Locksmithing/rekeying issue


I have lived in my apartment for over a year and never had any problems with my lock.  I decided I should make a couple copies of my key just in case I ever lost it.  I went to the store and had two copies made.  When I returned to my apartment, neither copy would work.  For some reason the original key wouldn't work either.  So then I was locked out of my apartment with no working key.  Is that possible that while copying my key, the original was damaged to where it would no longer work? The key worked that day to lock the door, I went to a big box store and got the key copied, and then the original key wouldn't work when I returned.

Hello Tara,

The problem you have is that you didn't go to a locksmith.

Hardware stores, home centers & big box stores use automatic machines (most of them do) and the people that operate them are not locksmiths nor have been properly trained how to use them.  They can't properly identify a key to choose the right blank without looking in books for even the most simplest key blanks. They tend to be in a hurry and sometimes put the working key into the side of the machine for the blank, thus destroying the original key.

While this may not be the exact issue with your key, their machine may have damaged your key due to improper use or because of a lack of knowledge by the operator.

Another possibility is that your lock decided that it was time to stop working. It may be old, worn out or just junk - most apartment complexes use very cheap locks and they like to fail at the worst possible time.

Contact the apartment management to see if they have an additional key you could have and make sure it works. If it doesn't, your lock is likely done and it's time to replace it. If it does, take that key to a locksmith to have copies made. If your original works your copies should as well.

Big box stores and other stores that copy keys don't have a clue how to properly calibrate their key duplicators unless it's a actual locksmith. Locksmiths don't sell tires, lumber, clothing or food because we focus on only a few things with regard to locks and hardware so that we can be the best ones to fix problems made by people who aren't locksmiths but think they are.



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I do not answer Safe or automotive questions. Period. I am knowledgeable in almost every area of Locksmithing. This includes locks, keys, lost keys, residential and commercial lockouts, rekeying, masterkeying, high security locks, access control, electric locks, security cameras and home safety. I have been running an online business since 2004 where I sell all types of lock and security hardware to everyone from apartment renters to business owners to the US government. Before that I started a locksmith service in 1999. I deal with many types of security equipment including high security safe locks, heavy duty padlocks, exit devices, biometric readers, electric strikes, magnetic locks, full surface hinges and I only sell what I personally stand behind 100%. The online business has given me a more in-depth look at the locksmithing industry, helping me to learn more about each and every product that I offer, as well as products I don't have but end up finding for customers to solve any issues they have with security or door hardware.

Please don't submit any automotive or safe questions as these aren't areas that I can help in.


I have been Locksmithing since 1999 and own my own Locksmithing business. I have many years of hands-on experience through the many services I have performed for my customers. I've run my business the way I wanted, treating everyone as I would like to be treated and knowing that any customer could be my last if I didn't perform my locksmithing duties as I had promised.

I have a diploma in Masterkeying, Advanced Locksmithing & Locksmithing from Foley-Belsaw.

Past/Present Clients
US government, colleges, schools, city and state governments, large and small corporations, home owners.

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