You use keys multiple times a day. They help you get into your home, car and place of business. However, most people don't realize that this constant use takes a toll on their keys, and eventually, the keys may need to be replaced. If you have never thought about replacing your keys or never knew it was something that may need to be done, you may have many questions about this topic. Here are a few questions you may have about key replacement.
What Are the Signs a Key Needs to Be Replaced?
Unfortunately, there are many factors that play into how often a key needs to be replaced, including how often it is used. You can't simply say a key needs to be replaced every five years or every 1000 uses. As such, it is important that you know what the signs are that a key may be failing and should be replaced. One of the tell-tale signs of a key that needs to be replaced is a key that is bending or losing its shape. As the key is used, the metal can begin to wear thin, particularly around the teeth of the key. If you notice the key is twisting, bending or losing its shape, its time to replace the key.
Another sign that your key may need to be replaced is that you are having trouble opening a door with the key. If you find yourself really having to push your key into the lock to get it to turn or open, your key is losing its shape and the teeth are having problems turning the pins in the cylinder.
The last sign that your key might need replacing is that it is sticking in the lock. If the key is sticking, the first thing you should do is attempt to lubricate the lock. It can be sprayed with a lubricating oil to complete this task. However, if the key is still sticking, or is hard to pull out after you lock or unlock the door, the key is probably the culprit. Sticking is often caused by teeth that are becoming bent or jagged as they lose their shape due to repeated wear.
What Happens if a Key is Not Replaced?
When a key is showing signs of wear, it needs to be replaced. If you fail to replace the key in a timely manner, one of two issues can occur. The first issue is that the teeth on the key will wear and be unable to lock or unlock the door. The second issue that can occur with a worn key is that it breaks off in the lock. If the key sticks and you have to pull to loosen it, or if the metal is wearing thin, this problem can occur. If this occurs, you can attempt to remove the key yourself. Use a screwdriver to turn the lock into the upright position. This is the position the lock must be in to release it's hold on the key. Then grab the broken key part with a pair of pliers and wiggle it free. However, if you are unable to do so, a locksmith may have to disassemble the lock to remove the portion of the key that is stuck.
What Options Are There if a Key is Damaged and There Aren't Extras?
If you have failed to replace the key in a timely manner, and it won't open your door and you don't have any extras, you may be wondering what to do next. In such a situation, you have a few options. The first thing you will need to do is gain access to your home, car or place of business. A locksmith can come out and pop the lock, allowing you to gain entry. After that, you will have the option of having the lock replaced, having the lock rekeyed or having a new key made for your lock. If your lock is older, or the lock is cheap, replacing the lock may be a good option. If your lock has removable pins, a locksmith can figure out the pattern of the key, based on the position of the keys, and create a new key for your lock. If you don't want to replace the lock completely but want to change the pattern of the lock, you can have your door rekeyed. This is done by changing the position of the pins or changing around the lock cylinder pattern. Old keys won't work in the lock and a new key will be created for you.
If your key is not working correctly, it is important to have it replaced. Learning what the signs are of a key that is wearing out, what happens if the key is not replaced and what your options are if the key wears out will help you to better understand this topic.
For more information, contact an experienced locksmith or click this link.