future duplication. The downloadable KeyMe app allows you to digitally store your keys on your mobile device, which produces a code that’s stored in the cloud. You can use the code to order new keys and have them shipped to you, or you can share it with anyone who may need access to print a spare key.
Pros of Using KeyMe Kiosks
There are just a few pros to choosing an automated key duplication service. The first is that they are relatively instantaneous. While no locksmith or automated key maker is truly instant, you can have a replacement in about 15 minutes. Another pro is that in the event of a lockout, you can cut a new key using their app. All you need to do is drive to the kiosk to pick it up. Although these benefits of KeyMe kiosks sound great at first, the cons of KeyMe far outweigh the pros.
Cons of Using KeyMe Kiosks
There are also several downsides to using the automated KeyMe kiosks. An overarching disadvantage is that KeyMe keys do not always deliver optimal quality and may not fit properly into the lock. Here are four more cons to choosing a service like KeyMe.
1. The Security Risk
Services like KeyMe pose several security risks. Anyone who has brief access to your keys — like your friends, car valets, mechanics, thieves and more — can take them to a kiosk and copy them. If you’ve saved keys to the KeyMe app and sent codes to friends, they could easily share that code. And in an increasingly digital world, there’s always a possibility that the cloud-based KeyMe system could be hacked and exploited for its key codes.
A Wired article from several years ago chronicles how the writer successfully used KeyMe to break into his neighbor’s home while testing the program’s security. The writer’s neighbor lived on the second floor of a walk-up and decided to throw the writer his keys instead of walking down to open the door for him. In the 30 seconds it took the writer to ascend the stairs to the apartment, he scanned his neighbor’s key with the KeyMe app. This feature allowed him to create a copy of the key at a KeyMe kiosk and return an hour later to let himself back in.
It’s important to note that it appears KeyMe has recently removed the app feature that allows people to scan in keys with a photograph. Though this move was, perhaps, taken to make people feel safer using the service, there is still a security risk.
Anyone who has access to your keys for just 15 minutes could duplicate them at a kiosk. If someone knows how to get a car key copied with KeyMe, they could easily order a copy from a kiosk and have access to your car within a few days. And as we mentioned, there’s still the risk that cyber-criminals can access the keys you’ve saved to the app and make copies.
2. The Verification Process
To circumvent the troubling security risks we covered, KeyMe has a verification process at each kiosk. To make a key that has been saved to the KeyMe app, you’ll need a verified email address, a password and a fingerprint scan if you have one saved. While these requirements are all protective measures, they can only do so much. The KeyMe Terms and Conditions explicitly state the following:
Users are responsible for the activity that occurs on their accounts.
Users are responsible for keeping their passwords secure.
If your password isn’t very strong or someone finds out what it is, KeyMe will hold you responsible for any issues that unfold.
Another security measure KeyMe implements is that it doesn’t take cash and requires a verified credit card. In theory, this setup should ensure that they have a name connected to each key order, which they could trace in the case of wrongdoing. However, a recent Forbes article put a wrench in this theory.
To test the kiosk’s security, the author bought an Amex debit card with cash. This card could not be traced back to his name, and the kiosk allowed him to use it to purchase a key. The author’s conclusion? KeyMe does not verify credit cards to see if they are debit or credit and have clear account ownership. If someone wants to get a replacement car key for your vehicle in order to steal it, it’s possible that they could do so anonymously with the KeyMe service.
3. The Potential for Inconvenience During Lockouts
As we’ve discussed, one of the biggest marketing points for KeyMe is that you’ll never have to worry about lockouts again. While this could be true, there are many caveats:
Preparation: In order to print a new key on-demand, you need to either have that key with you or have a copy of it saved within the app. You obviously wouldn’t have the key with you during a lockout, which means your only option is to have the key saved. Unless you’ve made a copy of that key using KeyMe before, it’s unlikely that you’d have the key preemptively stored in your phone.
Proximity: If you do have the key saved and ready to print when a lockout strikes, you’ll still have to get to a KeyMe kiosk. Ideally, one would be nearby and convenient. There’s still a chance, however, that you’d need to drive out of your way to get to the kiosk and then return home with your key. By the time you’ve made this trek, you may be wishing you’d saved time by contacting a locksmith come to your location and complete the work onsite.
Key type: Only standard keys can be reproduced on the spot at a KeyMe kiosk. If you’re locked out of your car or use a high-security key, the kiosk may require you to have the key shipped to your home within a few days.
For most people, there’s no guarantee that the kiosks will provide an easier or more efficient solution than calling an experienced locksmith.
4. Not All Keys Can Be Copied
Each key manufacturer uses a unique key shape and design as its template. When you get a key copied, a locksmith or automatic kiosk has to start with a key blank from the manufacturer and match your key’s cuts. While a locksmith may need to order a blank to match less common key manufacturers, KeyMe simply won’t copy those brands.
KeyMe kiosks have a limited amount of space to hold key blanks, which confines them to the most popular options. In addition, high-security key manufacturers set distribution limits on their blanks, which means that KeyMe can duplicate only high-security key types with expired patents.
If you have a common key brand like Schlage or Kwikset, you may be covered with a KeyMe kiosk. But if your key deviates from popular manufacturers, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to reproduce a copy with KeyMe.
Why Choose a Professional Locksmith Over KeyMe?
KeyMe may be helpful in some situations, but a professional locksmith has several advantages, including:
More key blanks: A locksmith doesn’t have space constraints like an automated key duplicator. You’re more likely to be able to get key replacements from a wide assortment of manufacturers when you work with a pro.
Greater expertise: At a KeyMe kiosk, you have to pick one of several predetermined options. Locksmiths have a greater knowledge of keys and can give you recommendations based on your unique situation.
Security: When you work with a locksmith, you’re not storing valuable key data in an app with a flimsy password. You can trust that your security and privacy are being protected.
Onsite assistance: In many emergency lockout scenarios, the most beneficial option is to have a locksmith come to you. A professional locksmith can provide prompt service and keep your day moving.
Quality: The craftsmanship and quality you’ll get with a locksmith exceeds that of a KeyMe kiosk. Though KeyMe advertises itself as 10 times more accurate than traditional locksmiths, there are many review articles that state otherwise. Customers pay for cheap keys that don’t fit in their locks and ultimately waste their time. You can trust that a quality locksmith will get your key right and deliver the results you expect.
If the idea of using an automated key duplication service does not appeal to you, contact the professionals at Ernie’s Lock Co. instead. We’ve been providing reliable key replacement services in Maryland since 1960, and we can also alleviate the security concerns of using KeyMe and similar services. Ernie’s provides high-quality service, whether you’re in a pinch or you just need a duplicate key. And unlike other locksmiths, we won’t overcharge you. For more information about what Ernie’s can do for you, call (301)-277-1126 or contact us online today!
If your electronic car keys are lost or stolen, you may turn to the car dealership where you purchased the vehicle for help — and experience a strong case of “sticker shock” when you discover the cost of a replacement key! Your next step will likely entail checking the internet for an aftermarket provider that can replace lost or stolen car keys at a much lower price.
However, while purchasing replacement keys online can reduce your upfront costs, it does pose a variety of risks:
Inferior quality – When you purchase keys online, you can never be sure what you’re getting in return for your hard-earned money. Many aftermarket electronic keys are poor-quality “knock-offs” that will not deliver the reliable long-term service you need. They’re made from inferior materials and cheap electronic parts and components, which may cause the device to fail when you least expect it.
Programming issues – Programming an aftermarket key can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s also possible that you’ll receive a “used” key that has already been preprogrammed, which could mean it will not work properly with your vehicle.
Unreliable service – Most of us have had the frustrating experience of purchasing a product from an e-commerce store at a great price — only to discover the company provides no service after the sale. If you need help programming your key or any other type of customer assistance, you might be out of luck.
Ernie’s Lock: A Reputable Car Locksmith in MD You Can Trust
Instead of taking your chances with an online aftermarket key provider, turn to Ernie’s Lock Co. if you need to replace car keys in Maryland. We’re a real “brick-and-mortar” company that has been proudly serving MD since 1960. Contact us to learn more about our key replacement services today!
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