Why Doesn't Your New, Freshly-Cut Key Work?

Posted on: 20 February 2020

Whatever the reason might have been for having a new key cut, you expect the thing to work. It shouldn't be so complicated to have an existing key duplicated, but what about when there was an issue with the duplication process? You're standing at your front door, attempting to unlock it, and your new key doesn't work. What would cause a problem like this? And does it mean that you're in fact locked out?

Duplication Error

The cause of the issue is likely to be a combination of human error and machine error. It might be that the duplicator machine's alignment bar was in need of calibration, meaning that the machine was unable to replicate the original key. This simple error could have been overcome by staff at your chosen key copier making sure that their equipment had been properly maintained. So while this is the likely explanation as to why your new key is not being accepted by your lock, this information is of little use when you're locked out. 

Keep Trying the Key

Your new key might be an imperfect copy, but it's still a copy, and so there's a chance that you might be able to make it work. Try jiggling the key in the lock, so that the notches cut into its shaft are able to engage with the lock's tumbler. You could also try altering the level of insertion, as in pulling the key slightly outwards from the keyhole as you turn it. If you're lucky, this will allow you to open the lock and get inside. 

Call for Assistance

If you're still locked out, you will need to contact a residential locksmith services provider who offers an immediate callout. The locksmith can let you inside, and they can generally make a new key, even without the original. Most residential door keys can be duplicated by taking an impression of the lock, although this service will not usually be necessary unless you don't have an additional key (meaning you're unable to lock the door when you go out again). If there is an additional key, you can simply have this duplicated, perhaps choosing a different provider than the one who made the problematic copy. You might want to test the new key while you have a working key handy, just to prevent a repeat of the problem.

Sometimes a duplication error can mean that a new key is a dud, which is why it's always a good idea to test a new key while the original key is still handy.

To learn more about keys that don't work, contact a locksmith offering residential locksmith services in your area.