Duplicate Your High Security Keys is a Good Idea

Duplicate Your High Security Keys is a Good Idea

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 904-246-4590.

Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe From Burglary

Whether or not we’re home, we all want that peace of mind that everything is all right. Here are some helpful tips on being vigilant:

  • Use the locks on all doors and windows.
  • Make sure that your security systems are working and that they have batteries and that installed light bulbs are working.
  • Be cautious of who you give your keys to, since keys can be easily copied.
  • Don’t leave a  spare key outside your home. Instead, give it to a neighbor.
  • Don’t publicize your vacations (your absence from your home!) on social media.
  • Don’t advertise valuables- break up packaging for expensive new gear before throwing it into the trash or recycling.
  • Take a look at your house from the outside and put yourself in the shoes of the thief: What can you see that you’d like the steal?
  • Don’t let your mail pile up in your mailbox or the front of the house while away on vacation. Plan for a neighbor or friend to collect it for you.
  • Store valuables, such as money and jewelery, in a locked safe.
  • Mark valuable items inside with an engraver or ultra-violet pen. In case they’re stolen, they could be returned to you.

Myths and Facts About DO NOT DUPLICATE Keys


Key Control: Myths and Facts About DO NOT DUPLICATE Keys

Unauthorized key duplication is one of the most violated security procedures in business.  Most people seeking to copy a key meet little resistance getting duplicate keys cut.  The fact is that nearly any standard key can, and will be duplicated with no questions asked regardless of any stamping on the key.  Stamping such as “Do Not Duplicate” or “Restricted”, etc is not only often ignored but the key cutter may take it as a personal challenge and reply ‘Oh I can duplicate that’!


One source cites that nearly 40% of non-forced entry break-ins are a direct result of an unauthorized duplicate key (Assa Abloy 2011).  These unauthorized keys can then be associated with billions of dollars of loss to business a year!

If you provide security and life safety services here are some things you should know to help your clients understand their total security picture when it comes to key duplication:

Myth: Keys stamped “Do Not Duplicate” are protected by law.

Fact:   Most keys that are stamped “Do Not Duplicate” do little more than discourage key cutters from duplicating keys.  There is typically little or no legal connection or consequence.  Companies offering restricted keys mean that locksmiths or key cutters are not allowed to duplicate them.

Myth: Most companies offer “Restricted” keys.

Fact:   This term really only refers to that company’s distribution policy on the key and has nothing to do with duplication rights.  Most restricted keys are easily duplicated.

Myth:  Keys for all “high-security cylinders” are protected from unauthorized duplication.  Only the key blank can be protected from unauthorized manufacturing, and then only if the key blank itself is patented.

Fact:   Purchasers of “high-security” keys and cylinders should ask to see proof of patent on the key blank and not the cylinder that it operates.

Myth: Most key cutters will ask questions about your key and will normally comply with any warning or request not to duplicate that key.

Fact:   Only professional locksmiths will honor such requests if they are familiar with the manufacturer.  Non-professional key cutters such as hardware stores, shops or mall vendors will usually duplicate any key if the key blank is available to them.

Call Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville at  904-246-4590 for your commercial locksmith needs including master keying, re-keying and true high security and restricted key control systems.  We are America’s Most Trusted Locksmiths.