Locksmith group offers key duplication, programming
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 11:36

Event to be held this Sunday at flea market

by Ben Boehl

    There was a time if a person happened to lock their keys in the car, they could simply use a slim jim (the tool, not the beef jerky stick) to open the door.
    Times have changed. Actually, cars have changed.
    Instead of unlocking a car with a key, most vehicle doors are unlocked by remote control. But what happens if that remote key is lost or unusable?
    The Maryland Locksmith Association (MLA) will address questions like that at an all-day demonstration on Sunday, July 21 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Point Plaza Flea Market, 2401 North Point Blvd.
    Phil Resch, president of the MLA, said that today’s vehicles are more complex than those of previous generations, with remote and transponder keys. Replacing those sophisticated keys with chips can costs hundreds of dollars, he noted.
    “Cars are completely different animals. You can say they are ‘smart cars,’” Resch said about today’s car keys — which include chips and are read by computers.
    The MLA will have its Live Learning Lab at the flea market on July 21, and consumers will be offered the chance to purchase keys, remotes and transponder keys and have them duplicated and programmed for free. 
    Stuart’s Keys, located inside the flea market, will have licensed, experienced locksmiths and manufacturers’ representatives inside, where the MLA said all keys, remotes and transponder keys will be handled that day. 

Resch said the event was possible because Baltimore is hosting the Associated Locksmiths of America Convention.
    With all those locksmiths in town, he said, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back to the community.
    “This is a good way to wrap up the Baltimore show. We are doing this for the first time,” Resch noted.
    “Our customers can purchase the keys, and our programmers are going to test their equipment.”
    Resch estimated that the average key costs between $50 to $80.
    He said a chip key can cost over $100 and chip keys with a remote can cost between $200 and $300.    
    Resch admitted that keys and remotes can be purchased for a lower price on the Internet, but said there are risks as to quality and accuracy with those deals.
    On the other hand, he said, the rates at the MLA event are at a discount compared to going to a dealer — which he estimated would cost twice as much.
    “You have to take a laptop to gain access to a car’s computer,” Resch explained on why chip keys and remotes are so expensive.
    Vehicle owners interested in participating are asked to register themselves and their vehicle by calling 301-345-2272.
    Resch said that driver’s license and registration are required for identification purposes.
    Vehicle owners are also asked to bring all existing keys, remotes and transponder keys.
    “It’s important for them to bring as many keys as possible,” Resch said. “If people have vehicles with no keys, we are limited on what we can do.”