LL Notes from the Editor eNL - May 17th, 2023
LL Notes from the Editor eNL | View online
May 17, 2023
Start Your Engines

I sat in on Monday’s night’s Locksmith Live webinar in hopes of learning a bit more about the high-tech specialty of automotive locksmithing. While I certainly will never be soldering chips and reconstructing remotes, there are some smart guys out there doing all this and more. My biggest takeaway was that solid training is invaluable.

Wayne Winton hosted this free online discussion featuring Jareth Garza, the force behind The Locksmith Academy, and UHS Hardware’s Tirso Navarro. Garza and Winton will be teaching at UHS Hardware’s next training session, June 21-24 in Hollywood, Fla. Automotive courses will include Beginning Automotive 101, A Day at the Auction, Magic Motorsport: ECU and TCU Programming and Mercedes Key Programming.

The panel and some of the attending locksmiths had some interesting discussions, and I enjoyed hearing their viewpoints. The first topic was the influx of non-OEM remotes on the market and the locksmiths’ ability to combine elements from different transponders to craft a working one. This translates to significant savings on the inventory they must stock. Garza calls this “transponder adaptability.”

A question about warranties on such keys generated a great comparison. Today’s remotes are basically smartphones, and just like those phones, they can be dropped, submerged and otherwise mishandled and damaged. The recommendation: warranty coverage ends when the customer leaves with the remote.

The locksmiths advised inspecting vehicles to be sure they are in working condition before starting work and then recording and documenting the job to guard against future damage and liability claims.

Then there is the dilemma of when to walk away from a job. The easy answer might be “as soon as it’s no longer profitable,” meaning don’t put in a full day’s work trying to solve problems on a job quoted at $200, missing out on other jobs that would generate more income. The hard answer involves pride in one’s work and working through a tough problem to find a solution.

Some folks predict that keys are going away. That may be the case with newer, push-to-start vehicles, but automotive work is not going away. It’s evolving into a lucrative, challenging market, ideal for tech-savvy technicians. Continued training is essential to succeed and there are plenty of good sources out there, including the Locksmith Academy, ALOA’s automotive division (hosting its first event this fall), and many distributors and manufacturers.

The session also included some great equipment recommendations for locksmiths jumping into automotive. There’s plenty of food for thought, and I’d recommend that anyone doing automotive work or thinking about doing automotive work take the time to watch on Youtube.

As for me, when both of the keyfobs for my 2010 Nissan Rogue quit working, I went straight to my local lockshop, Sandy Springs Safe and Lock. The guys in the shop replaced the battery in one fob and cleaned out some moisture from inside the second fob and I was back in business.

‑ Emily Pike

For more information:

Recorded webinar

The Locksmith Academy

UHS Hardware’s June 21-24 Locksmith Academy

Locksmith Nation Facebook group

Wayne’s Lockshop training videos


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