AL DAVENPORT CERTIFIED MASTER LOCKSMITH is a Godfrey, IL mobile locksmith who focuses exclusively on:
Safe work and
Call Al at 618-466-9347. (No texts, please.)
Al has been a locksmith for more than 38 years and is known as "one of the best." IL License #191000111. Find Al on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/aldavenportcml.
At AL DAVENPORT CERTIFIED MASTER LOCKSMITH, we come to you when:
You're locked out of your car or truck
You've lost your car keys, even if they're transponder or "chip" keys (many makes and models)
You need an extra key made and programmed for your car or truck
You can't get your safe opened
You're locked out of your home
To learn more or set up an appointment, CALL us today at 618-466-9347. "When you call Al Davenport, you get Al Davenport." (No texts - our hands are too busy with lock work or driving between jobs to respond to texts!)
We're based in Godfrey, IL, but you don't come to us. We come to you!
Our service area includes Alton, IL; Godfrey, IL; the Riverbend area; northern Madison County, Jersey County, Calhoun County, and parts of Macoupin and Greene Counties, all in Illinois. (We don't cross the river into Missouri.)
Call 618-466-9347 to set up an appointment. (No texts, please.)
[Visit the "2020 Articles by Al" page for Al's most recent articles. #122 was posted on 1-15-20. Below are some "classic" articles from the archives.]
#4 - THE SAFE - WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Just what is a safe? If you take the dictionary definition in its simplest form, it is a box with a lock on it. Its purpose is to limit access to whatever is stored inside to those who have the means to open the lock. A book could be (and may have been) written about the types and brands of safes and the various locks that keep the wrong people out. But to keep it simple, we will limit the scope of this article to the most common safes in use today.
Residential Fire Safes Offer Little Beyond Fire Resistance.
Most of the low-end, Big Box store type safes are designed to be fire resistant. The protection offered by safes such as Brinks, Sentry, and a plethora of Korean made safes with various names is adequate fire protection. But fire protection (or resistance) is all you can expect from the low-end safes. Most do not take any imagination to force open the door, no matter what kind of lock they have. It should be a crime to advertise low-end fire safes as a means of protecting cash and valuables.
Gun Safes Offer A Little More Security.
Gun safes are generally a small step up in security from residential fire safes. The better gun safes, such as those made by AMSEC and other long established companies, offer good storage protection for weapons. The better safes also offer some fire resistance, but not a lot. Most gun safes still do not provide adequate protection for storing high value items and large amounts of cash.
Money Safes Provide Both Fire and Burglar Resistance.
Money safes or money chests come in many shapes and sizes, but there is a standard rating system (Baby Bear, Mama Bear, Papa Bear) that will guide you to the type of burglar protection you need. Typically they are designed not just to resist against standard burglar attacks, but also against a knowledgeable person with access to professional tools. Many have composite barrier materials that allow for fire protection as well as burglary protection. Expect to pay in the thousands for this kind of security.
Older Safes May Not Be as Protective as You Think.
Older safes (pre-WWII) that were used for fire protection did not contain modern-type fire protection materials – often just concrete and possibly asbestos. Over time, older safes turn from fire protectors to “kilns” that have a tendency to cook the contents, rather than protect them. So, older safes should be avoided unless you can fit a modern fire resistant box inside them to combine both fire and burglar resistance.
You Get What You Pay For.
In summary, you get the protection you pay for in buying safes. Residential fire safes are good for fire protection, but if you want to store cash, gold, silver, or other valuables, go with the big rating and the peace of mind that solid engineering brings to the table.
#3 - CAR LOCKOUTS
The Ultimate Buzz Killer: Locking Your Keys In Your Car!
Talk about a buzz killer! Nothing can wreck your day more than your keys being on the other side of a locked door. What a downer! If you are locked out of your house, at least you may have a hidden key or can find an unlocked window. The worst lockout for most people, though, is a car lockout. More often than not, it happens away from home, and a hopeless feeling can even turn to fear if you are in the wrong neighborhood or around the wrong people.
A “Slim Jim” Is Not a Good Solution.
Back in the 70s and 80s, it seemed that everybody and his brother had a popular car opening tool generally called a “slim jim.” For a few years, this tool would open quite a few cars with a minimum of knowledge and skill. Of course, some cars were easily damaged by disconnecting the lock from the latch by people who had more good intentions than knowledge and skill.
Almost all modern cars (since 1980 and up) have been engineered to deny entry by a "slim jim." If someone offers to open your car with one, the proper (and wise!) response would be to politely say, "No, thank you."
Calling the Police May Not Be Your Best Bet.
In some communities, the local police or sheriff’s department will come out and open your vehicle “for free.” If you decide to take this route, there are a few things you need to know:
1. Most departments offering this service do not have a training program to teach proper entry of a locked vehicle.
2. The tools used by most police are designed to force an opening between the door and frame, and considerable damage can result, which leads us to. . .
3. You will not be able to hold the police responsible for damages because you were probably required to sign a waiver.
4. And lastly, yes, you are paying for it, through taxes that pay for them to protect and serve.
We Offer A Damage-Free Solution Which May Be Paid by Insurance.
It’s your choice – but what I offer is a professional, damage-free opening, and since most car openings are covered under “road service” on car insurance policies, you won’t be paying out of pocket if you have this coverage.
Call Us At 618-466-9347 For Prompt Service.
There is nothing better than having something done right. We open almost all vehicles by opening (picking) the lock on the door, which does no damage because it duplicates the action of the key. Yes, we charge a professional fee, but your insurance will cover it in most cases. So give us a call at 618-466-9347 to retrieve your keys the proper (and damage-free) way.
#2 - CLICKER DISEASE
Remotes Are Great!
Unless you are possibly as old as I am, you may not remember a day when cars did not come with remotes. They (the remotes) were created to provide ultimate convenience—security without having to use keys to open a mechanical lock. Just press a button and zap, your car door is unlocked. Wonderful indeed!
Always Using the Remote Can Cause Door Lock Problems
But what about the poor mechanical lock that isn’t used for weeks, months, or even years? Most certainly, things happen, and all are bad.
Most auto locks are assembled with a large amount of white lithium grease to lubricate and resist corrosion. That’s great as long as you use the lock, so the grease stays fluid and loose. But with continual non-use and no periodic lubrication, the grease that helps in the beginning eventually becomes very hard. After 2-3 years it can be hard enough to solidify around the tumblers and freeze them in place.
“Clicker Disease” Can Result.
Of course, there is no problem as long as remotes work, and the battery on the car never dies. But if the remote fails and the car owners even remember they have a mechanical lock, too many times the key does not operate the lock anymore. Even with a quick lube, many times the lock will not work because “Clicker Disease” has set in. “Clicker Disease” is my term for what happens when using the remote (or clicker) exclusively.
Prevent It by Lubing Your Locks and Using Your Key Occasionally.
The solution to avoid this calamity is obvious: lubricate your auto locks and use your key periodically in your vehicle’s door lock(s). An oil-based lubricant that contains silicone or Teflon works well for this purpose. The industry has come up with several good products in the last few years.
One product you should NOT use in modern wafer tumbler locks (such as in your car) is graphite. Graphite is a modern lock killer. It can stop a lock from working completely. Just don’t use it on car locks. Period.
With just some minor attention and use of your key periodically, you can avoid standing outside a dead car with a good key and a bad lock. And yes, you can avoid that call to me to get you underway by stamping out Clicker Disease.
Call Us at 618-466-9347 if You Need Help.
But if you are in this situation, give us a call (618-466-9347). We can set things right again in most situations.
#1 - "CHIP" KEYS
Most Newer Car Keys
Have a Chip in Them.
Properly known as transponder keys, “chip” keys do indeed contain an electrical element known as a transponder or “chip.” It’s a small device that stores a numeric code or identity that is unique to that transponder.
Not all car keys have them yet, but the vast majority do. Some companies such as Hyundai and Kia have been slower at adding chip keys to their new car offerings. Rental cars, fleet cars, and police cruisers typically do not have chip keys to ease replacement of keys.
You Can't Necessarily Tell By Looking That It's a Chip Key.
.Just because you can’t see a chip in your key doesn’t mean there isn’t one. A chip scanner/reader is needed to tell, much like a vet would need a chip reader to determine if an animal has been chipped.
Chip Keys Cost a Lot More Than Non-Chip Keys.
Chances are, however, that you do have a chip in your car, truck or SUV key. If you need an extra key – or worse, have lost all your keys – it’s going to cost a good deal more than what you may be used to. In fact, many of my customers have to be treated for “sticker shock,” even though I’m one of the more inexpensive locksmiths in our area.
Chip Keys May Cost 20-$200 & Up, Not Counting Programming Costs.
Expect a chip key to cost somewhere around $20 to 50 for a key without a remote on the head of the key or $50 to as much as $200 or more with a remote head on it. The key must be cut and then programmed to your car. Costs vary widely, with laser or side-milled keys costing much more to cut because special equipment is needed. The programming costs are also dependent on the car, and some cars such as BMW, Mercedes, and Volvo are just short of impossible to program with after-market equipment.
Expect to pay $70 to $120 or more for an extra key if your vehicle has a chip key and you still have a key. If you have lost ALL the keys, my price typically starts at $135 total (including service call, cutting the key, and programming it) and goes up from there.
We Keep Costs Low.
As a mobile locksmith, I come to you and can keep the costs on the lower side. Most times this will be much cheaper and quicker for you than having your car towed to a dealer for the work to be done there.
For Your Personalized Quote.
If you need an extra key for your vehicle or have lost all your keys to it, give us a call (618-466-9347). Once you give us the year, make and model of your car/truck/SUV and the town where it’s located, we can give you an estimate right over the phone. No one likes surprises, and we try to make a difficult time a little easier.
Copyright 2019 AL DAVENPORT CERTIFIED MASTER LOCKSMITH