We've all been there: you return to the car park after a hectic day of shopping, and find out that your keys are missing. You rummage through your pockets for a few minutes, and then the panic begins to set in. They're nowhere to be found, and you've got food that needs to be put in the freezer,
OK, it's not the end of the world, but the number for a reliable car locksmith can be worth its weight in gold.
What else can they do
Car locksmiths are mostly called into action in the scenario described above, but there are other uses for them besides just getting into a locked car:
Cutting spare keys
If you share a car with your significant other, or just want to get a backup set in case of an emergency, car locksmiths can cut you a spare copy of your key.
Repairing damaged locks
Due to the frequency of their use, car door and ignition locks are often prone to wear and tear - car locksmiths can often repair any damage at little cost.
Digging out snapped keys
Anyone who has snapped their key in the car's ignition will know that getting the detached half out is no easy task - and it's one that is probably best left in the hands of a professional.
Where can I find one?
When you find yourself in a sticky situation, your first instinct is probably to call a big name motoring repair service like AA or RAC. While this is always an option, you may find yourself paying a little more than you hoped for what is a fairly routine job.
Rather than trying a blind Google search, your first port of call should be to check out locksmiths.co.uk - a website which profiles and vets auto locksmiths up and down the country to help consumers find a reliable service. It also features a tool whereby you can search for a company in your local area, and find out its opening hours as well as the services it provides.
It's important to choose a company that is MLA approved - remember that getting into a locked car can involve causing damage (usually only minor), and you need to make sure the guy you've hired knows what they're doing.
Prices for getting into a locked vehicle tend to be fixed across the board, but the cost of a replacement key can vary significantly depending on the model. Below is a guide as to (roughly) how much you can expect to pay for each service:
Getting into a locked car
This service may carry a slight premium due to the service charge of getting a locksmith out to wherever you are stranded at such short notice, but generally the cost is fairly minimal. Estimated cost £20-30.
New ignition key
Remember that getting a new key for your ignition is a completely different proposition to getting one for your doors only as it has to be specially programmed to work with your vehicle. Estimated cost £50-£100.
New door key
Cutting a new car door key is a fairly straight forward job: anything more than £20 and you've probably been ripped off. Estimated cost £10.