Many Jacksonville home and vehicle owners can remember a time when a key for a mortise lock could be duplicated for under a quarter. With the high-security keys used in many home and vehicle locks today, that price seems to be long gone. Duplicating high-security keys can cost tens to hundreds of dollars. While high-security keys may look like ordinary keys, the technology within them makes them difficult to duplicate and requires advanced locksmithing tools and expertise.
Why Do Duplicate High-Security Keys Cost So Much?
High-security keys are designed to be difficult to copy without the proper equipment. That is why it costs so much to duplicate the key. Take, for example, automobile keys equipped with VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System), a system developed in the 1980s to stem the theft of Chevrolet Corvettes.
VATS-equipped keys have pellets in their blades that have a particular electric resistance value. If an improper key is inserted into a car’s ignition and the onboard computer reads the wrong code in the key, the computer shuts the ignition system down for four minutes.
On the locksmith’s end, the expense incurred for generating a key for one of these vehicles is partially due to the cost of the pellet equipped blanks, the electronic equipment needed for the key to communicate with the on-board computer.
The difficulty of originating a key comes not from obtaining the correct pellet blank, but from the interrogation of the computer. Even with the proper blank and equipment, a locksmith can spend two hours trying to determine the proper resistance of the key. Even when a locksmith has the right “decoder,” every time he “asks the wrong question,” the computer shuts the system down.
Why Making Duplicate Keys Is Worth the Money
Despite the frustrations inherent in duplicating keys, they offer good, difficult-to-compromise security for Jacksonville, FL home and vehicle owners. That’s why the extra costs associated with duplicating the keys are justifiable. For example, insurers often offer discounts for vehicles that are VATS-equipped, since the systems decrease the chance vehicles will be stolen.
It is also wise to keep a properly coded and cut duplicate VATS key as an alternative to having a locksmith make new keys from scratch, which can cost upwards of three hundred dollars.
Though security can be expensive, having a backup system, including duplicate high-security keys, is a money saver. Let us know how we can help you by contacting Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville at 904-354-8566.