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Locked up keys can ruin a day, be costly

Sun Advocate reporter

Reggie Valdez, Assistant Parts Manager at Price Auto Group helps a customer get a new key. The dealership can cut a new key for late model vehicles sold at their establishment with proof of ownership.

Finding the keys locked within a car on a steaming hot day is something that can really put a pinch in anyones day. However, local merchants in Carbon County are doing what they can to make the difficult situation a little easier to deal with.

"I can be anywhere locally in 15 minutes," said Johnny Diamanti, the owner of Johnny's Locksmithing in Helper. "I understand what a distressing situation locking your keys in your car can be.

Diamanti recommended that all vehicle owners get a second key made as a way of avoiding problems with a locked vehicle.

"I keep a second key hidden in my wallet," said Diamanti. "It is a great way to make sure you never need the services of a locksmith."

The local locksmith further advises that local motorists hide the key somewhere around the outside of the vehicle if they are unable to keep it in their wallet.

For those that find themselves in this precarious situation without a spare there are other options available before having to call a locksmith.

Price Auto Group has the ability to cut a key for anyone driving a vehicle that is sold at their franchise.

"I need proof of ownership from anyone seeking a key," said Reggie Valdez, assistant parts manager at the local car dealership. "With that and the vehicle identification number I can cut a key for most new Dodge, Ford, Jeep or Chrystler vehicles."

Valdez did caution that his dealership can only cut keys for late model vehicles, most from 1993 and newer.

"The cost is relatively low in comparison to a locksmith and we like to offer the service as part of our franchise reputation," explained Valdez.

For those looking to go for something even less expensive, some older cars can be opened with an old coat hanger according to, an Internet question and answer site.

Electronic keys are the rule in today's cars, not the exception.

They recommend the following five step process for freeing keys from a locked car without cost.

•Straighten out a wire hanger. Then bend one end of the hanger to form either a hook or a triangular handle.

•If the car is an older model, pry open a window by slipping a putty knife between the window and the door.

•Slip the bent wire hanger through the window opening.

•Maneuver the hanger down along the window. Attempt to either pull up the door lock or push the lock button, depending on the car's lock style.

•If the car is a newer model, a locksmith may be needed as the attempts to break in could cause permanent damage to the vehicle.

"You don't want to cause several hundred dollars worth of damage to your vehicle because you don't want to spend $40 on a locksmith," said Diamanti. "But if you do have an older car it may be worth a try, however, if your car has electronics make sure you try to unlock the car from the passenger side. All of the electronics are usually on the drivers side door." also warns that, for security purposes, most cars built after the mid-1980s are impervious to wire hangers and even the common slim jim, a long piece of metal used to unlock a locked door from the outside.

For those fortunate to have On-Star or another remote device, a cellular signal can be used to unlock the doors of a vehicle. However, the General Motors website warns that if the battery on the locked car is dead the cellular signal will not be effective.

While locking ones keys in the car can be a difficult mistake to handle, thanks to many local merchants, most of which were not mentioned but are available in the yellow pages, it is a mistake that can be quickly remedied.

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