The Guide to Duplicating Keys

Assorted New Keys

It’s common knowledge that locksmiths can duplicate keys for anyone! Not just for anyone, but to anything as well. The question is, what type of keys may be off-limits, and what are the exact keys that are able to be duplicated?

Good question. The answer is that it depends.

Can You Duplicate a key that says, “Do Not Duplicate?

The answer depends! Keys that consist of “Do Not Duplicate” on them are placed there by lock and key manufacturers to avoid illegal duplication. Most locksmiths require authorization from the key manufacturer before duplicating. Some locksmiths will completely avoid keys marked as such since it can cause a security problem.

As mentioned earlier, locksmiths can duplicate keys that go to just about anything. Below are the keys that locksmiths can help you with.

Keys that can’t be duplicated

Keys with Electronic Elements

Keys that have electronic components inside them cannot be duplicated. For example, some car manufacturers have keys that come with a lock/unlock capability built into the actual key that opens the car door. In this case, locksmiths are not able to be of service. A unique key of that nature requires the actual dealership/car company to supply you with another copy.

Lock Problem? Is the Problem Really Your Lock?

Door Lock

In the vast majority of cases where you think you might have a lock problem, the real culprit reason for the problem lies elsewhere, and statistically more than 80% of the time it has nothing whatsoever to do with the lock itself. Listed below are some of the most common causes of problems that appear to be lock issues, but which are actually attributable to other reasons entirely.


Loose hinges can cause a great many problems, and if they happen to be poorly mounted in the first place, hinges can cause even greater problems. For instance, if the hinges are not securely mounted and the door is not properly positioned, the door may sag, thereby severely interfering with the necessary alignment between lock and strikes. The most obvious giveaway for this condition is in checking the gap between the jamb and the door, and finding that the gap is not uniform between top and bottom. This almost always means the door will not be situated right, and lock problems will be the likely result.


Even if the door has been installed and hung properly, problems can result if the strike was carelessly or improperly installed, because, for proper functioning, bolts and latches need to be centered with their respective strikes. The entry lock latch must have its strike positioned in such a manner that the deadlatch plunger cannot fall into the opening for the strike, and the strike itself should be installed with screws at least three inches long so that the strike is well anchored into the framing behind the door jamb.



The internal pins on a lock have been ideally matched with their keys to ensure smooth functionality, and if you lose the original key which was 100% compatible, the replacement key may not be quite so ideally matched. Even a minor variation can have a huge impact on key operation, causing it to become completely unworkable. Even worse, sometimes it becomes necessary to make duplicates from duplicates, and in such cases, any small variation can get magnified into an even larger incompatibility, and more ‘lock’ problems may develop.

What to do

Lock problems are not generally repairable by do-it-yourself-er types, even if they aren’t truly problems with the lock. When any of these kinds of problems develop, your best recourse is almost always to contact your local expert locksmith and have the problem professionally resolved. In many of those cases, the best option will involve re-keying the lock itself, and preparing an entirely new set of keys to match that new lock. Your residential locksmith will have the knowledge, the skills, and the high-quality products on hand to expertly handle your lock crisis and solve your access problems in the fastest and most effective manner possible.

Children, Keys, and Door Locks

children and keys

With the necessities of modern living, specifically those which have children off to school and parents off to work, and all arriving home at different times, a strong potential for home security risk comes into play. In order for schoolchildren to gain access to the home while parents are still at work, they must of course have house keys, and this fact makes the home a good bit more vulnerable to possible security breaches.

Children and keys

Far more often than their parents, children have a tendency to misplace keys or to leave them in places where they can be picked up or stolen. Even when carrying keys around normally (such as at the end of a lanyard, or dangling from a book bag), children often lack the presence of mind to understand that visible keys represent a significant security risk.

Children may even invite friends over when parents are away, and unintentionally reveal a key’s normal hiding place to friends. The bottom line on children with keys is that they are generally not as mindful as are adults about the significance of keeping keys secure and hidden, and what the consequences might be if someone else gained possession of house keys.

What you can do

There are several ways to mitigate the vulnerability which might otherwise occur when children need to use house keys for their normal daily routine. The following suggestions have proven effective for many households, and some of them may be effective for your family as well.

  • Single entry point – If possible, establish a single door of entry for children, so that it’s the only one they go in and out of while you’re still at work.
  • Electric keypad deadbolt – An electric keypad deadbolt can be installed with codes that can be programmed specifically for children in the household. The advantage of this strategy is that codes can be programmed very easily, and they can be changed frequently to keep things more secure.
  • Security camera – You can also have a security camera installed which is trained on points of entry so that you know who’s coming home with your children. This can be configured so that you can monitor it on your smartphone, and since you know the time your children will be coming home, it will be fairly easy to just take a look at that specific time.
  • Texting/calling about problems – If the children forget the code because it’s been changed, have an arrangement where they can quickly call or text you to find out what the new code is, without you having to leave work.

Where to go for home security needs

To purchase any of the security equipment described above, contact your local residential locksmith to discuss your specific needs. There you’ll be able to find high-quality security devices and good advice, to help keep your home as secure as possible, even if you have school-age children to contend with.