The Future of Automotive Locksmithing

May 2, 2019

Locksmith Ledger asked several distributors this question. All agreed that the industry is becoming more and more high tech and that there will always be a demand for new tools and new techniques. Below are the detailed answers. We thank American Key Supply, Midwest Keyless and Transponder Island for their thoughtful answers.

American Key Supply

Modern automotive locksmithing is equal parts traditional locksmithing and computer programming. Most security systems are engineered with the intention of only granting access to dealership technicians because the auto manufacturers do not want outsiders tinkering with their software. However, they must also acknowledge that most locksmiths provide mobile assistance 24/7, which is a service that they presently do not offer. This forces our industry to constantly innovate and find creative ways to circumvent security protocols in order to insert our own key programming data. Mix that in with rolling pin codes, rolling access codes and evolving physical security upgrades and you will see how much higher the barrier to entry in this profession is now, than it was even 3 years ago.

As far as what the future holds, I’ll defer to arguably the most brilliant mind in our industry, Brandon “The Saint” Tucker, owner of Expert Key Solutions in Warrior, Alabama: “Automotive security systems are becoming more advanced every single year, and the ability to ‘hack’ them is becoming increasingly difficult. Take the newest Chrysler systems, for example. The Secure Gateway prevents even their own technicians from writing to the various control modules via OBD by mitigating data to ‘read only’ instead of ‘read and write.’ Newer proximity keys are also experiencing similar security upgrades by implementing end-user data encryption, as developed by NXP. The modern automotive locksmith probably has a good ten years left before having to defer to dealer-only tools and NASTF rules. Why? Because the auto manufacturers want to know who, what, when and why a new key was programmed. The job criteria will change, becoming far more complicated and expensive and will force alignment with dealership prices.”

Midwest Keyless

In the last decade, locksmithing as a profession has consistently progressed. According to a U.S. industry market study, in the past five years alone, the number of locksmithing businesses has increased by about 2 percent. To put that into perspective, there are approximately 24,000 more businesses than there were in 2013. As a result, just over 35,000 new locksmithing jobs were created in the automotive and residential industries combined.

In the automotive locksmith industry specifically, much of this growth is sourced from ever-changing technology. Not only has the number of vehicles on the road increased, but the major changes in automobile safety and security has increased the demand for locksmiths.

 From key duplication, identification, programming, lock-picking, ignition replacements, to understanding foreign automotive locks, there is a great deal of training and continuing education behind becoming a successful automotive locksmith. Fortunately, there are many resources for education and hands-on training available through locksmith associations, trade shows and distributors.

 If we look at the evolution of the automotive industry, it can be predicted that automotive locksmithing has a promising future. As long as people are driving cars, there will be always be a demand for automotive locksmiths!

Transponder Island

Automotive locksmithing is a very technological field in today’s world. As most of you know, the car key is not a metal key blade that starts the car anymore. Every day manufacturers are coming up of new ways to enhance their car security system. These features help keep the car protected from theft. New smart keys today can have features that control the cars’ speed and the cars’ control units. With all these technological enhancements, it may be difficult to keep up. That’s why we recommend a reliable source for everything you need to know about new automotive security systems. As new smart keys, programming machines and software’s are constantly being updated, it is recommended that you have a portal to all the newest tools and software’s available -- a place where all the research has been tested to guarantee that all smart keys, cutting machines, software and locksmithing tools are available for immediate use.

In today’s locksmithing world, it is beneficial to have multiple options when it comes to programming a key for a vehicle.  As most locksmiths are aware, there is larger than ever market of programming machines and ways to program a key for use. Having multiple tools available will set you up for success in the future. You will never know what issues you may encounter with any vehicle so having that “backup machine” or “backup Key” will come in handy when you come across an error with programming. This not only gives you a greater chance of having a successful programed key for your customer but will keep them coming back for future calls.

The locksmith market is constantly growing across the country. In today’s market having low-price high quality is a plus to attract customers.  This will give your company an advantage in a competitive field. Staying updated with all the newest tools and keys will create a beneficial advantage for your company. This will ensure that you will not turn down any calls due to lack of information on the vehicle. The future is bright in the locksmithing world as Research and Development teams across the nation are working every day to make automotive locksmithing more reliable, profitable and efficient than ever before.