Snap! What an awful sinking feeling you have when you realize that your key has just broken off inside your lock. It feels like a red alarm emergency if you don’t happen to know how to deal with it. But don’t fret. There are ways you can get the key out before you have to call a professional.
Depending on your situation, you may have limited access to different tools or items. Say, if your key breaks off in the door to your home, then you might not have certain items you may need on your side of the door. If you are able to, use another entrance to your home to gain access to the inside of the door. It will be easier to work on if you can open the door. If the whole key is inserted, you can try opening the door with a screwdriver (if you happen to carry one in your car), then you can insert the screwdriver as much as you can into the lock and try turning the doorknob to see if it opens. This could at least get you access into your home to more options for tools.
If the key is visible, you may be able to pull it out. First, spray some lubricant into the lock to help loosen the parts inside. A dry lubricant is preferred over an oil-based one, since those can residue that can collect dirt and grime over time, clogging up your lock. If the key broke off without any teeth still attached to the part you’re holding in your hand, then you may need to realign the lock first. If it broke mid-turn, then you’ll have to do this step. Use a flathead screwdriver to turn it back to it’s vertical position. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to grip the piece of the key that is still sticking out and try to pull the key out that way. Note: This will work if the key broke off at the head of the key, with all the teeth inside the lock. Be careful trying to remove a key that isn’t fully inserted, you don’t want to push the key further into the lock making it harder to reach. If your pliers are proving clunky or are too big to get a good grasp, you can try a pair of tweezers and they may be able to do the trick.
If the pliers aren’t able to grip the broken key, try using a small blade used for a scroll saw or jigsaw. Slide the saw blade in the top part of the key hole, with the teeth facing downwards, next to the broken key into the lock. You should be able to feel the blade’s teeth grab onto the grooves, then you will pull the saw blade back out and the key should come with it. Locksmiths have a tool that is similar to these blades that they use to remove keys. Paper clips can also potentially work in this same manner.
If your key is removed successfully, keep both pieces and take them to a locksmith or key duplicating place and they will be able to make you a new one from the two broken parts.
If you still can’t seem to get the key out or if the lock has been damaged, call a locksmith to help with the repair. You can call us at Minnesota Locks with any of your concerns.
For those of us who may not be as car savvy as others, when something like your car key locking up and not being able to turn to start your car ignition, can cause a minor amount of panic to set in. If you have no idea what is happening, it can be very stressful. Your mind can tend to go immediately to the worst case scenario, that your car is broken.
Don’t panic. This can be a very common occurrence, your wheel is locked. This can happen if the steering wheel has been moved since you last took your key out of the ignition. To unlock it, move the steering wheel from side to side while turning the key simultaneously. As soon as the key can turn, the wheel will unlock.
If the ignition cylinder is still stuck, then try using a dry lubricant in the lock. You want something that won’t collect dust or grime over time. Spray the lubricant into the keyway of the ignition, wipe off any excess on the outside, then insert the key a few times so the lubricant can work into the mechanism, then turn the key. Try jiggling it if the key doesn’t turn right away.
If you’re still not able to get the key to turn, it might be a different issue. Perhaps the key is damaged. Try using a spare key to see if it works. If it does, there might be a twist or bend or worn teeth on the original key that is causing it not to turn. So replacing the broken key is an easy option. Locksmiths or dealerships can make a copy of your spare key that works, or if you don’t have a second key, they can make a copy of the damaged key (that will now work). Calling a locksmith can be a cheaper option than a dealership, so check with a good locksmithing company first.
If all else fails, the problem may lie in your ignition cylinder and may need a replacement. You can try to fumble through figuring out how to fix this on your own, or just save yourself a lot of time and frustration and call a locksmith. Again, you can call your dealership, but you’ll probably find that a locksmith is a more economical option.
Once you’ve figured out where the problem lies, it can be an easy fix. Whether you do it on your own or by calling a locksmith. Either way, never fear, you’ll soon be on your way again.
Who doesn’t love vacation? You work really hard, so this is your chance to get away and do what you love. Whether it’s sitting on the beach or touring your favorite city, the excitement of planning your trip builds until the day finally comes to get out of town. But what about leaving your home all alone? Are you concerned if your home will be safe while you’re away? Of course, the best thing to do is have a house sitter stay at your house while you’re gone. It’s the perfect solution to ease your mind. But, for those of us who are not able to find someone to stay at their home, here are some other things you can do to help.
We’re talking about home security again. And why not? It’s very important to all of us to keep our families, including our furry little friends, safe in our own homes. According to the Justice Department, the majority of break-ins happen with criminals entering your home through the front door. So, this should be your first line of defense in home security. Let’s take a look at some of the best door locks on the market today.
According to the Consumer Reports’ website, they conducted a series of brute force kick tests using a 100-pound battering ram against locked doors to determine the best door locks for preventing forced entry. After testing dozens of locks, they concluded that Yale Premier Single Cylinder YH82 was among the top strongest locks. It is one of the strongest conventional deadbolts that stands up well to kick-ins and drilling. Yale is a pretty trusted lock, being one of the oldest and most recognized brands in the security industry. As the creators of the modern day pin tumbler lock, and being around for such a long time, most other locks are designed off of their pin tumbler design. The brand produces a wide array of products, including smart locks. During Consumer Reports testing for Smart locks, the Yale Assure Lock SL was the top in that category as well. Along with it being resistant to kick-ins and drilling, with it being a Smart lock, or keyless lock, it’s impossible to pick.
The Medeco Maxum 11*603 also performed well in the testing, as the strongest deadbolt across all of the Consumer Reports lock categories, including picking, drilling, and kick-ins. Popular with many professional locksmiths, Medeco is one of the largest manufacturers of medium and high-security locks for both residential and commercial use.
For electronic locks, the Schlage Touch Keyless FE375 CAM electronic deadbolt was the top in the electronic lock category. The Schlage brand locks are a sturdier lock, and the non-electronic keyed-locks are harder to pick. Schlage is a popular and widely available brand of locks that manufactures a wide range of locks, including nonconnected and smart locks.
So if you are looking for a new, very secure door lock for your home, check out one of these tested locks. If you have any further questions, or would like more guidance on what type of door lock you should get for your home, please call us at Minnesota Locks at (651) 451-0622 today!
These days, everyone is looking for more space in their homes. With so many more people working from home, some homes can start to feel a bit crowded. And there’s a space you may not consider as a usable living area, the garage. If your home has a decently maintained garage the conversion can be somewhat simple.
Measure and Design your Space
The first thing you’ll want to decide upon is the layout of your workspace. Think about how much space your garage can offer by rearranging clutter or storage that may be there. And if you want to keep a space for your car as well. Take measurements of your garage and draw out an outline of what you’ll need. Don’t forget to think about placement of desks or shelves to put in your drawing. This will help decide if you need additional power outlets for your computer, printer, and other devices you may need power for at your desk.
If you do decide to maintain space for your car, you will need to construct new walls to divide the space. If you’re adding walls and you have some extra space, maybe an office closet would do nicely for office supplies.
You’re going to need an insulated garage door to keep warm or cool in your office space. If you have to upgrade, then consider getting a door with windows. You can frost the glass if you want privacy.
You’re going to need heating and cooling in your new space. If your garage is not already insulated, you’ll want to do that before you get to finishing your office space. This will keep your office comfortable to work in through the seasons. There are small heating units and cooling units to use in smaller spaces, or you can just open your garage door in nicer weather.
Your garage should already have some outlets, but you may want to consider adding some more power for your office needs. And you may want to run wiring for wall mounted lighting as well.
The easiest option would be to polish the concrete that exists for a nice finish. You could also do a laminate or tile option for the finished office area. A durable option is installing natural stone and epoxy. Throw a rug down under your desk for a little protection for the cold floor.
Bright Paint and Lighting
With no windows in the garage, you want to make it as bright as you can through other means. With your new walls, you’ll want to pick a lighter, brighter color to help lighten the space up. Add floor or desk lamps if you can’t install wall or overhead lighting.
Depending on the work your garage to office conversion needs, this can all be overwhelming to those that might not know the difference between a nail gun and a drill. If you aren’t handy or knowledgable about some aspects of a remodel, like electrical wiring, hire a contractor. Get recommendations and read reviews to find reliable contractors for all your conversion needs, big or small.
Working in a garage can leave you feeling a little more exposed than inside the home, so think about some security options that would work for your new office space. You could add a camera to see what’s happening outside the garage door. Or add a security keypad for easier access to the garage without a garage door opener. If you have an outside access door to the garage, make sure all the locks are in proper working order. And there are multiple alarm systems available that you could have installed as well.
Call Minnesota Locks today with your questions about garage security.
When we think of security risks, we typically think about our own actions. But have you thought about the actions of those in your home? Specifically, we’re talking about those seemingly innocent, moon-faced little creatures living under your roof… your kids. It may not seem like it, but they can cause serious harm to your home security or themselves.
Today, most people with kids grew up in an era where they were raised to be latch-key kids. Their parents instructed them on what to say if a stranger was at the door or called on the phone (you know, pre-caller ID), so you had no idea who was calling, Mom? Dad? Stranger? It was like a roll of the dice who you would get). With instructions of things to say like “My mom can’t come to the door because she is in the bathroom”, or whatever excuse your parents coached you to say. Nowadays, it might be less likely kids are at home alone (cue Macaulay Calkin scream 😱), but we still have to think about coaching our kids about telling strangers personal information or when you will be home. Of course, that’s what burglars want to know, when no one will be home. Kids don’t realize there is danger to telling people certain information, and we all know some kids can be quite talkative about all kinds of things. Take the time to give them a few instructions on the information that they shouldn’t be telling to people they don’t know.
Which leads us to other ways kids can give out information... on the internet. Giving out information in real life is pretty bad, but it’s even worse online. Teach your kids to post things about the places you’ve visited, like restaurants or vacations, after the fact. When you are back in your home, post away about the day’s adventures, or that recent vacation. I know they are eager to share their experiences, but it’s wise to not let them post online while your home is currently unoccupied (this is also good advice to grown ups too). When they are posting online, they are sending a press release to everyone online what your schedule is, giving a lot of people access to this information. Make sure your kids understand that by allowing people to see these aspects of your life, opens up the opportunity for people to steal from you, or maybe worse. Pay close attention to your kids’ accounts to ensure they are not putting anyone at home in danger by sharing private information or about the families schedules detailing when they aren’t home. In short, continuing to educate them about stranger danger online is key.
Another item for your kids to be aware of is your home security alarm (if you have one). These are great for aiding in burglary prevention, but they don’t do much good if your kids forget to re-arm the device when they come home from school or are out playing with friends. Notes or signs that can be hung next to the security keypad are great reminders for them to remember to reset an alarm. Especially if they happen to be home alone after school. And soon it may become second nature to them, as they get into a routine of resetting the alarm. And don’t forget to go over all the buttons and their functions, just in case there happens to be a hiccup with the alarm system. If it’s hooked to a phone service that calls if there is a problem, also brief them on the proper phone numbers that identify as the security system company and practice the questions that they may ask when they call, so your kids aren’t nervous or confused. And while we’re on the subject, simply getting them to remember to lock the door is a benefit too. Help them turn it into a habit, when you close an outside door, turn the lock. Make it into a step process. Turn the doorknob to close the door, and then turn the lock.
We know life is full of stress, so hopefully following some of these tips can help relieve a little bit of that anxiety. Just knowing your kids are educated in keeping your family safe can bring a little peace of mind.
When it comes to home security, we’re always concerned with an intruder that might get inside. But did you ever think about what might get out? If you have pets, then I’m sure this would be your concern. But have you really put any thought into it? Some of our little furry friends can be quite sneaky. I know there has been a night here and there, that our little creature has awoken us in the night from the *outside* of the house. She probably snaked by our feet as we opened the door to the outside and didn’t even know it, like a little cat ninja.
Dogs are also excellent at getting out of fences, cages, and houses. From digging under fences, to climbing over them, they seem to manage to figure out the best way out. Their curiosity can seem to aid in getting them out of anywhere. Just look at this video of the Great Dog and Cat Escape.
Or sometimes they just want to help each other out:
And getting down to some of the smallest of our pets, hamsters are excellent at getting out of their cages. There are so many clever ways these little fuzz balls can escape, like wedging their bowl under their running wheel, so it will stay stable as they climb up it, and push the lid off the cage. For such small animals, they really can figure out lots of ways to escape and cause problems around your home. They love to gnaw on things and can damage wood work and even chew through your cables! Check out this video.
Not that you would want an octopus as a pet, or maybe you do, let’s talk about one of the most fascinating creatures out there. High on the list of nature’s escape artists is the Octopus. Octopuses are incredibly smart and are excellent problem solvers. They have no bones or shell, so they can squeeze through the tiniest of openings. They can change colors to camouflage themselves to hide from enemies. They can squeeze into a small jar, then figure out how to unscrew the lid to get out. Octopi could probably pick a lock if they got their tentacles on one. They truly are some of the most alien looking creatures on this planet. For some truly creepy thoughts, check out how smart these creatures are.
So next time you are battling with keeping your pets from breaking out of your home, you can have the piece of mind that you don’t have to figure out how to keep an octopus from escaping!
The definition of locksmith is a person who designs, makes and repairs locks. The majority of us have had the need to employ someone with these skills at one point or another, during our sometimes forgetful life. But have you ever stopped to wonder where this trade originated from?
The word Locksmith comes from Old English meaning “one who works with metal”, but it has been around for 4000 years, originating in Babylon and Ancient Egypt. The first locks were large, crude, and made of wood. They consisted of pin tumblers that could only be moved using a large wooden key that would be in the shape of a modern toothbrush. Moving forward to 200 A.D., the Romans evolved on the idea of the Egyptian locks, by using metal pin tumbler locks. These locks were often skillfully constructed, with keys that were usually made of bronze and iron, and sometimes made of precious metals. These Roman locks were eventually made so small, that they could provide keys that could be worn as rings on the lock owner’s fingers. This not only ensured the loss of their keys, but wealthy Romans had the added benefit of showing off their status and wealth to others, as wearing a key ring showed that they had valuables to protect. The Romans are also credited with the invention of the portable padlock with a U-shaped bolt, which is also believed to be independently developed by the Chinese.
In 18th century Europe, the design of locks changed. With the aid of advanced metallurgy locksmiths were able to create much more durable locks and keys. Improving on the designs, the locksmith focus was on making locks more elaborate, which developed locksmithing into a skilled trade. While these medieval locks focused on lavish embellishments, they were lacking on actually being secure from skilled thieves that could easily pick and open these locks.
Improvements on locks continued in 1778 with the invention of a double-acting tumbler lock providing much needed advancement in lock security. Six years later, a safety lock that was patented by Joseph Bramah, was so secure that it was unpickable for nearly 67 years.
Today, locksmiths continue this lock designing tradition into the modern world. Often using the same principle of pin tumbler locks, while also utilizing new technologies of program chip keys and remotes. Continuing to design locks to keep you safe.
“History of Locksmithing” HistoryofKeys.com
“History of Locks” LifestyleLounge.com
“An Ancient Profession: The History of Locksmithing” HistoryCooperative.org
For those of us with the misfortune of getting locked out of our car, we know how awful that can feel. Misplacing your keys, or even worse, seeing your keys sitting, seemingly smiling at you from the interior of your car, as you jiggle the locked door handle. When you find yourself in this situation, the solution is simple. Call a locksmith. Unless you find yourself in a horror movie, then there’s no time for that phone call, so just run away… quickly.
Of course, our lists will vary with multiple reasons that we can get locked out of our cars. Lost keys, the key breaks off in the lock, a broken ignition lock, or your purse (including your keys) was stolen, etc. The value of a high quality and reliable locksmith is key. One that will ensure your car security and your safety by getting to you quickly when you are stranded. Rescuing you from waiting outside your vehicle, and unable to get to your next destination.
Locksmiths can offer emergency round the clock service. No matter when you find yourself in need, someone can be there to help. A talented locksmith can solve your problem quickly, professionally, and successfully without inflicting damage to your automobile. And for the times you don’t find yourself in an emergency situation, locksmiths can provide a number of other services to keep you moving. They provide replacement car keys, program chip keys, duplicate car keys, and help you when your keys won't turn in the ignition.
With modern cars being manufactured with advanced locking systems, copying or replacing keys and locks might seem confusing to some of us. What is the best way to deal with this situation? One option is to call your car dealer. With the new technology making it more difficult to repair these kinds of locks, your car dealer might suggest you replace the lock. These car dealers will then hire a locksmith to do the job, and charge you a third party fee for the repairs. Skip the dealer and go right to the locksmith to save some cash. Locksmiths are highly skilled in their trade, and can work with all the latest vehicles, as well as older cars
These well-trained technicians can help you get on your way again quickly, and onto the more important things in your day. Consider researching a good, reliable locksmith to have on hand before an emergency strikes. Then you know you have a quality service to call upon, when that stressful time may strike.
Let’s face it, 2020 was a pretty rough year. A lot of last year’s events have probably gotten you thinking about some things that you may never have thought about before. Some of us may have conjured up images of Mad Max and The Walking Dead as we have watched some of the events unfold on the news, but we don't want to focus on that. So, let’s have some fun and let’s think about how best to prepare for a Doom’s Day scenario.
Bonus: These can also be good tips if you’re thinking about new lifestyle activities, so either way, we hope you enjoyed this fun post.
We offer automotive, commercial and residential locksmith services in the Twin Cities.