Lost car keys? What to know before they go!

Car key codes

Get your key codes from the dealership free!

We get a lot of calls from people who have lost their car keys and need to have a new key made. Some of our customers save money by using our service but many times we direct them to the local dealerships. Here’s why. If your vehicle uses a standard key, meaning there is no computer chip in it, then your vehicles VIN, when entered into the dealerships computer, will tell the dealer the cuts of the key. This information is free to the vehicle owner and the dealership can cut a key from the VIN much cheaper. You will need your vehicle registration and your ID to prove you own the vehicle when you go to the dealership, but this is a good way to save a lot of money. This works for older model cars that don’t use a transponder key and don’t require programming. If you are unsure what type of key your vehicle uses, you can check your vehicle’s year, make and model on our blog. Just click the page that pertains to your vehicle.

If your vehicle uses a transponder or high security key it will probably be cheaper to go with an automotive locksmith, as anyone making the key will need to be at the vehicle to program this type of key. This means an extra towing bill to get it to a dealership, but a good automotive locksmith can come to your vehicle and that saves you money. The dealership can still help save you money by providing the “Pin Code” and the “Key Code” from the VIN. We encourage you to obtain these codes and write them in your vehicles owners manual. This information is free from the dealership to the owner of the vehicle, but costs a locksmith a lot of money to obtain. Knowing your Codes will save you both time and money in the event you need to call a locksmith to make and program a new key.

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GM ignition switch nightmare

GM Ignition Switch Recall

GM Faulty Switch Recall

General Motors insiders call this ignition switch the “switch from hell”. The ignition switch on the steering column of the Chevrolet Cobalt along with several other compact Chevrolet cars was so poorly designed that they easily slip out of the run position causing the engine to stall leaving the driver to muscle the car off the road. Once the engine stalls the airbags wont deploy, so in the event of an accident while getting the vehicle off the road the passengers are not protected. Vehicles involved include Chevy Cobalt from 2005-2007, 2007 Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion. 2006-2007 HHR, 2006-2007 Pontiac Pursuit, 2007 Pontiac Solstice and 2007 Saturn Sky. The faulty ignition switches were to blame for 50 crashes and at least 13 deaths according to GM. Engineers at GM knew of the problem as early as 2004 when a test vehicle stalled on the test track as the drivers knee grazed the key FOB hanging in the ignition. Insiders at GM did not see the problem as a safety issue and ignored it for 11 years.

From 2004-2006, GM considered the fix too costly and sent out letters to dealerships explaining the problem and advising them to warn customers not to dangle too many objects from their key chains. GM elected not to use the word “stall” in the letter saying that was a “hot” word that could indicate there was a more serious safety issue.

In 2007, a GM engineer working with GM’s liability defense team began keeping track of Cobalt air bag problems and quickly noticed a pattern between the ignition switch and the air bags. He also noticed that the problem stopped after model year 2007 and wondered if the switch had been changed. He discovered that in 2006 one of GM’s top engineers had not only secretly signed off on a change in the switch that would increase the force it took to turn the key in the switch, but also used the same part number on the secretly changed switch as the faulty switch. Keeping the part number the same kept GM investigators from learning about what happened for years.

Then in 2011, a law firm hired to sue GM decided to X-ray two switches from 2 different model years and found they were different. This was the first time GM had learned about the secret changes to the switch by their top engineer. Even in light of all this new information, the GM recall committee was not immediately told about the fatal accidents that had occurred and so they waited for several more months to start recalling the cars in February of 2012.

On Thursday June 5th, 2014, a sweeping internal investigation of General Motors was released condemning the company for its decade-long failure to fix a deadly safety defect that led to “devastating consequences.”

The report, written by the former United States attorney Anton R. Valukas, set off the dismissal of 15 G.M. employees, including a vice president for regulatory affairs and a senior lawyer responsible for product liability cases, and forced broad changes in how the company handles vehicle safety.

There are still many of these vehicles on the road today. A lot of them handed down to teenagers and inexperienced young drivers to travel back and forth to school or college. If you own or are considering buying one of these vehicles, we highly recommend that you have the ignition switch checked out before driving the vehicle.


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What is the deal with Bump Keys?

divider for post pagesIf you do a Google search on bump keys you will find a lot of information on a technique that was once regarded as a top secret tool known only to locksmiths. For centuries this technique was guarded by reputable locksmiths and not shared with the general public.

Today thanks to the internet, many people have become aware of this once closely guarded secret and now that the cat is out of the bag, not only do the criminals have easy access to instructional how to videos but locksmiths themselves are using these videos and information on their websites to scare customers into purchasing additional security measures, thus making the cost of their locksmith service even more. The fact that scare tactics are being used on the consumer in an effort to increase the bottom line of the locksmiths business is bad enough, but add to that fact that locksmiths using these scare tactics are advancing the criminals efforts to learn and to use this technique to gain access to homes and businesses of the customers they claim to be so concerned for. Seems to me that if your customers safety and security is a concern, you would not be posting a how to video on your website, thus educating would be criminals about this technique

Yes the problem is real and the threat is there, but you have to wonder about a locksmith who claims to have your safety and security in mind and then posts videos educating criminals on how to do it. Don’t fall victim to these scare tactics, always hire a locksmith who truly takes your safety and security seriously. Here in Citrus county, 1 Able Locksmith is well aware of this technique and offers our customers the option of bump proofing their locks if that is what the customer feels they need.

The Citrus county Sheriffs Office will tell you that entry into houses and businesses are usually achieved through sliding glass doors or by throwing a brick through a window. I have not seen any reports where the majority of burglaries were carried out using bump keys. First of all the process of using a bump key makes a lot of noise. Noise is something a burglar tries to keep to a minimum in an effort to not attract attention. Add to that the fact that noise is not a quick one time thing but is often repetitive. Also a bump key is not as easy to use as the internet makes them out to be. They like anything else require practice to be an effective method of gaining entrance to a building. So when you are being told that you need protection against bump keys, keep in mind that although the use of a bump key is a possibility, it is not a preferred method of entry as many are trying to say it is.

You will not find on our website a video or any other form of scare tactic advising customers that they must have this service in order to keep their homes or businesses secure. We do take your security seriously, but we will not use scare tactics or contribute to the education of the criminals who would use the information given out on our website as a weapon to be used against our customers. Now that’s security!

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Keeping keys safe on Citrus county waterways




Tubing down the river

Tubing in Citrus county Florida

Citrus county Florida offers many opportunities for water lovers to enjoy beautiful lakes, rivers and springs. As the weather gets warmer, more and more people are drawn to these beautiful shores to picnic, boat or fish. Quite often during the summer months 1 Able Locksmith gets calls from these folks who find themselves without their car keys when its time to return home. Some of the most popular spots in the county include the KP Hole at rainbow river in Dunnellon Florida. The crystal clear, slow moving water makes this the perfect place to drift down the river on inner tubes but it is also one of the top spots people loose their car keys while doing so. Fort Island Trail Beach is a popular destination on the Gulf of Mexico in Crystal River, Florida. It’s sandy beaches and Gulf waters draw large visitiors from all over the world. The beautiful sand beach and the cooling Gulf waters have claimed more than one set of keys from unsuspecting visitors. Traveling into Old Homosassa  Florida is like taking a trip into the past with all the natural beauty and many waterways. Here you can swim with the Manatees, tour or fish  the Homosassa river, dine in one of the many waterfront cafes and enjoy old fashioned Florida hospitatlity. Many a boat launch there have claimed visitors keys as well. If you travel into the Inverness Florida area you will find a gorgeous chain of lakes known as Tsala Apopka. This unique area travels from Inverness into Hernando and surrounding areas through canals and each little lake that makes up this wonderful chain is unique, offering great fishing and plenty of opportunity to spot wildlife that call the area home. The Withlacoochee river offers miles and miles of natural beauty and is a fisherman and birdwatchers paradise. There are several boat launches in Hernando, Florida and many a fisherman has called to have keys made after dropping their keys into these waters. With so many wonderful choices, ( the places listed are just a few of the choices) of where to spend your time on the water in Citrus county, comes the many opportunities to loose your keys in one of them. Here are a few tips to make sure your relaxing day at your favorite watering hole doesn’t turn into a frantic evening of searching for your keys to get home.

It is helpful to carry a floating key chain to place your keys in while your in or around the water. If you do drop your keys in the water this type of key chain will float to the top as opposed to your keys sinking to the bottom never to be seen again.

Many people use a magnetic key holder and attach it somewhere under the hood of their vehicle or under the frame of the car itself. This is a common practice that we do not recommend, as thieves are well aware of this tactic and can search and find your keys, making your car and home vulnerable to burgalry.

Remember that water can move things in ways that you would not think it could. For example, some people wear their keys on a necklace around their necks while floating down the river on inner tubes or swimming. The same is true if you put your keys in your pocket. The water as you dive under can lift the chain off your neck or move the key out of a pocket without you noticing it and the keys are gone.

You can also use water proof bags to place keys, cell phones, wallets and other valuables in while your on the water. The problem with this type of storage is you must keep an eye that they dont float away while your not looking and you must insure that the bag you use is truely watertight. Some transponder keys and remotes will become useless after coming into contact with moisture so it is important to keep them dry.

Even when you have done everything you can to protect your keys from becoming lost or damaged, accidents can and do happen. We recommend keeping the number to your local locksmith, who is experienced in making and programming keys, handy in your cell phone. Many times a locksmith will tell you they can make you a key. They will arrive at your location, charge you a service call and then are unable to actually make you a working key. If you are in Citrus county Florida or surrounding area, 1 Able locksmith has the experience and equipment to make and program transponder keys for most foreign and domestic automobiles. We also carry most key blanks for non transponder key systems as well. With over 40 years automotive experience, you can rest assured your problem will be resolved quickly.

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Transponder Keys for Citrus county Florida



1 Able Locksmiths Transponder Key Programmer

Transponder Key Programming Equipment

A Transponder Key is a radio transmitted receiver used by car makers as an anti theft device for automobiles. The Car or Truck has an antenna ring, usually around the ignition area. The key blank contains a chip which when inserted into the ignition, allows the antenna ring to read the code embedded in the chip. The antenna ring puts out a signal when the key is inserted into the ignition lock, it looks for the companion key, and allows the vehicle to start. Only a key programmed to that particular vehicle will start the engine of that vehicle, thus making it less prone to theft. The transponder key is programmed into the car computer at the factory. If the vehicle’s computer does not receive the correct key identification response when the key is turned to the on position, the car will not start. If a key is lost or damaged for this type of vehicle, a new key can be produced by a locksmith who has the transponder programming equipment. In Citrus county Florida, 1 Able Locksmith has the training and equipment needed to produce transponder keys.

When buying a vehicle that uses a transponder key, it’s a good idea to have another programmed key made. Sometimes keys are lost or damaged, so having a second programmed transponder key is important. It is important to make sure the second key is programmed to your vehicle in order for it to be a working key.

The vehicle owner having a problem with his/her ignition or key should always contact a locksmith with automotive locksmith experience to resolve any problems. Once the antenna ring is damaged the price for repair can be very costly compared to the price of having a locksmith fix the original problem. I personally have seen many transponder key issues made worse by the vehicle owner trying to resolve the problem themselves and damaging the antenna ring around the ignition.

Many people call us when they have lost the keys to their vehicle. One of the first things we ask is if their vehicle takes a transponder key. Quite often people are unaware of which key their vehicle uses. One of the easiest ways to tell if your vehicle uses a transponder key is by the key itself. A transponder key has a large plastic black or grey head. This is the area on the top of the key that holds the chip. A non transponder key will not usually have this hard plastic head, instead it will be a flat silver or brass regular key. The Pictures below demonstrate the look of each key. Notice the difference on the tops of the keys?

Non Transponder key

Non Transponder Key Blanks


Transponder Key

Transponder Style Key Blank







We can also determine whether your vehicle is a transponder style system with our specialized software program. Sometimes a vehicle maker will use transponder or non transponder on the same model made in the same year. If you have one of those vehicles that could be either system we suggest calling the dealership with your vehicle registration number or VIN. The dealer can look up your exact vehicle information using the VIN.

If you live in Inverness, Hernando, Crystal River, Dunnellon, Lecanto, Beverly Hills, Floral City, Homosassa, Inglis or Yankeetown here in Citrus county Florida, we can save you money on all your transponder key programming needs.

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Rekey VS. Replace locks



1 Able locksmith can rekey your existing locks

Did you know that your door knob locks and your deadbolt locks can be rekeyed cheaper than they can be replaced? We here at 1 Able locksmith are on a mission to save our neighbors here in Citrus county Florida money. That is why we tell our customers about our rekey services.

1 Able Locksmith gets several calls a week asking us to replace locks because the keys have been given to someone who shouldn’t have a key. We tell our customers that if the locks are functioning properly, we can rekey the existing locks so that the lock will no longer work using the old key. This saves our customers money over having to purchase and install new door locks while providing the security of having new keys for your old locks.

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