Locks & Security FAQs

Below is a collection of lock and security frequently asked questions that we at Express Locksmith have collected to help educate readers about our business and industry.

Q. Are you really open 24/7?

A. Yes! We really are open 24/7 to take care of emergency situations. We aren’t even close for Christmas or New Years! Appointments are preferred, even if it’s only a couple of hours in advance, we can schedule appointments in the middle of the night if that’s the most convenient time for you.

Q. Will I be charged for the service call if the locksmith can’t get me in?

No. There are exceptions in rare circumstances, but we will spell them out before we come out.

Q. What kind of payments do you accept?

At Express Locksmith we accept all major credit and debit cards as well as cash. Due to the nature of the work we complete, we are unable to accept personal checks. For commercial jobs, we do offer billing and also accept business checks for repeat customers. The first time we complete service at a commercial location we require a debit, credit or cash payment in order to form a good faith business relationship. We are constantly trying to offer more payment options for the ease of our customers so continue to check back for updated information.

Q. What happens if I call for a mobile locksmith, but once they arrive, I don’t agree with the price?

With Express Locksmith you can cancel service during the initial call and no charges will apply. If you agree to the call out and when our locksmith arrives they assess the problem you’re having and how to best fix it for you. If the problem is more complicated than you originally thought they will offer you a range of solutions so you can choose the most affordable option for your situation, and you will be handed a written quote to sign before they begin the work. If at that point you choose not to use our services or to defer the work, then you will only be charged the minimal call-out fee. And if you change your mind later, you can always call us back to book an appointment for a time that is convenient for you (24/7). In that case, the second call-out fee is waived.

Q. Can you bill my insurance company?

If your insurance company covers locksmith services you can submit the receipt to them for reimbursement. The only insurance that we work directly with is American Home Shield. For covered services, American Home Shield customers only pay their co-payment and the balance is paid by American Home Shield to us directly.

Q. I just bought my house and it came with an American Home Shield Warranty. I was told I only had to pay you my $75 copayment for re-key my house.

That’s correct. We will re-key 5 keyways and give you 4 house keys per our contract with American Home Shield. All of your locks must be the same keyway (the type of key) for them to all be keyed alike. If your locks are different keyways from each other we’ll go over the options that American Home Shield offers at that time.

Q. We purchased a new house and it didn’t come with an American Home Shield Warranty, should we get new locks/keys?

If you don’t know who owns a key to your home you’re potentially at risk, but that doesn’t mean you need to put all new locks on your home. We can evaluate the condition of the locks currently on the home, and if you’d like we can simply change the combination on the locks (re-key them) and give you a new set of keys. That’s a whole lot less expensive than physically changing all the locks. Think about it, a previous housekeeper, babysitter, gardener, or family member of the previous owner may still have a duplicate key to your home. In case you’re not 100% sure, we always advise to either re-key when possible, or if need be, completely replace the existing locks. The best thing is to call us for a quote and we’ll be able to check the condition of your home’s locks and your personal security needs and work with you to find the most affordable scenario for your specific needs.

Q. I want all my doors in the house to open with one key. Is this possible?

Yes! If you have a key that slides into all your locks then we can simply re-key the locks.

Q. Do I need to change my locks or just need my existing locks re-keyed?

Changing locks is taking the locks (lock, knob/lever, latch, and strike) and installing a totally new lock. Re-keying a lock is taking the existing lock cylinder (leaving the rest in place) and changing it so your existing key will no longer work, and a new one will. Most of the time you just want your locks re-keyed.

Q. What if I can’t verify that the car/house/office is mine or I should be in there?

It depends on the circumstances. If you have identifying documents inside the car/house/office, we call for a police officer to be present. It’s up to the police officer to authorize us opening the lock. Often the officer will require a notarized letter of authorization from the owner of the car/house/office. If you cannot provide identification or this written authorization the police officer will not allow us to open the lock and we will not be able to help you.

Q. I would like all the locks in my house to open with one key, and I’d like a key that my gardener can use to get in the backyard and nothing else. Is this possible?

This is very possible. This is what Master Keying is all about. If your locks are all the same brand we can have key certain locks to have their own key and your Master house key will still open all the locks in the house. The gardener, babysitter or pool cleaner, whoever you want to give a key to that specific door will only be able to get into that one specific door, while the property owner or renter can get into ALL the locks on the property with only 1 key.

Q. I’m renting an apartment (or house). Should I re-key the locks?

You should first find out from the Property Manager when the home last had its locks changed or were re-keyed. If the owner or Property Manager is unsure, then you and your property are potentially at risk. In that case, we recommend that you replace or re-key your locks even when renting property. Make sure to check with your landlord and get their approval to do so first. They may surprise you and actually cover the costs!

Q. Will my lock still work after you open it?

Yes, picking a lock (house or car) does not damage the lock, the house or the car. The only exception is if the lock is already damaged or needs to be drilled. Then the lock will need to be replaced. Very, very rarely is drilling ever needed.

Q. Do locksmiths have a “master” key that fits all locks?

No. A “master” key is able to open only the locks that were set up to accept it.

Q. Is it cheaper for me to supply the locks?

No. Although the locks might look nice on the outside, buying locks in a hardware store based on price usually means poor quality. They may not be the right type for your door, might not fit right or might be different keyway from the other locks you have on your property and not be able to be re-keyed to allow you to use only one key for all the locks on your property. At Express Locksmith we’re aware that everyone has a budget to live within. We’ll work with you to find the most affordable solution to your security needs.

Q. What is Master Re-keying?

Master re-keying is a term often used by business owners, landlords of apartment complexes and Property Managers. In an apartment complex, for example, every tenant has a specific key and lock combo, which provides tenant security for their home. It’s not feasible for the Property Manager or their agent to carry keys for every apartment unit. In this case, Property Managers carry one master key that allows access to every unit. In a business location, each employee has a key to their office and the manager uses one key that can lock/unlock their area. In short, a Master Key is the main key for a group of locks. Regular keys can unlock one matching lock, but the master key is able to unlock all of the locks inside the group. Usually, master keys are used by landlords, Residential Property Managers, and Commercial Property Managers. To be able to Master-key a group of locks they all need to be made by the same manufacturer. However, in some cases, it’s possible to create a master key if the brand is not identical. We also provide complex Master Key Systems using Sub-Master keys and Grand-Master keys, etc.

Q. What is a high-security lock?

High-security locks have restricted key access, and these keys are very difficult to duplicate. They also offer the safest protection against potential burglaries in both home and commercial settings. Give us a call. Let’s talk and determine the most affordable solution to your concerns.

Q. What should I do if I lost my car keys?

If your car keys are lost or stolen you have two options to replace them. One is to contact the dealer, the other is to contact a professional automotive locksmith like Express Locksmith. We can make a new key for your vehicle right on the spot. If your key has a chip inside of it we will program it to your vehicle and we will erase the lost/stolen key from your cars’ vehicle security immobilizer system. Re-key the ignition/lock and generate a new working key. We even offer big discounts on a second key at the time we generate the new key.

Q. What should I do if my key broke off in the lock?

Your key breaks off in the door lock or ignition. It always happens at the most inconvenient time. Call Express Locksmith no matter what time day or night. It’s much easier for a locksmith to extract the key from the lock and make you a new key than having your car towed to the car dealer. Much more affordable too! We come to you and make car keys on the spot, including a transponder, push to start, and high-security keys.

Q. I have a new car. It has some kind of security device built into the key. Do I have to go to the Dealer to get a copy?

In nearly all cases Express Locksmith can save you 15%-30% over your local car dealer. Believe it or not, we’re usually more familiar with how these systems work than your dealer, including the latest high-security vehicle keys.

Q. What is a Proximity Key?

Proximity keys are known by a variety of names: Smart Keys, Keyless Go, Keyless Access, Push to Start, Push Button Start, Keyless Entry, Intelligent Key. We do them all!

Q. How do I find the least expensive place to get a spare key made for my car?

You may be tempted to purchase a cheap key from the internet but that’s taking a huge risk. There’s a 50/50 chance the key you purchased will either not work or will not be able to be programmed to your vehicle. The average cost of replacing a car key varies a great deal depending on the type of key your car requires. It also depends if you want an OEM key or an After-Market key. Both work equally, but the OEM usually has a manufactures logo and the After-Market tend not to. OEM keys cost 2-3 times the price of After-Market keys. (Not our fault. Car manufacturers gouge us on the price of these keys!) Prices start at about $169 and can reach upwards of $600 for luxury cars with high-security proximity fobs. Making a duplicate key from an original is significantly less expensive. Either way, Express Locksmith tends to be 15%-30% less than car dealers’ prices and we come to you!

Q. Can I have a key made to get into my ex’s car to get my own keys out of it?

You can try asking your ex if you can get your keys or you would have to get your ex’s key and either just use it to open the car or get a copy made. You’re going to have to show us ID showing you have the right to access this house/car and proof you are the legal owner of the property or vehicle for us to open or make you a copy of the key.

Q. Our house came with an American Home Shield warranty to have our house re-keyed. You are listed as one of their locksmiths. What area do you cover?

Our contract with American Home Shield is for the following cities/zip codes:

Houston: 77007, 77008, 77009, 77013, 77014, 77016, 77018, 77022, 77026, 77028, 77032, 77037, 77039, 77040, 77041, 77043, 77044, 77049, 77050, 77055, 77060, 77064, 77065, 77066, 77067, 77068, 77069, 77070, 77073, 77076, 77078, 77080, 77084, 77086, 77088, 77090, 77091, 77092, 77093, 77095, 77429, 77433, 77373, 77379, 77380, 77381, 77382, 77386, 77388, 77389, 77391, 77338, 77345, 77346, 77396, 77301, 77302, 77303, 77304, 77306.
Cypress: 77429, 77433.
Spring: 77373, 77379, 77380, 77381, 77382, 77386, 77388, 77389, 77391.
Humble: 77338, 77345, 77346, 77396.
Conroe: 77301, 77302, 77303, 77304, 77306, 77384, 77385.
Willis: 77318, 77378.
Tomball: 77375, 77377.
Magnolia: 77354, 77355.
Beaumont: 77701, 77702, 77703, 77705, 77706, 77707, 77708, 77713.
Porter: 77365.
New Caney: 77357.
Splendora: 77372.
Cleveland: 77327, 77328.
Batson: 77519.
Saratoga: 77585.
Sour Lakes: 77659.
Liberty: 77575.
Crosby: 77532.
Huffman: 77336.
Devers: 77538.
Hull: 77564.
Highlands: 77562.
Mont Belvieu: 77523, 77535.
Wallisville: 77597.
Hankamer: 77560.
Winnie: 77665.
Hamshire: 77622.
Rose Hill Acres: 77657.
Rose City: 77662.
Lynchburg, McNair, Coady: 77521.