You have a number of locksmith services to choose from, but what are the differences between residential and auto locksmith services?

Sounds like a simple question, but the answer is not quite as simple. You really would need to ask a number of questions in order to determine which locksmith service best suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for residential or auto locksmith services here’s what you should know:


1) The most obvious difference is that if you have an emergency, you’ll most likely find an auto locksmith before a residential one.

This is because they are on the road, making their rounds servicing car owners in need of emergency services. Although some residential service companies offer 24-hour service to accommodate emergencies, they may not be able to handle your request immediately.


2) An auto locksmith carries a completely different set of tools than a residential locksmith.

This is important when considering that an auto locksmith. Auto locksmiths need to be able to carry all the tools they’d need in order to quickly and efficiently service a car lockout.

They must carry a wide array of lock parts and tools to handle all types of cars. The type of locksmith service you will need depends on the make and model of your car, as well as the year it was made. Residential locksmiths need the tools to handle residential types of jobs, which are much different than automotive ones.

Also, a commercial locksmith might be needed for businesses or government facilities. For homes, hotels, schools, or hospitals, residential locksmiths are needed.


3) The equipment and tools used by an auto locksmith are more complex than those of a residential locksmith.

The above is true because auto-related services include all types of vehicles, including boats and motorcycles as well as cars. Most vehicles come with specialized locks, keys, and protection devices. Only automotive locksmiths are properly equipped to handle these kinds of jobs.


4) Residential locksmiths are more costly than auto locksmiths.

This is because they need to charge more to cover the cost of traveling from one job to another. Unless you are willing to pay for this, be sure you are clear with residential locksmith services upfront about fees for travel or any other expenses that may not be included in the quote.


5) A residential locksmith doesn’t need to have an auto certification.

This is because the skills needed are completely different. An auto locksmith must be skilled in both lock picking and rekeying, whereas a residential locksmith only needs to learn basic lock picking techniques, which include bumping or picking pin-tumbler locks.


6) A residential locksmith’s skills are very different than those of an auto locksmith.

Some residential jobs require a high level of knowledge and skill, such as lock and key repair and installation on older homes. These types of jobs include changing out lock cylinders and installing door closers and new knobs and hinges on doors. Other typical tasks include safe opening, removal of broken keys from locks, and duplication of keys.


7) Most auto locksmiths will not service commercial pick-locks.

However, most residential locksmith services can handle commercial jobs when needed. This is mostly because the majority of auto locksmiths only carry residential pick-locks and equipment. Most do not have the knowledge or the time to work on commercial locks.

If you need a locksmith for a situation that doesn’t require a car lockout, then find a residential locksmith.


8) Residential locksmith services may be asked to make a key from a code, whereas an auto locksmith will sometimes need to disassemble and re-key a lock.

However, that depends on the type of keypad your lock uses. If it is a known brand, they may be able to service it without re-keying or disassembling it. A lock re-key can often be done quickly, and in many cases, the lock only needs to be disassembled and then replaced in order for the keypad to function properly.


9) You may need an auto locksmith for car key duplications, but you’ll probably only need a residential locksmith to create new keys from scratch.

Car key duplication is definitely one of the popular services that automotive locksmiths are known for. They can also handle all types of car key-related issues, including lost car keys. As the name suggests, a residential locksmith specializes in creating new house keys from scratch. They can not however duplicate your existing house key, but they’ll gladly make you a new one instead!


10) A residential locksmith can rekey or open your home, but they cannot legally duplicate keys.

Auto locksmiths are able to duplicate keys because the law states that car key duplication is not considered ‘theft’. The same rules do not apply to residential service companies. Residential service companies only handle the installation of the locks and the keys.

Their tools will be bigger and bulkier because they have to allow room for safes, doors, etc. because the locksmith needs to carry around his tools in order to keep up with all of the many different jobs that they are expected to do.


11) You might need a locksmith for your car, but you’ll probably only need a residential locksmith on a regular basis.

Residential locksmith services can handle a variety of jobs, including lock picking and key duplication. They carry a wide array of tools that all play a part in their daily tasks. For example, they may need to pick or drill the locks on your front door, garage door locks, and your mailbox to gain access inside them as well as make.



To recap: if you need help with your car, call an auto locksmith; if you need help with the door leading to and from your home (or business), call a residential locksmith.


Residential Locksmith Services:

Residential locksmiths can assist you with lockouts, installation or repair of security systems, rekeying your home’s locks after a break-in, as well as replacing lost house keys.


Auto Locksmith Services:

Auto locksmiths help people who find themselves locked out of their cars after locking their keys inside or losing them completely. They also offer emergency assistance for those whose car key has been stolen or lost. In some cases, they will even open your trunk if you forget your key inside it. When it comes down to cost and availability of service there is no comparison between the two.

Hiring a residential locksmith for an automotive job is best left alone. It’s much more expensive to hire them, and it can easily take longer than if you had called an auto locksmith instead. If you need help with your car lockout, call an auto locksmith first because they are usually available much faster than a residential locksmith.

The same goes for car key duplication and lost keys. Auto locksmiths can usually do it much cheaper and faster than your average residential locksmith service since it is one of the most common services an auto locksmith performs. To get back on the road as soon as possible, call an auto locksmith to help you with your car lockout situation.


If your home or car needs a professional service, contact us today!

We hope this post has helped you understand the differences between auto locksmith services and residential locksmith services.

If you are in need of a locksmith service, there are many different types to choose from. Auto Locksmith Services and Residential Locksmith Services both have their advantages and disadvantages that may be best suited for your needs. Whether it is something as simple as unlocking the door to your house or replacing automotive keys, our team can help with all of your locksmith needs. Give us a call today if you want more information about the differences between these two services!

Call King Locksmith for Residential or Auto Locksmith Service at (877) 285-0408!

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King Locksmith and Doors Inc. DC & Maryland