24 Hour Locksmith Service in the Bay Area — San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties

Your Local 24 Hour Locksmith in the Bay Area

Pop-A-Lock
San Francisco

Call: 415-668-5625
Pop-A-Lock
San Mateo County

Call: 650-878-5625
Pop-A-Lock
Oakland

Call: 510-666-6680

FAQ

I’ve heard that locksmiths cannot be trusted. Is that true?
It is not true. Unfortunately, the locksmith industry has been plagued by people pretending to be locksmiths who engage in dangerous behavior. Also, some locksmiths over-charge customers to try to make more money per job. To help make sure you hire a safe and trusted locksmith, you should consider the following:

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What are some of the tricks phony locksmiths use?
Phony locksmiths will use some of the following tactics:

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Will you damage my car when you unlock it since you’re opening it without a key?
No, the tools we use are designed specifically for your vehicle. This does not mean that damage cannot be done with the tool. As long as the person using the tool has been properly trained this shouldn’t be an issue.

However, certain vehicles that require the use of an “under the window or swan tool” can possibly cause damage to after-market tint. In these instances we suggest inquiring about getting a key made to open. While it may cost a little more it is guaranteed NOT to scratch after-market tint.

Also, be careful of the company you use to open your car. Pop-A-Lock designed special tools to be able to open vehicles without damaging them. These are proprietary tools, so other companies cannot as easily prevent damage when they open the door.

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If I have you pick the lock to my house, will it damage the lock? Why not?
Picking the lock to your home or business will not damage the lock. By picking the lock you are simply “decoding” the pattern of your current key and smoothly opening the lock. It is not an easy task and should only be performed by an experienced locksmith who is using the right tools. A good locksmith should also be able to open most padlocks, cabinet locks, trunk locks, fingerprint locks, deadbolts, and any other locking mechanism. Sometimes the lock is damaged or has been tampered with so as to make it impossible to pick. In these instances, the lock will have to be drilled out and a new lock will have to be installed.

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What does it mean to re-key my house or business?
Re-keying is the process of changing the key configuration of a lock so all existing and/or old keys will no longer work in the lock. People generally have a rekey done if they have lost their keys, want to make sure no old or existing keys will work in the lock, or they want to make sure all the locks in their location use the same key. Rekeying is the cheaper alternative to replacing all of your hardware. To perform the work, all the pins in the lock are changed to fit a new key that we issue to you. Once this process has been done, only the key issued to you will work in the lock.

Note that we can make as many new keys as customers need. We can also change as many locks as requested to use the same key.

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What are situations when I would want to re-key my home or business?
You will want to rekey your home or business under the following circumstances:

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What is a bump-proof lock?
A bump proof lock is a type of high security lock for your home or business that cannot be opened with conventional lock bypass tools. These locks were created because criminals and other illicit individuals were buying bump-keys on the internet and gaining access very easily to most locks. Bump keys will not work on a bump proof lock.

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What is the most secure lock for my home?
The most secure lock for your home should be discussed with your local trusted locksmith. It will vary upon need and budget. There are lots of things that are not extremely costly that can help you better secure your home or business. Pop-A-Lock has offerings that should meet the spectrum of your needs from most cost-effective to highest performance, most-secure lock.
It is also important to know that securing a home involves more than just installing high-quality locks. Your locksmith will be able to advise you best on these other needs.

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What are some tips you can give for making my home more secure?
First contact a local trusted locksmith to discuss your personal concerns and needs. An easy evaluation of your home and entry points will be needed to assess the level of security you need.

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Why is it that often locksmiths are known for charging a lot more to open my locks than they quoted?
Well there are 2 reasons why this happens. First is scammers. They are unlicensed; self proclaimed locksmiths that prey on innocent people in desperate need. And then there is the problem of not being always able to exactly diagnose your specific problem over the phone. I believe a reputable company will quote their service fee and a most likely price for repair due to their personal experiences but can only accurately give price after seeing your exact problem first hand. They should be able to offer a price range with worse case scenario. Scammers say 1 low price so they can use intimidation factor once they are at your home or vehicle.

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Do children and other people really get locked in cars? How does that happen? Are they negligent people?
Believe it or not, this situation happens more often than you might expect. It’s not uncommon for us to see 10 or more of these calls on any given day, and though we have responded to a few child neglect cases for the most part the situations we come across could happen to anyone.

Many vehicles today are self-locking. Situations we have seen that cause a child, senior, or other person to be locked inside a vehicle would be:

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What action do I take if I accidentally locked my child in the car?
You should call 911 immediately. They will forward you to the fire department who will dispatch Pop-A-Lock anywhere in the Bay Area.
Through our Emergency Door Unlock program we will unlock a car or home if a child, senior, or any person’s life is in danger for free.

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What can I do if my key is stuck in the ignition and will not turn?
The safest thing is to call your local locksmith company for a free estimate on repairing or replacing the ignition cylinder. DO NOT attempt to force ignition over as you may break the key off costing you more money. We at Pop-A-Lock can repair / replace most ignition cylinders and keep these cylinders in stock on the most problematic vehicles.

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How much does it cost to get a key made for my car if I lost the car keys?
The price will vary depending on year, make, and model. If the car locks have been changed or re-keyed this will also affect the price. Most single key system vehicles in original factory condition cost about $125 to generate a key. Most two key system vehicles in original factory condition cost about $175 to generate a door and ignition key. If the vehicle is transponder equipped the price can range from $165-$225 on up.

We can also cut and program remote key / key combos as well as Inteli-key (push button start) equipped vehicles, but please contact us for an exact price on those vehicles. If your vehicle takes a high security key as do a Lexus or Volkswagen these keys can range from $175 – $265 depending on year, make and model.

Prices change and all vehicles are different, so you should always feel free to contact us anytime for an exact estimate for your vehicle.

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What makes some car keys so expensive to make?
Vehicle security like everything else is constantly evolving. Most late model vehicles are now equipped with a type of anti-theft system called transponders. Some vehicles don’t even use a conventional key and lock system, but instead use an electronic key fob. In order to program these types of keys / fobs we as locksmiths have to invest in the equipment and training to generate working keys / fobs for these vehicles. Also, the key blanks and fobs themselves are a lot more expensive than your standard metal key blank.

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Please explain what a transponder key does.
A transponder key is a type of anti-theft device for your vehicle. Basically it is a chip that is embedded in the head of your key (which is not visible) that receives a signal from your vehicles computer upon starting your car. If the digital signature from the computer & key match your vehicle will start. There are several ways manufacturers disable vehicles that are transponder equipped including disabling starter circuit & fuel pump just to name a few. We are your one stop shop for transponder keys as this is our specialty. You may also want to check with your insurance company as some give rate deductions for transponder equipped vehicles.

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Is it really true that I have to go to the dealer to get the keys to my car made?
This is 100% incorrect. The fact is that most experienced locksmiths should be able to generate a key for almost any car as long as they have the proper equipment, machines, and training. Dealerships will tell their customers this because they want you to go through them. Also, if your vehicle happens to be transponder-equipped you must tow your vehicle to the dealer to get the key made wasting time and money. By calling a licensed locksmith, you can have someone come directly to your location.

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