Most of us drivers have been in a roadside emergency which is an incredibly stressful and frustrating situation. Some are locked out of your vehicle, have lost their keys or have a dead battery. My mother experienced being stranded with a broken down car at midnight and she said it was the worst. Thankfully, she listened to me when I advised her to get an emergency roadside service a few months before the incident happened.
You might wonder, is an auto locksmith necessary for everyone? What can you expect when you request emergency locksmith roadside help? I will walk you through the typical locksmith emergency service process so you know what to anticipate.
Services Provided by Auto Locksmiths During Roadside Emergencies
Experienced mobile locksmiths have the skills and equipment to quickly resolve many types of auto issues at your vehicle’s location. Their roadside service includes:
Emergency Lockout Service
- Unlocking car doors without damage through lock picking or override techniques
- Making replacement keys or fobs on-site to restore access
- Extracting broken key pieces jammed in locks
- Assessing and repairing faulty electronic locking systems
Ignition and Lock Repairs
- Repairing or replacing worn or damaged ignition cylinders
- Fixing malfunctioning ignition switches and lock mechanisms
- Replacing locks damaged in a break-in attempt
- Rekeying ignition and doors following a lost or stolen key event
Power System Services
- Jump starting dead batteries
- Charging drained batteries using a mobile charger
- Testing and replacing failing batteries
- Checking and resetting tripped electrical systems
Fuel and Mechanical Assistance
- Emergency fuel delivery to empty gas tanks
- Flat tire changes using the locksmith’s equipment
- Mechanical troubleshooting of common breakdown issues
Key Replacement and Reprogramming
- Creating duplicate car keys and fobs
- Programming electronic chips, transponders, and fobs
- Erasing keys lost or stolen keys from the vehicle computer
- Ensuring replacement keys start the vehicle properly
Expected Arrival Time Frame for Emergency Dispatches
One good benefit of using an auto locksmith over traditional roadside assistance programs is their rapid response time, especially for emergency situations just like what happened to my mom. Most reputable locksmith services aim to have a technician on site within 30-60 minutes after your call, if in a metropolitan area.
However, your actual wait time can vary based on factors like:
- How far away from the locksmith your breakdown location is
- Current traffic patterns slowing travel
- Severe weather conditions
- Volume of emergency calls the provider is responding to
If possible, calling ahead even before an emergency strikes can expedite arrival. Established locksmiths may prioritize your call and have someone begin the drive toward your reported location. Still, responsible companies will work diligently to get to you as fast as safely possible for any roadside crisis.
Verifying Your Identity and Vehicle Ownership
Upon arriving on the scene, a professional auto locksmith will take reasonable steps to verify you are the owner of the vehicle requiring service. It’s a protocol for protecting their customers’ security.
Common verification methods include:
- Requesting your driver’s license to match the name and address
- Checking your vehicle registration matches the car make/model
- Confirming you can unlock the vehicle with existing keys in your possession
- Using an available on-board diagnostic port for verification on newer vehicles
Reputable locksmiths only proceed with providing entry or replacement keys once your identity and ownership are confirmed.
Range of Services Offered During a Roadside Call
Once the necessary verifications are complete, your locksmith will get to work assisting with whatever issue has you stranded. As highlighted earlier, some of the most common services provided during roadside calls include:
- Gaining entry into your locked vehicle without having to damage the car – this is done through various safe unlocking techniques
- Making replacement keys on site if your existing keys are lost, damaged, or broken. This includes cutting/programming new keys and fobs.
- Fixing broken or jammed locks that are preventing doors or the trunk from opening properly.
- Repairing ignition cylinder issues that stop you from turning on the vehicle.
- Providing battery jumps when you have a dead battery and can’t start your car.
- Delivery of emergency fuel if you’ve run out of gas in an inconvenient locale.
- Coordinating tow trucks or other roadside help as-needed.
Qualified locksmiths have the well-rounded expertise, right tools, and special equipment like key code machines to provide complete roadside solutions.
What You Can Expect to Pay for Emergency Services
The cost of emergency locksmith roadside assistance can vary based on a few factors. But averages around $100-$200 in most cases. This covers the call-out fee plus labor during standard business hours. Added fees may apply for the:
- Service needed outside of normal operational hours, on weekends/holidays
- Greater travel distance if the breakdown location is remote
- Extra time or complexity involved in resolving your issue
Many established locksmiths have standard pricing menus. They are clearly listed on their websites for reference. Visit them to give you a better picture of what to expect of the cost. Be wary of any astronomically high quotes over the phone.
When the work is complete, you can pay via:
- Cash or standard credit/debit cards
- Digital Wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay
- Payment over the phone is often available as well
Ensuring You Get Quality Service
It’s best to do some background research when dealing with any service professional coming to your home or work on your car. Make sure they meet these key competency and ethical standards to provide you peace of mind.
- Proper business licensing for your state and locality
- Insurance coverage to protect you the customer if any damage occurs
- Experience assisting with your particular vehicle make and model
- Positive reviews demonstrating professionalism and satisfied customers
- Service guarantees to stand behind their work if any issues arise later on
- Upfront pricing without bait-and-switch tactics when on site
Additional Support Your Locksmith Can Provide
Beyond the key mechanical services, a great locksmith will gladly aid with other aspects of your roadside emergency as well. This includes:
- Using their networks to call for a tow truck to haul your vehicle if needed.
- Providing referrals to reputable local mechanics if further repairs are required.
- Supplying directions to auto parts stores for you to purchase a replacement battery or other components.
- Making recommendations for trustworthy dealerships or shops depending on your vehicle type.
Their familiarity with automotive services in the area can further simplify the headaches of being stranded away from resources.
Conclusion – Locksmiths Can Get You Out of a Roadside Bind
When you request emergency locksmith roadside service you can expect timely arrival, identity verification, access to a range of services like the key replacement and lock repairs, reasonable costs, and additional assistance coordinating follow-up support if needed.
Knowing what to anticipate from a locksmith roadside call allows you to proactively make the best choice for your situation. Don’t wait until you’re already stranded – research and find an established provider in your area before problems occur. With their expertise literally at your fingertips, getting into car trouble doesn’t need to ruin your entire day.
Frequently Asked Questions About Locksmith Roadside Assistance
How quickly can a locksmith get to my location in an emergency?
A reputable locksmith will strive to reach you within 30-60 minutes in most cases if you are in an urban area. Response times may be longer in remote locales or bad weather conditions. Calling ahead when possible can help reduce wait times.
What credentials should a legitimate locksmith have?
Look for proper business licensing, liability insurance coverage, automotive service training, and other professional certifications. Avoid any locksmith unable to provide credentials.
What vehicles can a locksmith service?
Professional auto locksmiths have experience with makes and models across all years and types – from old classics to new luxury vehicles. They are equipped for foreign and domestic cars.
Can a locksmith make a key if I don’t have a spare?
Yes – through referencing your VIN number and utilizing key code databases, a new compatible key can be cut even without an existing copy.
How much does emergency roadside service cost?
Pricing varies, but expect an average of around $100-$200 for standard emergency calls during business hours. Added fees may apply for mileage, after-hours, complexity, etc.
What forms of payment do locksmiths accept?
Most accept major credit cards, debit cards, cash, and some even allow digital wallet or phone payment. Ask about payment options when scheduling service.
Should I call a locksmith or tow truck first?
If locked out or needing other locksmith services, call them first – a tow may not be necessary if the locksmith can resolve the problem on site. They can summon a tow if needed.
Do locksmiths offer guarantees for their work?
Reputable locksmiths stand behind their service with warranties, guarantees, and re-service policies. Be wary of any provider unwilling to guarantee customer satisfaction.