FAQ

Home » FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: Americas Lock and Key

What services do ‘Americas Lock and Key’ Provide?
Americas Lock and Key in Tampa, FL is a full service locksmith company. If you need locks repaired or replaced; need it to lock or need it unlocked; or if you need it set to fit a different key, then Americas Lock and Key is here to help you. We handle all commercial, automotive, and home situations. You can reach us at any time on (813) 774-3665.

How much does a Tampa locksmith cost?
Generally the cost will be determined by the scope and type of job. In addition, services delivered after hours will often cost a little more. The easiest way is to give us a call on (813) 774-3665 and we’re happy to provide an obligation-free quotation over the phone. If your call refers to servicing a vehicle, you should have the Year, Make and Model information available to enable us to provide an accurate quote.

Is Tampa locksmith a discount locksmith?
We will always endeavour to work with our valued customers: we offer Military, Senior and Student discounts and we offer an instant $5 discount just by mentioning our website. Tell us what our competitor quoted and we’ll be more than happy to match it.

Are these familiar cries for help?
Locked out of house! Locked out of car! Locked out of safe? Locked out of truck? We can help with all of these frustrating problems. We can make keys for the lock; we can pick the lock, or we can use various lock bypass techniques to rescue your keys. Americas Lock and Key is also an automotive locksmith and we can instantly make replacement car keys so you’re not inconvenienced for too long. Call us on (813) 774-3665 and we’ll be there!

Lost car keys: Can you make new keys?
Yes, we can. We’re happy to decode your locks and cut a new key to match, or alternatively re-key the lock to fit a new key. For automotive keys we can un-program your old keys (if required) and program new keys to your vehicle’s PCM/ECU/ECM security system.

I need to prevent my ex-employee or ex-tenant from using their key. Can you help?
Yes, we can help. We’ll come to your office, home or apartment complex, remove the locks, and then remove the pins that match the old key. We’ll then replace them with pins to match a new key. We’ll re-install the old locks and provide new keys to fit the old lock. This is more environmentally friendly and cost effective than replacing the whole lock. It means that the old keys won’t work anymore; your ex-employee or ex-tenant is effectively locked out, and it’s only taken a few minutes.

Can you cut an extra house/office key for me?
Yes, we can duplicate most keys, and this includes ‘Do Not Duplicate’ keys, as long as they’re not Government keys and provided you’re prepared to sign our waver which means you accept responsibility for having them copied. If you’re copying an uncommon key we’ll usually have it ready for you by the following business day.

Do you offer 24/7 locksmith services in Tampa, FL?
Yes, we’re a 24 hour locksmith with a very efficient After Hours service, so please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule an appointment. (813) 774-3665 is the number to call, any time, day or night. If you need ignition switch replacement, key fob replacement, car keys made, or any type of service requiring an automotive locksmith, then call Americas Lock and Key on (813) 774-3665

Is ‘Americas Lock and Key’ a licensed locksmith Tampa?
Yes, Americas Lock and Key are licensed. Our Business License No. is HCLOC14049
Give us a call at (813) 774-3665 and we’re local and happy to provide a free quotation or set up an appointment for a vehicle service over the phone. Please note that our normal service hours are 9am – 5pm Monday through to Friday, and we’re happy to make weekend or after-hours appointments for a small additional charge.

What types of locksmith work do you cover?
Americas Lock and Key cover all types of locks installation, service, and lock repair, from commercial, institutional and residential to automotive. If you require a key, or a lock installed, replaced, or repaired, or car key replacement, we have all the knowledge and up-to-date tools to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Do you need keys changed so that they no longer work? We can do that for you too, and you’ll be issued with a new key for your existing lock hardware. Lost a key? We’ll cut a new one to fit your existing locks, plus we can program car remotes and keys as well.

I’m locked out! I need an emergency locksmith!
First things first: do you feel unsafe? If so, go to a safe and well-lit area and then get in contact with Americas Lock and Key on (813) 774-3665. We’ll come to you straight away and unlock your house, car, room, business, or whatever you’re locked out of. It will be a quick process and the locks usually remain unharmed.

I can’t find my keys! What should I do?
It’s very simple: you call us! We’ll respond immediately and come to your car (or house), decode your lock and have new car keys made to fit the lock. Prices for automotive work depend on the year, make and model of the vehicle because some keys are more difficult to make than others; some vehicles have high security keys and others have transponder key systems. Whatever your vehicle, we’re happy to provide an obligation free quotation over the phone.

I don’t understand what happened! My car keys stopped working in the ignition.
This could occur for a few reasons, such as steering wheel lock jamming the key cylinder, a worn out key, or even a failed ignition. We’re experienced at resolving these issues and many times can diagnose the problem over the phone.

How do I know if my truck or car has a chip in the key?
If your key doesn’t have a plastic head, then it’s unlikely to have a chip. However, this is not a definitive answer, and the only real way to tell is to take your key to a locksmith and have it tested for a transponder signal. Alternatively, give us a call and we may be able to advise you over the phone.
Every car manufacturer selling vehicles and some motorcycles in the United States has at least one model equipped with a transponder security system. In some models they were standard equipment, others were optional, and still others didn’t use them at all.

Please explain what a transponder chip is?
Very basically, a transponder chip is a micro-transponder chip which has been embedded in the plastic head of your ignition key. It’s designed to assist in the prevention of theft of the vehicle.

Why would my vehicle’s key contain a transponder?
Many years ago insurance companies advised the automotive industry that they wanted something done about vehicle theft, threatening that they could no longer afford to insure vehicles at reasonable rates. The Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS) was one of the original types of high security keys, and of course today they’ve become very common.

How Does a Transponder Chip Work?
Most transponder chips operate as a ‘challenge and password’ system. A numeric number is sent from the car through an electronic frequency to the transponder within the key. In turn, the transponder chip crunches the numbers via a mathematical algorithm and this value is returned to the car. With the correct answer the car can be started. If incorrect, the car may crank and not start, start then immediately cut off, or not even crank at all, depending on the vehicle model and the transponder system it’s equipped with.

Is it difficult to get a duplicate of my transponder key?
No, it’s not difficult. Generally, it’s very easy to clone a transponder key, but they do cost more than a standard key. This is a great security system designed to protect your vehicle from theft.

Can I re-key locks locks on my home?
This is a very common question. People want to know if they must buy new locks, or are we able to change their existing locks to operate with a new key. The answer is that it’s much more environmentally friendly and cost-effective to modify the existing locks to fit a new key. We do this by removing the locks; taking out the existing pins that match your current key; the pins are changed to match in with the new key, and the locks are reassembled and reinstalled on the door.

What exactly does a locksmith do?
In the past, a locksmith was the person who installed locks on your doors, and that was just about all. Today, the industry is entirely different and will continue changing with new technologies to redefine the trade. Locksmiths today deal in all types of security, including doors, gates, closed-caption television (CCTV), pool gates, alarm systems, access control, and so on. Re-Keying and Lock-outs are very much a major source of revenue for most locksmiths. Besides lock replacement and repair, locksmiths are also trained on ADA requirements, fire codes, and loss prevention.

What can I do if I’ve forgotten the combination to my safe?
A lot of safes can be successfully opened by safe technicians and professional locksmiths, without drilling. Methods will vary between different safe types. We can open most vaults, safes, and other security containers, so if you lose or forget your safe combination simply call Americas Lock and Key on (813) 774-3665 in Tampa, FL. We’ll come to you immediately, provide you with a free quote, and within a short period of time your safe will be opened, serviced, and ready to use again.

Is there asbestos in my safe?
It may be possible for your safe to contain asbestos as a form of fire retardant. Generally, if you notice white powder in, or coming from, your safe it’s wisest to contact a professional to come and assess the situation. If your safe was purchased in the United States during the last twenty years it most likely does not contain asbestos; however, don’t take any chances if you have your suspicions. Get it checked out by calling (813) 774-3665.

How do safe locks work?
Most safe locks work the same way: there will be 3 or 4 turning wheels with each wheel having a gap missing (known as a gate) and a lever (known as the fence). When the right combination is entered, the gates line up under the fence, so the fence can drop into the gates – allowing the lock to open. We can help you with all your safe issues.

Can you explain what a Master System is?
A Master System refers to the ways some locks are keyed/pinned. Special master pins are inserted into a lock so that the lock can be operated by more than one key. Some of the variations to the Master System include having more than one apartment building keyed differently, however having only one master key to open every lock; or, creating a laundry room door in an apartment complex so that each tenant has an unique key to unlock the laundry room and other areas common to the complex. We can help with all these requirements – just give Americas Lock and Key a call on (813) 774-3665

How do I know if my locks are up to Fire Code?
The best way to answer this question is to contact the ‘Authority Having Jurisdiction’ in your own area: perhaps the Fire Marshall for your town. Another way is to ask yourself if your locks are ‘one step egress’. In layman’s terms this means that it takes only one action to unlock and open a door. In addition, the locks should be simple and straight-forward to operate.

How Do I know if my locks are compliant with the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’?
The only way to protect yourself from a fine or even a lawsuit is to ask a professional to check your locks. There are many rules and regulations for ADA so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Ask your licensed professional to provide you with a security evaluation and a free quotation for any required alterations.

How can a locksmith make a new key when there are no keys to copy?
Generally, it’s much more cost-effective to call a locksmith instead of going to a dealership if you require a new key generated for a car or truck. There are a few techniques used, including impressioning a key, dismantling and decoding the lock, and looking for codes that could be stamped on the back or face of the lock. Locksmith’s also have tools to allow them to decode locks without even taking the lock apart. All situations are different, but ultimately your locksmith will have the new key, made to factory specifications, to perfectly match your existing lock. Call Americas Lock and Key on (813) 774-3665 and let’s discuss your requirements.

I’m locked out of my truck (or car): How can you help me?
The particular tools chosen to unlock a vehicle will be dictated by the year, make and model of the car or truck being unlocked. Many people are aware of our long-reach tools and the classic Slim Jim tool. We have other tools that pop under and around the windshield so we can unlock on the inside, and at other times we actually pick the lock, decode the lock, or simply cut a new key to unlock and subsequently open the door. Today some of these invasive tools, like the Slim Jim, are not so popular with locksmiths because more vehicles are equipped with driver side and passenger airbags. Accidents have eventuated because of airbags being accidentally set off using tools to enter the door panel, so some technicians are avoiding these types of tools. Whatever your problem, Americas Lock and Key is here to help you – just give us a call on (813) 774-3665 and we can discuss it over the phone, or we’ll come to see you.

What are the different ways to open a lock?
Basically there are three ways to open (defeat) a lock. ‘Controlled Entry’ is achieved with a key, picking a lock, or any method that opens the lock the same way a key would. ‘Forced Entry’ is the destructive way of entry, like using a crowbar or drilling a lock. Obviously this method is not recommended because the lock and other hardware could be damaged, and someone could get hurt. ‘Lock Bypass’ is where the door is opened by bypassing the lock itself, such as using a Slim Jim to open a car from within the door panel instead of using the lock cylinder.