Finding yourself locked out of your car or dealing with a broken key can ruin your day and leave you stranded. I’ve been there so I know! When this happens, you essentially have two options: attempting do-it-yourself (DIY) key replacement techniques or calling a professional auto locksmith. How do you decide what to choose?
I made this comprehensive guide based on my experience examining the pros, cons, costs, and other important factors to consider when weighing DIY car key service versus hiring a professional locksmith. Read on and decide for yourself which between the two approaches will suit you so you can make an informed decision.
Evaluating DIY Car Key Replacement Options
If you have some mechanical skill and confidence, DIY car key replacement might be fine. You can try to use these techniques at home include:
- Using a wire hanger or shoelace to jimmy the lock and open it
- Using wedge air pressure tools inserted into the door jamb to manually pop the lock
- Applying lubricants like WD-40 into the keyhole to help turn the lock
- Finding YouTube tutorials for your specific car make and model
Here are the main advantages of DIY key repair which to a lot of people may be attractive:
- Cost savings – DIY is usually cheaper than paying for professional service, especially if you already have the tools.
- Convenience – If you have the supplies on hand already, you can get started right away.
- Sense of satisfaction – Some people enjoy the challenge and reward of doing it themselves.
However, you need to know these downside too:
- Lower success rate – Without proper training and experience, you may struggle to replace keys or unlock modern car systems
- Potential damage – Making mistakes can further damage the car and end up costing more in repairs
- Not ideal for newer cars – Complex key fobs and anti-theft systems make DIY very difficult for modern vehicles
- Getting stranded – If you can’t get in, you’re stuck finding a ride or tow truck after failed DIY attempts
Key Factors to Consider for DIY Car Key Replacement
If you are deciding whether DIY replacement is right for you, there are a few important factors for you to take into account:
- Your skill level and confidence – You need to be comfortable with car repair and some mechanical aptitude. If you’ve never touched car locks before, it’s risky.
- Type of vehicle – Older cars with basic keyed locks are much simpler for DIY than newer cars with advanced wireless key fobs, transponders and anti-theft systems.
- Type of key issue – A basic lockout may be within reach for DIY, but a broken key stuck in the ignition presents more risk of damage.
Doing your research to see if your specific make/model is DIY-friendly for the particular key issue can help avoid problems down the road.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional Auto Locksmith
Rather than taking a DIY trial-and-error approach, many people prefer to hire a professional locksmith to replace car keys or solve lock issues because they want:
- A higher success rate in fixing their – You can rely on a professional locksmith as they are experienced and well trained. Plus, they have specialized tools for your problem.
- No risk of further damage – A pro won’t force anything that may cause costly additional repairs. They know what they are doing.
- Fast arrival – There are locksmiths who offer 24/7 emergency service and can get to you quickly.
- Warranties/guarantees – Reputable companies give warranty for their parts and labor so you’re covered if anything goes wrong. Pretty secured, right?
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Between DIY and a Professional
When deciding whether DIY or a pro locksmith is best for your situation, there are a few important factors to keep in mind:
- Vehicle age & type – Modern luxury cars with advanced anti-theft systems often require a pro. Older basic keyed vehicles may be DIY-friendly.
- Type of key issue – Lockouts are simpler than fixing broken keys or lost keys.
- Urgency – If you’re stuck somewhere and need immediate help, a pro can arrive quickly for emergencies.
- Your DIY skill level – Be realistic about your mechanical skills and confidence tackling car locks.
- Budget – Weigh cost savings vs. quality – cheaper DIY could lead to costly repairs if something goes wrong.
- Convenience – Hiring a pro saves you time and hassle trying to problem solve on your own.
Key Questions to Ask Yourself
Before attempting DIY key replacement for you vehicle, carefully ask these questions first:
- Do I have the necessary skills, tools and knowledge to successfully replace the key on my specific car make and model?
- Is this a time-sensitive emergency where I’ll need a pro to arrive promptly?
- Is the potential hassle and risk of DIY worth the cost savings over professional service?
- Would I value the convenience, speed and assurance that comes with hiring a pro?
If you can’t confidently answer “yes“, it may be best to call for professional assistance.
Also Read – Car Security Tips to Prevent Theft in Ireland
Conclusion – Carefully Evaluating the DIY vs Professional Locksmith Decision
As outlined above, there are pros and cons to both DIY car key replacement and hiring a professional locksmith. Important factors like the age of your vehicle, the urgency of the situation, your skill level, and budget can all help determine the best solution. Carefully weigh the cost, quality, convenience and risk to make an informed choice.
This will ensure you get reliable key replacement or lock repair with minimal downtime or unnecessary expense. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a knowledgeable locksmith service to discuss your particular needs. With the right information, you can make the best decision to get you back on the road quickly.