“Oh my god we’re locked out of our property!!”
Well, no one wants this headache.
That’s a worst-case scenario: Early in the morning and customers will soon show up, and you can’t get into your business. Or, just got home from a long trip and the front door is stuck. Or, your storage shed key is missing.
Sadly, key and lock emergencies happen often and without warning.
There is a similarity among how each person handles this: “Where is the key?” Or, “What is the correct entry code?” Or, “Who among my co-workers or employees can I call at this time of day?”
After everything you did to get up on time, get dressed, gather all your “stuff” that goes to the office, and now you can’t even get in. The human mind tends to jump ahead and imagine all the negative futures that might occur because of the inability to get inside. Angry clients, lost sales, and worse images may be conjured up.
Your frustration is completely normal. Not only is it easy to become angry, it is likely. Then your blood pressure goes up.
Here are things you can try right now, while standing there. We’ll include ways to find professional key/lock help!
But first, a Do-It-Yourself approach:
Key won’t insert (may be bent)?
- Take a deep breath and look calmly at the key. Is the general shape definitely the same one used in the past? Not another key that’s the same color or similar design? If you have more than four keys on your ring, it’s not difficult to confuse them. Hold up the key pointed away from your face, and look down the length to be sure the key is straight and not damaged. If this is the correct key and it is bent, the only practical solution is to immediately call a co-worker or a locksmith.
NOTE: Holder can help you mark your keys for quick identification!
Key goes into the lock but didn’t feel right and won’t turn?
- Ask yourself what details about the insertion did not feel normal? Was the process rough? How did that seem different from other times you have used a key to unlock a door? Do you think that perhaps the lock has dried out? Before you try to lubricate the lock, remember there is a big difference between graphite-type “dry” lubricants and various oil lubricants.
- Won’t turn. First, be careful not to force the turning process. Look again at the key in the lock to be sure it is inserted call the way. Carefully try again to turn the key. Most mechanical lock assemblies rely on a certain degree of precision alignment. You may find that gently wiggling the key in the lock may help the parts line up so that you can enter the property. This may prevent your key and lock emergencies from being worse.
Key will insert but no longer allows turning?
- “Jiggling” the key may work. But, don’t let frustration result in enough force to damage the key. Next, go through all your keys to be sure you have the correct one.
Key lost or missing?
- If it’s lost or missing, and you do not have a hidden key safe nearby, then it may be time to contact a co-worker or locksmith. (By the way, hiding backup keys can be very high risk. Thieves know to look for such things.)
Missing from your person or from hidden location?
- If it’s lost or missing from your person (pockets or coat, etc), then slow down for a moment. Walk to your car/truck to see if something fell out of your pockets or purse. Think where you were at the last time you looked at the key.
- If the key is missing from a hidden location, the most likely reason is the actions of a third person. It could be children, or a friend, family or co-worker. It could also be animals. The best thing to do is replace the key and/or lock and avoid hidden keys altogether.
(Hiding backup keys is high risk. Thieves know about this strategy.)
Key broken? Key stuck inside lock?
- If the key breaks outside the lock, then call for help. Or, if you need to drive to a nearby locksmith, be sure to leave a note on the door if someone may arrive while you are gone. If the key breaks and leaves a piece inside the lock, then it is definitely time to call a locksmith (like Holder’s Total Security).
Digital lock problems
- Digital lock – too many attempts? If you made several attempts to enter the correct password, you may be locked out. First, try calling the company that installed the digital lock. If that doesn’t work, try calling the company that built the lock. Most will have an 800 number. If these are not useful, and you are in Tulsa County (Oklahoma), consider calling Holder’s Total Security at (918) 663-8660.
- Alarm going off? First, don’t panic! Since electronic alarms go through a security company, call that company to let them know you are having difficulty. Go ahead and get out your photo I.D. in case a security or law-enforcement person shows up. Also, be prepared to explain who you are and what business you were taking care of when the alarm went off. It may also be helpful to have handy a phone number for one of your co-workers.
Mechanical lock problems during key and lock emergencies
Lock seems frozen in cold weather?
- Cold weather can definitely affect a mechanical lock mechanism. Unless you have a portable source of warm air available, this can be a real challenge. Avoid warm liquids that will make everything worse. Even if you have a portable heater, you will need a source of electricity. Never use open flames. Instead, call a friend or a qualified locksmith.
- Short version: A damaged or vandalized lock mechanism will require a lot of fix-it skill. You are better off contacting a locksmith. It would help if you take detailed pictures of the damage and provide them to the locksmith. Photos will also be useful for police or insurance companies who deal with vandalism.
Lock looks different than you expected?
- Although unusual, it is possible to show up at the wrong location and be puzzled that the door or lock is different than you were told, or remembered. If that’s not possible, consider that a landlord or repair person may have been there before you. Try your key but don’t be surprised if it does not work. The next step will be to contact someone for clarification.
Not aligned with door frame?
- If the door does not fit well in the frame, you may have to give it a little tug (or maybe a gentle push) to help the locking bolt move freely. If that or wiggling stuff does not work, it may be time to contact a locksmith.
Ideas for lock or key emergencies?
If you’re locked out, need keys duplicated, or need other locksmith services, contact Holders located at (918) 663-8660. From opening a locked door to cloning your key by VIN, we can help. Backed by generations of experience, Holder Security can handle lock situation, no matter your emergency. We can also refer you to a specialist, if you have a unique need.
EMERGENCY SERVICE AVAILABLE
Please note this is only monitored during normal business hours.
EXAMPLES of key and lock emergencies:
- Locks Installation
- Change Locks
- Lock Repair
- Rekeyed Locks
- Deadbolt Locks
- Keys Of All Kinds
- Combination Locks
- Safes Opened And Repaired
- New Or Replacement Keys
- High Security Keys (Ikeys)
- Proximity And Programming
- Remote/Keyless Entry And Programming
- Code Keys
- And More!
EXTRA: Consider Holder’s security tips for the vulnerable
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Photo of key courtesy Arek Socha at Pixabay