Monday, May 30, 2016

Too Many Keys

Originally published July 19th, 2009.

Too many keys? Ya, too many keys….hanging out of your cars ignition.

We’ve touched on reasons for auto ignition failures before and heres another bit of information to make your car that much more worry free.

Heavy or or overstuffed key rings are probably the largest contributor to auto ignition failure. Imagine if you would taking 2 pieces of metal and rubbing them together for a couple of minutes. OK not much happens here. Now take those same pieces of metal and rub them together a couple of hours a day and do that every day for a couple of months. Notice anything now. Not that you are really going to do this, but imagine what would happen to them if you did. You would most likely see substantial wear on them. Much the same thing happens in your car’s ignition and key when you have a heavy key ring. Fixing the key isn’t too bad. Most locksmiths can cut you a key back to factory specifications and have you on your way in a reasonably short amount of time and at not too much expense.  If you  have a “chip” key the cost can go up substantially. However, when an ignition fails it can be a whole new ball game. Ignitions, even ones that don’t use chip keys can be quite expensive. Most brands of autos use the same ignition for cars with and without chip keys. The difference is the antenna near the ignition that picks up the signal from the key.

Locksmiths are not the only ones who fix ignitions. Some mechanics do as well. The difference is most mechanics will put in a randomly keyed ignition and you end up with 2 keys to what should be a one key car. A locksmith, well I can’t say all, but most will key the new ignition back to the original key so you still have a one key car.

I will admit that there are several autos out there that have ignitions in them that are prone to premature failure no matter how careful you are. And failure doesn’t necessarily mean that the ignition will not turn on. I’ve replaced many GM ignitions that failed due to a sensor in the lock. In this case the key will turn on, however, you get a “no crank” situation and a blinking “theft” indicator on the instrument cluster.

Some ways to keep from causing to much wear on your ignition are.

Have a separate key ring with just your ignition, door key and remote on.Use a quick disconnect or release type key ring so you can detach you ignition key from the rest of the ring when being used in you vehicle.

Quick Release Key Ring

We do not advise simply leaving your key in the ignition in your car. This is just inviting auto theft and many insurance companies will not cover a claim when an auto is stolen in this situation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Knock, Knock….My Take on Lock Bumping

Originally published July 8th, 2009.

I figured after the MSNBC story today on lock bumping I needed to put my views on the subject out there.

While lock bumping is a legitimate danger and very hard to detect, it has been blown way out of proportion by a now well known lawyer propelling the news media. By magnifying this danger other real and more likely dangers have been played down. Here are some types of attacks criminals use on your to gain access.

Brute Force:Kick-ins, crowbars, sledge hammers, bricks, pipe wrenches, etc. are the most common ways of gaining entry. Deterrents for these are simply better physical security such as good, properly installed deadbolts, high security door strikes, window break film, latch guards, etc. combined with good lighting and an alarm.

Using YOUR Key: Why would a good thief go through all the above work if all he has to do is use your key. Have you ever loaned out your house key to anyone? Have you ever handed them to anyone for any extended period of time such as when you have your auto serviced?  Left them set around at your place of work? If so entry to your home could cost as little as a $1.25 at any local key cutter. How can you prevent this? Don’t leave your keys set around. Only hand over what keys are necessary when giving them to someone. Have one of the locks on your door keyed different so when needing someone take care of something at your home you can simply lock the other lock to keep out any possible dangers. Have a restricted key way installed on your home by a locksmith: this keeps unauthorized duplicate keys from happening in the first place.

Walking Right In: Always lock your doors.

Covert Entry: Using locksmithing tools and methods to bypass your locks. Picking, pick guns, loiding, etc, and of course the subject of this article “BUMPING“. There are actually many responses from the lock industry to combat this overrated method of entry, however, the following is the best way to deter this.

Restricted keys: If you can’t get a key blank in the first place you can’t make a key to bump it. Steve’s Lock Out and many other lock shops can provide you with just such a key way.Bump Resistant Locks: Master lock has line called Bump Stop that is in my opinion one of the most bump resistant locks on the market. Also the deadbolts have a lock-out feature for when you are on the inside where no key, even the right one will let you gain access from the outside. Master provides a whole line of products to combat this from padlocks to doorknobs and deadbolts. Any locksmith can provide you with Bump Stop locks. If you come into Steve’s Lock Out we can tell you all about the locks, have product demos and even show you a video about lock bumping. We can also show you many other ways to protect your home and business.
 Some of the locks that were put out by the lock industry, even though making them nearly bump and pick-proof, ignored or “overlooked” the fact that the new designs are very weak to brute force attacks. Master Lock while not the strongest of locks is still a lock to be reckoned with and much stronger and resistant to brute force than many of the residential locks on the market.

I do not recommend using a lock with out any type of key what-so-ever on an application that has only one door for entry. All keyless locks on single door applications should have a key override in case of lock failure.

While I have not covered all points of the total security package (far from it) I hope I have given you some points to think about and urge you to examine all aspects of your security if you are truly worried about keeping you and yours safe.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Door Brace is So Simple but Important to Have and Use!

Originally published June 11th, 2009

Who would have ever thought that in a world where everybody has home surveillance systems, computers, talking GPS systems, microwave ovens, satellite television with 8,000 channels, and all of this other great technology, that something so simple, and non-electronic, and non-computerized, could be so important? I am talking about a nifty little clever invention called a Door Brace.

A Door Brace is Simple Effective Security

This is a product that is made out of metal, is extendable to the length that you need, is collapsible to easily be stored or to travel, and it can be put in place each night, under the door knob and down to the floor, to prevent the door from being pushed open, even if it is somehow unlocked. What could be better for the person who lives alone, the college student, or the person staying in a hotel room while traveling? The door brace is a great idea, and what is even a better idea is for YOU to have one for when you do travel, and they make great gifts for any friends or family members that may have a need for something that will increase their safety, whether at home or anywhere.

It is a reality that the world that we live in is becoming more dangerous and there is more crime happening every time we turn around or we turn on the news. Protect yourself and those that you care about with self defense and personal protection items, and if you don’t have a store in your area that sells such things, not to worry; these kinds of products can be purchased online at a variety of great websites and online stores that specialize in protecting folks and their homes, as well as their possessions.

The door brace is not only able to be wedged between the floor and the door knob or handle, but it can also be extended to the proper length, and inserted lengthwise into the track of a sliding glass door, making it impossible for someone to slide the door open, even if they somehow got the door unlocked from the outside. Sometimes folks have a sliding glass door with a broken or flimsy lock, and what keeps the door securely closed, is something of this nature in the track area.

So, whatever your needs are, and no matter how many doors in your home, a few of these door braces just might be a lifesaver some day. Order yours today or pick one up at Steve's Lock Out while you’re thinking about it.

Copyright 2009 Mythril Security. This work may be reproduced if this paragraph is left with the work with included link to Mythril

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Key Should Only Be Put In Locks or Your Pocket...

Originally published June 25th, 2009

…there are a few other places you can put keys too, however, there are several places that they should not be put as well.  This may sound a little gross, but one place they should not be put is in your ears. In my business I re-key, fix and replace many locks and have personally fixed and replaced several that failed due to……….ear wax. I’ll be the first to admit that the first time I came across this and realized what this was that clogged the lock up I felt rather nauseous. It still do, but like everything else you deal with from day to day you build up a tolerance for it.

Automobile ignition  locks are the only place that I come across this problem. Customers will sometimes ask “What was wrong with my lock?” Our reply is normally that we found a waxy substance in the lock prohibiting the movement of the tumblers and advise them not to put their keys anyplace but their pocket or in the lock. Even though I’ve really thought about it I’ve yet to give the reply, “The problem is you clean your ears with your keys.”

As funny as it sounds its really no laughing matter. Ignition lock fails can leave you stranded at the worst times and cost hundreds of dollars to fix. The best way to keep this from happening is to only use your keys for what they are intended for, operating a lock. Not cleaning your ears, scraping dirt, opening cans ect. If you realize that you have gotten something on your keys, stop, don’t put it in the lock. Use a clean cloth or paper towel and wipe the key off. If its sticky and won’t come off by wiping it use a mild cleaner on the blade of the key only. I do not recommend cleaning the electronic part of remote head or electronic keys with any kind of cleaning solution. Follow these simple rules and they can help you avoid some costly repairs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Buy Pre-Made Masterkey Systems Online

This document was originally published Friday, May 29th, 2009.
Master Keyed Locks

You can buy pre-made master key systems from Steve’s Lock Out  for apartment complexes, businesses, rentals and even private homes. You simply purchase the system, it’s shipped out to you within 2 weeks (allow more time for exceptionaly large systems), you or your maintenance crew installs the hardware and your good to go.  You have one key for access to all your doors and each tenant has their own key that will not access other doors. We can also do custom systems or multilevel systems and expand existing systems.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A New and Unique Padlock Introduced by Strattec

Originally published June 19th, 2009
A padlock set to your car key

I believe this has been a long time coming. A padlock that can be set to your vehicles key. Now granted if you have a 78 pinto that won’t be doable, however, with most modern American made autos it is. The number of vehicles this padlock can be keyed to is too extensive to list here. You can contact us if you are wondering about your auto.

There are actually 4 different padlocks. One for Ford, Lincoln and Mercurity. One for Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth. And 2 for Chevy, Pontiac and GMC. The reason for 2 for the GM padlock is that they are the only ones to introduce a new standard key blade in the last 5 years. Other vehicles that they also cover are Saturn, Hummer, International, Sterling and some Mazda, Isuzu and Mitsubishi.

I’ve ordered one of each to keep in stock at my shop. My overall opinion of this lock so far is good. It is a hefty lock although the shackle is long it is not to thick. You can use this just about anywhere else you would use a normal padlock.

Here are some pluses that Strattec boasts of the lock:

Strattec is boasting this lock to be very corrosion resistant and has a hardened shackle. It uses a shutter much like a auto lock to keep out contaminents.

The lock also uses a side-bar type lock which will make the lock very pick resistant and bumping is not even an option.

And they are standing behind this products. They are offering a limited lifetime warrenty on the product. According to the warrenty they will replace, repair or refund the orginal price of the lock for the original owner. These rights do not transfer to anyone that the original owners sells or gives the lock to.

Bravo Strattec.

However, there is one drawback I see to the padlock. Once it is set to a vehicle key that is it. It cannot be recoded to another key. Other than this one thing I think this lock is great.

And again these locks are available at Steve’s Lock Out.