Imagine being stuck in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, in the middle of the night, you reach for your keys and feel the dreaded empty pocket. Maybe your keys fell out in the car, or maybe you lost them. Even worse, you look up and see your keys dangling from the ignition. You may be surprised to find out that despite the advent of smart keys, people still lock themselves out. So, you’re locked out. Do you call and wake up a friend to drive all the way to get you, just to ferry you to grab your spare? Or call a taxi and pay a pretty penny to cab across town to your dealership? Either way, you’re leaving your car unattended with key in the ignition, just waiting for someone to break the windows or pry open the doors. Maybe neither is an option, and you’re now faced with the complicated, costly, and lengthy process of towing.

If you’re feeling brave, you could try a DIY approach. But one wrong move, and suddenly you’re looking at damage you caused yourself, that won’t be covered by insurance. And if you’re unsuccessful, that’s on top of the cost of a tow truck or cab. Let’s face it, not only are you likely unfamiliar with the parts inside your door, you can’t even see them to try to navigate. Feeling around with a hanger might look easy in the movies, but most cars don’t even have vertical push buttons to unlock the doors anymore. If you use a metal tool, like a “Slim-Jim”, you risk scratching, tearing, or just breaking the surrounding paint, upholstery, or even parts inside the door.

Lo and behold, the key to carrying on with your day: call an automotive locksmith professional.

Automotive locksmiths are exactly what they sound like: they specialize in keys and locks in vehicles. Like most general locksmiths, they can unlock doors and extract broken keys if they snap off in a lock. With the right materials and a couple minutes, they can also reproduce lost or stolen keys, cut they keys and program them to your vehicle. If your key just got stuck or broke off in a lock – whether it was in the ignition, the trunk, or just your car door – they can release the key or extract the remains and they can repair or replace any lock cylinders that may have been damaged. Because they specialize in automobiles, they can also repair, install, alter or completely re-key auto-ignition switches in pretty much any vehicle.

While the cost of the car key replacement depends on the type of key required, auto locksmiths hold some big advantages over your dealership in an auto emergency. Not only are they typically much less expensive than your dealership, they’re just way more convenient. Calling an auto locksmith means 24/7 availability, expedient service, and the biggest pro: they come to you. No panicking your friends and family, no anxiety over an unattended car, and no massive taxi costs. Even better than a tow service, you can be on your way and continue with your evening. So next time you’re in a lockout bind, keep it simple: call an auto locksmith.