Getting new keys made today is often a bit more complicated than it was in the past, when you would simply show up at your local hardware store and have someone duplicate your key. Today's keys can be more detailed than in the past, and key cutters may only work with certain types of keys when it comes to duplicating. When you're ready to have some keys cut or are having issues with locks in your home or with your car, note a few questions to consider.
1. Can you duplicate a key that says "Do Not Duplicate"?
Stamping a key with "Do Not Duplicate" is usually done by a business in order to keep keys from being circulated, such as when a tenant moves into a new apartment and the management doesn't want anyone else to have keys to the workout center. However, this doesn't mean that those keys are never to be duplicated; some key cutting services will duplicate those keys with a note from the business owner or someone else, stating that they are the legal owner of the key and the locks on which it works. This will often depend on each locksmith or key cutter, so don't assume you can't have that key duplicated but ask what documentation they would need to get this done.
2. Why won't most key cutters allow me to bring in my own key?
Very often, duplicate keys you buy online in order to be cut are cheap for a reason; the metal may be very thin or the plastic may not be coated so that it's more likely to chip or break. This means they may not work well in the equipment used by key cutters today, so that an exact duplicate cannot be made. They may also be more likely to break off in a heavy-duty front door lock, or not communicate well with your car's computer so that, even if they're cut properly, they still won't operate your vehicle.
3. Why do I need to bring my car in for an extra car key made?
Car keys often need to be programmed with a fob to communicate with a car's computer, as mentioned above, in order to actually work and to avoid having the car alarm sound. A key cutter may need to actually program a new car key, not just cut it, which is why they need access to the car's computer and not just your original key.