What Is a Car Locksmith and What Are the Typical Costs of Hiring One?

When you think of security, you think of general locksmiths. You might think that their skills are transferable to car locks as well. You are wrong and here’s all you need to know about that.

What Does an Auto Locksmith Do?

When you think of this question, in all likelihood, you are comparing a car locksmith to a general locksmith who takes care of your home security system. For one, most residential locksmiths can take care of car security as well. But the big difference is that auto locksmiths are specifically trained to deal with car locks.

The mechanism of locking and unlocking cars has changed quite a bit in the past decade and an auto locksmith is better equipped to deal with the electronic mechanisms that car manufacturers have put in place. These experts know how to program and reprogram the chips specific to your car security systems.

As a matter of fact, key fobs came into existence in the early 1990s and ever since, the mechanics of locking and unlocking has changed a lot. You only see the two buttons but how they work is a bit more complicated than what you use for your home security systems under the solar heaters for the shed, sophisticated as they may be.

Of course, you can always use the key to unlock a vehicle, but typically, car owners and/or drivers really only do that when their key fob is not working well or at all. Car keys also come with transponders these days, which means they have little radio circuits that power the car’s engine control unit or ECU.

It has a code that needs to match the key. When that doesn’t happen, your car won’t start and might even trigger the immobilizer. You absolutely don’t want that because it’s your car’s anti-theft system, and it’s usually highly efficient. If you mess around with it, it can lead to many more minor but frustrating problems.

With keyless mechanisms becoming more common, tackling a problem with car security has become something that should be left to experts. And that’s what auto locksmiths do very well.

That’s because systems like transponder keys require a specific understanding if a problem is to be identified and solved without causing more trouble.

What Does It Cost to Hire an Auto Locksmith?

Typically, hiring a locksmith for a car is likely to cost you anywhere from $75-250. The window is so wide because the specifics of your situation and the security system will determine the exact costs.

For instance, if you got locked out of your car, it will probably cost you about $80-100. But if you need to change the lock or rekey it, you will have to pay $100-200.

Now, it is important to note that regardless of the problem, if you call a car locksmith, you will have to pay them $75. And that’s only for the first hour of their service. Most problems are solved in 25-30 minutes. That too if it is office hours. If you call an auto locksmith after hours or on an emergency basis, you might have to pay them about $95.

If you have a luxury car, the locksmith will need an upgraded set of tools to unlock it. That’s also because high-end models come with advanced systems which increase the charges.

Unlocking a Car

So, if you are looking for a locksmith who can unlock your car, you will have to pay them $60-85. If you want them to open the trunk, it will be about $85 and if you want a new key, it will be anywhere from $65-145.

Now, if you want the ignition of the car to be fixed, that’s going to be anywhere from $120-250. Sometimes, the key could break for whatever reason. In those cases, you will need a specialist, and here’s what that looks like.

Broken Car Key

This doesn’t happen very often, but it’s definitely possible. It’s kind of a big problem and one that you should not try to solve yourself because you’re likely to cause more damage in the process. So, you will need to call a car locksmith and in those cases, you need them to get the key out.

That’s going to cost you anywhere from $80-140. But you might also need a new key which will cost you $90-145. But it could cost you more than that. Make sure you check with your dealership to know who’s giving you a cheaper deal. The prices depend on the type of key.

Broken Transponder Key

If you’re dealing with a broken transponder, you will need a new key that also needs to be programmed by a car locksmith. They usually charge about $145 for that.

In Conclusion

Car locking systems have come a long way from basic lock and key. So, this definitely isn’t something you should try to do on your own because it’s not like buying rare flowers. As mentioned in the piece, a lot of systems have been put in place to prevent theft. So, you want an experienced professional to handle it gently and well. And now you know what it’ll cost as well.

Amelia Rivera

Amelia Rivera is a graduate of Harvard Business School who has spent over 16 years in the service industry, focusing on customer experience and service innovation. She provides insights into service management and customer satisfaction strategies. Her background includes management roles in hospitality and consulting. Previously, she worked with several multinational corporations, developing their customer service protocols. She enjoys yoga and is passionate about animal rescue and welfare. She is a great traveler and a gourmet food blogger in her spare time.

Leave a Comment