Car Ignition Lock won’t turn What to do

In the good old days, car parts lasted forever. We see classic cars from the 70’s and 80’s and they still have the original locks fitted. Even when the keys get lost for these old cars, we can strip them down and make keys for them. However, over the last few years, we,ve seen a rrise in the number of customers calling us because their ignition lock won’t turn.  Sometimes they have had all the warning signs of it getting sticky, or needing to wiggle the key. Other times, they have had no warning. It’s common on Peugeot and Citroen cars that you’ll try it one day, and the ignition lock won’t turn, whatever you do. So why is this? More importantly, what can you do about it?

In this article, we’ll give you a few common examples, is your car at risk? Then how to look out for any warning signs and lastly the best thing to do when your ignition lock won’t turn.

Common makes and models  that suffer from ‘ignition lock won’t turn’ problems

Citroen and Peugeot

Already mentioned is your Peugeot and Citroen range of cars that use a high security key. This is every Citroen and Peugeot made after 2006 except the Peugeot 206. This type of key has a key blade with a groove machined along the length of the key, as shown below in this very sorry looking key.

ignition lock won't turn

The groove is a wavy line, cut in the key and suited to your particular lock. On the Citroen and Peugeot range, there is very little wear happens to the blade.  Unlike Ford, and Fiat, the key blade will often still have clear and crisp lines. Therefore, all the wear happens inside the ignition lock and suddenly, the ignition lock won’t turn and you’re stuck somewhere.


Ford Custom and Transit ignition lock won’t turn.

We believe this is a big problem that’s about to get very common. On Ford keys, the blades wear muck quicker than on the Citroen and Peugeot example. Therefore, if you look at the state of your key, or get an expert to check it, you’ll know in advance. Below is a good example of a worn Ford Custom key.

The keyblade has a ‘shadow’ of the original shape and more commonly this happens where there is a high point along the key. This is shown with the black arrow in the photo. This is an actual key that stopped turning. A new key blade, cut to the original shape cured the fault, You can read more in depth by clicking here.

Ford Fiesta

This is the most extreme example of worn key blades causing problems, and we only see it on the Fiesta model.

This photo clearly shows how the edge of the blade becomes tapered and this will cause the problem where the ignition lock won’t turn. This is simply because the metal of the key is not moving the lock levers into the correct place! To read more about this problem, click here.

Renault and Vauxhall

So these two brands are in bed as far as the vans are involved. Between them, they’ve designed and produced the poorest quality ignition lock we have ever seen. We’ve been replacing these often and unlike Ford (where these are readily avaiable) Renault and Vauxhall are making the whole thing as difficult as possible.

Inferior Component Design is where it starts, with a key that is often the same shape as a sawblade

This design of blade damages the insides of the ignition everytime it slides in and out. It won’t do it on every van, but where there’s a sharp gradient of the groove (a zig-Zag left and right) then troubles coming. The symptoms are that the ignition lock starts to catch, or become difficult to even slide in and out of the lock ( let alone turn in the lock). If you leave it past this point and still try and use the van, you’ll soon find that the ignition lock won’t turn.

To read more about the Renault and Vauxhall problem, click here.


Whilst I’m sure the Fiat design team hadn’t meant for the locks to have a similar consistancey as cheese, that’s what they feel like some of the time. Maybe the metal is softer, maybe the design is all wrong, I’m not sure. But what we see are Fiat owners that struggle with keys that just won’t turn anymore. The keys wear very badly and when the lock is forced, it gets damage inside.

Vauxhall Astra H

Another case of keys and locks wearing in equal measure. Watch out for these becoming difficult to turn. Once these lock in place they can be tricky to get turned.

General Warning signs that the ignition lock won’t turn soon.

It’s the same as the dentist. When you bite hard into a crusty loaf an you getthat first twinge of pain from a tooth, you know you need the dentist. If you’re like me, you probably don’t make the appointment, hoping it will just be a one-off. Then it happens again and again. At this point, if you get it looked at, it’s going to be easier, quicker and cheaper to fix.

The warning signs for a fauty ignition lock are clear. It catches when trying to turn, or will only turn when you jiggle the key up and down. You know deep down that it’s not right. The reason you have to jiggle the key is that you’re moving the insides of the lock up and down so that it all lines up. You can only do this so much and eventually that trick won’t work anymore.

Get it fixed while it still turns

Think of it like when you’re running low on fuel. No-one would dream of running the car so long that the fuel runs out completely and you break down. For a start, there’s the inconvenience. You’d be stuck in the middle of nowhere, possibley miles from home. Next, you’d have get to a garage to buy fuel and then get back to the car. Lastly and more importantly, with modern cars, if you run out of duel, you’re in big trouble. Especially with with diesel cars, the fuel takes a long time to make its way through the system and sometimes this needs to be done by a specialist. Just ask any garage that’s changed the fuel filter on a 2008 Mondeo! What a nightmare it is to get it running again!

So by leaving the problem ( the shortage of fuel) until it’s too late, you create so many problems for yourself. The same is true for locks and keys. To change most modern ignitions, you have to be able tou turn the lock to the on position. Once you do this, then a button can be pressed that allows the lock to be removed. So what happens when the lock can’t be turned? Well simply put, the lock cannot be replaced easily. Maybe it can be drilled out, or more likely the garage will also replace the lockhousing ( the thing that holds teh lock in place). If this is the case, it means extra cost for you and extra labour you’ll need to pay for, simply because the problem has gone on too long. Just like running out of fuel, a simple routine job has become so complicated and expensive.

What to do, when the ignition lock won’t turn

Ok, so if you’ve got to that point where it is truly stuck, there are a couple of simple things that may buy you some time. they are not a total fix because let’s face it, the lock is on it’s way out.

Firstly a key cut to code may work. What does this mean? When the car was new, the keys had no wear at all, and the lines were crisp and sharp. As the keys, the original shape wears away and problems begin. If you get a key copied from your old worn key, you end up with a new, but worn key. The shape is not good enough to copy from and so the new key will not be the cottect shape.

However, if you get a key cut to code, this means it is cut by a computer controlled machine that knows the original shape and can reproduce a key, like new. This means there is the correct amount of metal on the key and that it will move the insides of the lock to the correct place for the lock to work.

Who can cut a key to code?

There are two sources for new keys cut to code. Firstly the dealer can supply these ( there may be a long wait and you will need the original key number). Or, you can find a high quality Auto Locksmith or key cutting shop that has invested money, in high quality key cutting machines. These will be able to decode your worn key and the work out the original shape of your key. Once it knows this, it will be able to cut a fresh new key while you wait.



Vauxhall Corsa C 2001-2006-HOW TO Change Key Battery

If you need simple instructions on how to change the key battery on a Vauxhall Corsa C, read on. We have Made a YouTube video which we’ve linked below. We’ve also put the video transcript below in case you need it.

Vauxhall Corsa C key batteries are very easy to change, although initially getting the key remote away from the key blade horseshoe can ge tricky. Just follow the instructions and try not to damage the back of the key too much. Also, we see lot’s of keys that are brought to us and the owners want a new battery. However what they really need is a new cover and a couple of new electronic switches. These get damaged on the Vauxhall Corsa C key, normally because of long fingernails.

Vauxhall Corsa C

Click here to see how to repair the key.

Looking for information on common problems with Vauxhall Cosa C car keys? Click here

Vauxhall Corsa C YouTube transcript

Okay so today we’ve got a key from a Vauxhall Corsa C. Okay, two buttons. This part here is remote and it slides away from this here which is the key. And a little bit tight to get apart. You just need a screwdriver back here. Give it a bit of a twist, okay. And give it a pull. All right and you can see there where you have to press this in to get it past this little lip there, okay?

When that’s done, take the remote and the halves separate. So all you do is put your screwdriver under these two tabs. And then the front will just simply come off nice and easy. And then you have got a 2032. You need to be able to see the writing when you put it back, so just prop it underneath. And it comes really easy. The only thing to do is to check is these here are quite fragile and can get damaged. So just watch out for these connectors.

Vauxhall Corsa C Put key back together

When you put it back together, make sure you can read the writing, okay again? Otherwise the battery’s on the wrong way up. Okay, so to make sure this goes back the right way, you need to make sure these connectors here are lined up with these gold parts here. And you got two tabs there that locate. You got one this side that just presses down. And just make sure you can feel the click in, which should be fine.

Okay so then to put it back together, you’ve got some little grooves in here, and they line up with the pieces here. So that the remotes slides in. And when it’s close, you can just give it a squeeze. And that’s that. Easy peasy. So with the two button Vauxhall Corsa C key, you are good to go.

Toyota remote key – Broken key and battery change

Toyota cars are high quality. We’ve had two. One was a 1987 Corolla, the other a 1995 Carina. We ran them til the should have dropped, but they wouldn’t give up. This makes the following really hard for me to say, because we loved those cars. Toyota have a car key problem. Toyota remote key problems let down this epic brand. Read our earlier article here

Toyota remote key

It seems like it’s just a loose screw at first, because the battery case cover becomes loose and the blade wobbly. Fast forward and the case will need replacing. They come into us taped up and in a really shabby state. The one below is particlarly impressive!

So when you have a Toyota remote key problem, sort it out earlier, rather than later. If the key falls apart and the insides get lost, your car will not start, so don’t leave it too late.

However, if your key is in good condition and you just want to change the key battery, then read on.

Toyota Remote key – How to change key battery

Below is the transcript of our YT video. The video is at the foot of the page . We hope it helps you.

Okay. So today we’re gonna show you how to change the key battery on a Toyota key. This one’s obviously brand new, we’ve not cut this but we thought we’d show you while we had it in stock. Okay, really simple let’s change this to be fair.

You got one little screw, this screw is so small that if you don’t get the right screw driver, you can damage it. So, just be careful you don’t strip the head out. They’re really easy to damage and then it becomes a bit of a problem.

So, that should be all done. Then, we need to take the cover off. When you pull it, it feels like you’re gonna break it sometimes, but you won’t and that’s because of this tab here.

But, okay put that to one side. Okay, then that leaves us with the back cover off. So we need to get this part out, so just push it from this side, pop the key out the way. Okay, so there’s two types.

Toyota Remote key tiny screws!

This one has got some screws, one screw there, and one screw there. So this is one of the types. We’ll show you the other one when we can find one with it. Okay, so it’s really important that you get the correct size screw driver for these screws, otherwise again,  you’ll round out the screws.

This is quite a long one, but it fits in so I favor it, see? If you just push it in nice and easy. That’s one and, the other one just nice and slow, lots of pressure on the screw so you don’t round it off. That’s both screws undone.

Toyota remote key  battery change

And this cover comes off. You’ve got a little rubber gasket there as well that needs to go back. Keep the water out. And, you have a CR1616. Just pop that out by, it comes out there. Come out, there we go. And it leaves you with that.

Okay, so we’re gonna put it back together, slide it underneath. Next is to get the gasket on there properly to keep the water out. And then the cover. Okay, just make sure that fits down properly. Then we need some screws, nice and easy, that’s it, that’s one.

Then, we need a little bit more. One screw. Okay, oh that’s so small, look. Look how small there. Could you make these any smaller Toyota, please. They are annoying.

And so, you shouldn’t have too much of a gap around here, otherwise it won’t go back in. There we go, that’s all good. Put the back on, and this little screw again, just be careful when you do that so you don’t round off. And there you go. So with a two button Toyota key, you’re good to go.

New Shape Vauxhall Movano Lock Problem Buyers guide

If you’re thinking about buying, or already have the new shape Vauxhall Movano, then this is for you. We’ve written this because every week we take calls about the newer shape Vauxhall Movano lock problem. We believe you should know the fault so you can look out for it. At its worst, you’re either locked out, or can’t drive so van, so it’s important you read on!

The root of the Vauxhall Movano lock problem is Inferior Component Design. Although it’s similar to other new high security locks, the design of the key groove is causing a  problem. The groove is there to make the tumblers inside the lock move up and down into place. It’s pretty clever how it works really. Unfortunately, the designers are asking too much of these tumblers, and the key is also at fault. Once you understand the problem, it’s really obvious to see,  so here’s a photo to help.


Vauxhall Movano lock problem

The way the groove moves left and right along the key is really important. If the groove changes direction gradually, then it slides in and out of the lock easily. The key at the top of the photo is from a Fiat.  The groove is smooth and changes direction slightly along the length of the key. However, the key at the bottom of the photo is used on the new shape Vauxhall Movano. The change in direction of the groove is too severe, moving sharply from left to right. We believe this is the cause of the Vauxhall Movano lock problem.

Vauxhall Movano Lock Problem Sawtooth Keyblade

When you design a saw, you want the teeth to be sharp and regularly spaced, so each tooth can damage the wood and cut through it. We think this is similar to the Movano key below.

Vauxhall Movano lock problem

As you can see, the key blade groove moves up and down very sharply and unfortuanately it acts like a saw blade. Every time it moves in and out of the lock, the pointed ends of the ‘teeth’ scrape away at the lock internals. Along with this, as the lock ages, the tumblers inside thelock that moved easily when new, start to get jammed. This means the key struggles to move in and out of the lock freely.

You’re Making the Vauxhall Movano Lock problem worse!

When the key is hard to get into the lock, the natural thing is to force it in, we all do it. Unfortunatley, this causes more damage to both the lock and the key. At its worse, the key struggles just to get into the lock, let alone turn it on to start! At this point, the only answer is a new lock and key.

Waiting days and days for a new lock!

The next real problem is that Vauxhall and Renault have become unhelpful when you need to order lock parts and keys for vehicles. I understand that when you order a key, there should be some security check, in case it’s being ordered to steal a van. However, I just cannot understand how this applies to locks. No-one ever tried to steal a van with a new ignition lock, it’s just gone silly. The knock-on for you, as an owner, is that when you really need a new lock, there are a few hoops to jump through first.

New shape Vauxhall Movano lock problem – How to get moving again

So to get back up and running you need a plan, and as far as we’re concerned, there are two choices. This is based on using new parts from the dealer. If however you choose to buy a second hand ignition or door lock, good luck. With a new lock you should get 5 years wear under normal use, but if you’re getting a used part, you have no idea how much that has been used before. So.

Vauxhall Movano lock problem – Solution One

You order a new ignition,  to the chassis number of your van. The good thing is that when it arrives from france, it will have the same profile of you current key. This means that the new blade that comes with it will also fit your door lock.

The downside is that to order it, you need to show the dealers three forms of identification. These are normally the V5, driving license and a utility bill. All three need to be in the same name and address. This can be a problem if you have a fleet of vans and they have the comany address on the V5. if this is the case you may  need to add a covering letter. It all depends on the relationship you have with the local Vauxhall dealer, and how helpful they are

Feeling like the dealers are generally unhelpful? Click here to understand why they may struggle to help you.

The lock normally arrives in 7-10 days, which can be a big problem if you rely on your van. Lastly, you need to remove the faulty ignition from the van and this can prove a problem. The lock has a security pin that engages in a hole within the lock housing. You can only depress the pin, when the lock is turned, and this makes sense. It stops someone removing the lock by force.  However, the problem comes when you have to replace a faulty lock. If you can’t turn the lock, then you can’t put the key into the correct position so the in can be pressed in. This means, the lock can’t be removed easily. A grinder, or a dremel is needed and it all gets a bit messy.

Vauxhall Movano lock problem – Solution Two

This is quicker and easier for you, but there are a few problems that come with it. In the olden days, the quickest way to sort out a Vauxhall Movano lock problem was to replace all the locks! Just buy a bag of new locks to a random shape key, fit the ignition and off you go. If you were really professional, you’d get the door locks fitted too. However, you can’t do this anymore. You have to order each lock, individually, to a random key code. This meansd that instead of picking up a back of matching locks, you need to order each lock to a random code. This still takes 7-10 days! So we have another answer.

The best answer if you need a fast solution, is to use an independant Auto Locksmith. A good Auto Locksmiths will keep a brand new lock in stock, and will hopefully be able to fit it within 24 hours! The problem with this will be that the door lock will have a different key to the ignition lock. However, this trade off may mean that instead of having your van off the road for 2-3 weeks, you’l be up and running quickly.

Have questions about this problem? Just comment below and we hope this helps.




Expensive Car keys to watch out for

Rusty, smoky or stuck, are the three reasons that cars used to end up in the scrapyard. Normally the bodywork would be patches, on patches, seal welded upon seal. Or driving would be like being part of the Red Arrows, with a stream of white smoke as part of the display. Maybe your scrapper was due to the gearbox, which meant it was going nowhere, stuck on your driveway? I can’t imagine anyone would believe a car could be scrapped because of expensive car keys. However, I believe we’ll be seeing this within the next five years. Perfectly good cars will be consigned the scrap heap, because of expensive car keys.

To explain what I mean, here are a few cars that are at risk of scrappage due to expensive car keys. Check they come with two keys before you buy.

Peugeot 108 Citroen C1 Toyota Aygo Proximity Key 2014 –

Expensive car keys

This little car will be the bread and butter first car for learner drivers all around the UK. They are cheap, small to manoeuvre and park. The predecessor has proved to be a massive hit (despite terrible keys and locks). Therefore, it makes sense that this car will follow suite. However, there is a version of this car that we believe should be avoided, simply due to expensive car keys.

There is a version of the car that has a smart key, one that you can simply put into your pocket. It’s a nice idea and one that is now common place on new Ford cars (we don’t like then, find out why). This week we were asked to organise a spare key for a second-hand car, recently sold. Once we priced it up, we knew you should know about it.

Expensive car keys £500 bill

For a start, just to buy the special proximity remote is £320 plus vat. In real money that’s £384. Next, the key needs to have an emergency blade, that must be cut to the lock. Lastly, the new key needs to be coded to the car. Whoever programmes this key will need to have spent alot of money on expensive equipment, as the software isn’t available commercially to independents like ourselves. This means it needs the dealer tool and most probably a trip to the appropriate dealer.

This key will end up costing around £500. While the car is worth £10,000, then it can get lost in the price of the car when it’s sold. However, think about a few years on. When this car is sitting on a car sales forecourt at £2500, then a £500 will be unacceptable. Once the car is only worth £1000, then who’s going to spend out to replace a lost car key? Unnecessary and out of place on this small run-around, just bad design. Look out for this car in the future, being scrapped for expensive car keys.

Need to change the key battery?






Nissan Proximity Key damage from changing key battery

Imagine it’s Christmas Day. You’ve done it all right. There are batteries for every present, you just need to put the batteries in! What could go wrong? Next, you open up the battery compartment and in doing so break it, so it can’t be used.  You’d be upset, your child would be mad at you and the shops would be shut. Basically you’d be screwed. Welcome to the world of the Nissan Proximity key damage. If you have one and are thinking about changing the key battery, read on.

Nissan Proximity Key damage

This week in our shop we had our first Nissan casualty due to Inferior component design. The customer had a warning on the dashboard that the key battery was low, so decided to change it (how hard can it be?). It turns out, harder than he expected and as he opened up the Nissan Proximity key, he wrecked it.

Nissan Proximity Key damage caused by bad battery change

If you watch the video below, you’ll see how the damage happened and how you can prevent it. We believe that the Nissan Proximity key damage has been caused by poor design (Inferior component design). Over thirty years ago, I worked at IBM Computers in Havant UK, making Flexi Circuits for computers. The delicate chips were protected against damage, being covered in a liquid resin material. When it dried, it protected the delicate components from damage and was important to the life of the product.

Nissan Proximity Key damage

This photo shows the encapsulation process, with the resin poured over and then cured in an oven. In our opinion, this is what they needed to do with the Nissan proximity key.

Nissan Proximity Key damage

To open the key, a screwdriver is inserted into a small gap and the case can be opened up. However, if too much force is applied and the screwdriver slips, it can scrape along the electronic circuit board. This photo shows the comparison between before and after.

Nissan Proximity Key damage

Had it been encapsulated, as the circuits were at IBM were,  the key would have survived. Instead, this expensive, poorly designed key was wrecked. Our customer was able, clever and should have been very capable of changing the key battery, so take care when you change yours. We hope this video helps.


Mitsubishi L200 key HOW TO Change Battery

Stop! If we had a list of car key disasters, then this key would be on it. So, before you undo the screw and open Pandora’s box, read on. There is a problem with changing the key battery on a Mitsubishi L200 key and it’s leaving motorists stranded!

As you probably know, within the key is a small electronic chip. It’s nothing to do with the buttons on the key, but its sole job is to let your car start. Now, every car key has a chip these days, and normally it’s carefully tucked away, protected from every day wear and tear. Then you have the Mitsubishi L200 key, a perfect example of Inferior component design. The chip is attached to the battery key case cover. It’s just stuck with some glue.

Mitsubishi L200 key


When these keys get old, the cover cracks around the screw and the key opens up. This is when the chip can get lost. Over time, when the key is dropped and the chip comes away from the battery cover. Then, when the cover comes away from the key, the chip gets lost (and the customer is stranded). So, take care when opening the key battery cover that the chip stays in place. If the chip falls out of the key, you may discard it as a piece of old plastic and then you will have a Mitsubishi L200 key that’s as much use as a block of cheese.

The worst part is that when the chip does get lost, the dealer only has one option, a whole new key! Fortunately, independents can source individual chips and replace them for you. These will need coding up to start the car, but there will be a big saving on a whole new key.

So, with all that in mind, below is the transcript of our YouTube video, and we hope it helps you.

Mitsubishi L200 key YouTube Transcript

Okay, today we’re looking at a Mitsubishi key. It’s a two-button key, lock and unlock, and these are found on lots of the modern vehicles. To change the battery, there’s a screw here, undo that screw and then just pull the back off. Inside here is the remote-control pod. Then we push on there, and this will all come out together. This goes back into the key, we’ll do that in a minute, and here is the pod with the two buttons on. If you look at these three buttons, just here is a place where you can put a screwdriver, undo that there, and there is your battery. Just pop the battery out using the screwdriver. It is a CR1616, so to pop it back together, put your battery in and make sure it works.

Then this here, you pop these back here, just be careful of this bit here doesn’t break, because a lot of these break and then they don’t stay in.

Mitsubishi L200 key

This here goes into here, and then you have the cover to put back on. This here is the electronic chip that starts the car, and it’s just held on here by glue, it’s very bad design really, so just watch out that that’s still there. Then pop that there, close it up, and with my fat fingers do the screw up. That’s it. Nice and easy.

Land Rover Proximity Key – HOW To Change Battery

The Land Rover proximity key, is similar to the Jaguar keys. However, unlike the Jaguar keys that have plastic covers that just peel away, these keys seem to be good. We don’t see many at our shop, and when we do, it’s just to change the key battery. This is easy when you know how, you just need to be careful and don’t rush. Remember, as Jocko, the Us Navy Seal Commander once said, ‘Slow is smooth and smooth is Fast’. If you rush it, you’ll break something.

You won’t need anything special in the way of tools, we use just a small screwdriver. If you prefer to watch rather than read, there is a video at the end of this piece.

Land Rover Proximity Key YouTube Transcript

We have the new Land Rover proximity key, it’s quite easy to change the battery on these. First of all, you need to get this chrome cover off.

Land Rover Proximity Key

So push it from this end, and that just pops off. And here is the emergency key. So the emergency key, you just pop that out, that’s what you use if you need to open the door. It unfolds and there you go, and you just use it like that in the lock. Then this leaves you with the remote.

So the key case splits down this line.

Land Rover Proximity Key

The two halves of the key come apart in two. You need to get something just inside, in between here, to open it up. So you just need to be a bit careful. Pop the screwdriver. It’s a little bit tricky. And then once you’ve got a bit of a gap, just carefully open that up.

Land Rover Proximity Key

There’s your key battery and you can see there that is a Maxell 2032.

Land Rover Proximity Key

Just carefully pop that out and pop a new one in. Okay. So then we go on and just pop the cover back on. Just make sure that that gap is fully closed. Pop your blade back in. So the last thing you need to do is to put this on, slide it down. If it doesn’t go on, just … It only goes on one way, so just try it the other way. And there you go. That’s with a five button proximity key, and you are good to go.

Ford Custom key repair HOW TO

Why are these keys such bad quality? If you’re reading this, you probably have a Ford Custom Key with buttons that have stopped working, and possibly a wobbly key blade on top. It’s not good, and we see broken Ford Custom keys every week, at our key repair shop in Lincoln.

Ford Custom key

It all depends on how well the keys are looked after. If it’s your own personal van and you’re the only driver, the keys will probably last a long time (well more than 3 years). However, if your drive a company van, that’s shared with many drivers, there’s a good chance that the keys will be ruined after 3-4 years, they’re just not up to the job. What we have is another example of Inferior Component design and Inferior component manufacture.

So, we decided to see what the problem was and, how to fix it, to save the need for a new key.  The good thing is we’ve made an improvement on the original (which, let’s face it, didn’t take much effort). There are two main problems that we’ll look at. If you’d prefer to watch, rather than read, there’s also a YouTube video at the end of the post.

Problem One Ford Custom key buttons stop working.

This problem could so easily have been prevented, with a little forethought. The battery inside the key is rechargeable, much like the one on the MK7 Transit. It’s supposed to make it tough and hardwearing, a sealed unit, so you can drop it into water etc, and it still works. The reality is that it’s not the water you need to worry about. Just the drop is enough to kill the buttons dead. A rechargeable battery is held on by two thin legs, nothing else. Unlike the Freelander key battery, that has a sturdy plastic support frame, (and these still break!) the Ford Custom key buttons stop doing anything, simply because the battery legs break. No battery power, no worky.

Problem Two Ford Custom key blade is wobbly and loose

This second problem starts off as irritating and then eventually the key blade drops out and gets lost. The design of the flip blade arrangement in most modern car keys is not good enough. Designers are getting paid good money to ship a far below average product. When you add in the cheap manufacture, you end up with a Ford Custom key blade that just dangles off the end of the key, or won’t flip out when you need it. All this after just 3 years.

Ford Custom Key Buttons that stop working and How To fix them

So, you need a few a pair of circlip pliers, these are our best friends. If you squeeze the handle, the jaws open and this is what we use of open up most keys.

Ford Custom key

Pop them into the slot where the blade goes and give it a squeeze.

Ford Custom key

The case will crack, then you may be able to pull the two halves apart, or you may need to use the pliers again. So once the case is open, you can see there’s the circuit board inside. Next you need to get the circuit board out of the key

Ford Custom key


When you’re opening and handing the key, you need to take care. The small component shown below is delicate.

Ford Custom key

Just go careful, don’t catch any of the delicate components when you do that. If it is knocked off or damaged, the van will not start after you’ve fixed the key. So just take it slow. As the commander of the American Navy Seal says…”Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast”.  So, there’s no rush.

The Ford Custom Battery problem

So, you can see there the key battery’s hanging off the board. The leg’s supposed to go into that hole.

Ford Custom key

So, we’re going to replace the battery and re-solder it. Okay, to put a new battery onto the key we need to get the old key battery off first. There are two blobs of solder that attach the key battery legs on the back of the circuit board.

Ford Custom key

We’re going to show you how to get rid of those blobs of solder easily. You need to get rid of them before you can do much

Ford Custom key

Okay, so this is solder mop and we use this to remove solder from the key. So, if you don’t have the equipment to be taking these keys apart and de-soldering the battery you really want to leave it alone. Because if you try and get the battery off without doing all this you might break the key all together.

Ford Custom key

So that’s one that you can see there. The solders all gone. Okay, so that’s clearing out all the old solder from the key and the battery just dropped off.

Ford Custom key

Fitting the new Ford Custom Key battery

So that just shows you that they’re only connected to one side, one leg and not the other. Okay. So, to finish off we just going to get the rest of the solder off that key. On the second leg now. Now, if you don’t want to replace the battery you can just open the key and you re-solder that leg. However, we think if you’re getting this far you might as well just replace the battery

Ford Custom key

Okay. So, here’s replacement battery. These are available on eBay and they’re about nine or ten pounds and we’re going to put this into the new key. Poke it through the holes and you can see the little legs poking through there. So, I’m just going to solder them up and then we’ll show you what it’s like when it’s finished.

Ford Custom key


Pretty straight forward. You don’t need much solder. You just need to make sure you get solder all the way around the leg. Next, check that the key’s transmitting. Now, we’ve got a machine to do this, but you can just walk out to your van and try it. If you operate central locking, then it’s working fine.

Ford Custom key

This is a repair case we found on eBay.  It fits the Mondeo and the Transit, So, when you get that new case, open it up again with some circlip pliers. So, we put the circuit board inside the case. We put a little bit of silicone inside to support the new battery. This is how we’ve made the key better and what Ford should have done in our opinion.

Ford Custom key

Excuse Simon’s lovely squishy finger. We put it on the back of the key just to support the key so that doesn’t happen again when the key gets dropped. Hopefully that’s a better repair.

Ford Custom Key Blade Mechanism

Ford Custom key

Firstly, this part here is different to this. It’s been made differently so you can’t just put this bit into your new Ford Custom key case. It won’t work. So, can you take this old blade out and put it into this new key? You might be able to, but the trouble is the little tangs that hold in the key are not the same shape.

If you wanted to put this old key blade into this new hinge mechanism, you’re going to need to file it down slightly and mess about. We’re just going to cut this key. But you can have a go at making the old blade fit, you have nothing to lose, seeing as it’s going in the bin anyway. You need to knock out the pin in each key that holds the blade in. This can be a but tricky and you’ll need a thin punch or pin. It’s a bit fiddly.

How To build up this Ford Custom Key flip mechanism.

Ford Custom key

Just pop the silver button into the blade holder. There’s only one way this will go through. Okay, it’s just a little bit fiddly. Next, pop the spring into here. So, it’s the end without the tail. That goes into there.

Ford Custom key

Okay, next thing we’re going to take the blade mechanism and it needs to go onto this half of the repair key. This little spigot here lines up with the hole in the spring.

Ford Custom key

So just must bear with me while we line up. You must remember that it’s going to flick clockwise, so you must wind it anti clockwise. So, wind it round, okay so that’s all good. Remember to put the ring back in.

Ford Custom key

And then we’re going to seal the key back up. And then get rid of the excess silicone. Just push it into there to make a bit of a support.

Ford Custom key

Okay. So, we’re going to pop the screw in and then we’re going to pop the cap that comes with the case, cover up all the goop.

Ford Custom key

And we can see from the tester there that the key transmits fine, if you turn the tester on.

What to do about your Ford Custom key blade

The last thing to do is the problem with this blade here. So, obviously, you need the blade either cut or you need it put into this key. The issue, really, is that quite often these blades here won’t go into the aftermarket cases. So, we would recommend getting the key blade cut. Find a good auto locksmith or key cutting shop that’s prepared to do it. Or, get it done by post.

Okay. So, we’ve got the blade cut now and so there you go. Our key’s ready, so we can get rid of all the old key there. This new key will start the van and the buttons all work. And we’re good to go.

Do you have a Focus or Mondeo key and need a fix for it? These keys look the same as the Ford Custom key, but use a different type of battery. Click here to find out how to fix these keys




Ford Custom ignition lock jammed

Ford Customs again! It’s not that I have something against them, I think they look great. However, from where we stand, there are problems with every single aspect of locks and keys on this model, so we’re going to write about it. The first obvious problem was the Custom and Transit door lock problem, now we have an issue with the Ford Custom ignition.

Ford custom ignition

We’ve written alot about this, click here to read more. Then we highlighted how the Ford Custom Key have  buttons that stop working and blades that go floppy. Again, click here to read more about this problem. Now, the only part left on the van that we look at is the Ford custom ignition.

Ford have been making ignitions for years and although they are known to wear, it was always after 7-8 years on the old Mk7 Transit. However, in the last few weeks we’ve seen several Ford Custom ignition locks that have simply stopped turning, with the owners stranded. You may get a bit of warning, with the key needing a wiggle in the lock to get it to turn. Unfortunately, if you leave the problem too long, you’ll suddenly get stuck.

There are two problems that cause the Ford Custom ignition to stop turning. We’ll look at both in this article. Think of it like going on a long journey with two kids in the back of the car.

Image result for annoying kids in car

If you have one that’s annoying, and badly behaved, but the other child just doesn’t take the bait, then you have an annoying problem. However, this annoying problem doesn’t cause too much stress for the journey. However, if you have two problem kids in the car and they interact, then the journey will be hell and long and painful, or you won’t start the journey at all. This is what we have with the Ford Custom ignition problem, let me explain.

Ford Custom ignition Problem One – Worn key blades.

The first half of the problem is the amount of wear on Ford key blades. The curvy line that runs along the length of your key is important. The shape of that line is unique to your van. For the Ford Custom ignition lock to work correctly, the key needs a crisp line that is well defined. This crisp line must move all the lock levers into the correct place, so the lock will turn.

Ford Custom ignition

The blade shown here is a real, worn blade from a recent breakdown of a 2015 Ford Custom. There is a video at the end of this article and it explains in detail how we helped our customer who was stranded. If you have a similar van, this could be you so it’s worth a look. The key blade is wearing at any point that sticks out to a point, such as wear the arrow is pointing to.

So once the key gets worn, it struggles to move all the ten of the levers into the correct place. We’re seeing many worn key blades on 2014-2015 vans, just four years old. This is another example of Inferior Component design and manufacture that we’ve written so much about. So, half the problem is the key.

Ford Custom ignition Problem Two – Worn lock levers.

The other half of the story is the levers that move up and down inside the lock. With the Ford Custom ignition there are ten lock levers and they are made from brass.

Ford custom ignition

Consequently, every time the key slides in and out, the levers are worn slightly. Once the problem starts to show itself, with the ignition being ‘sticky’ to turn, it normally starts to get a bit of abuse. This starts of as wiggling the key up and down and this normally gets the lock to turn. However, every time the lock is forced against its will, it wears the levers even more.

Ford custom ignition

Again, the video below shows how the worn key and levers causes the levers to stick out and stop the key from working.

Stranded at the drive in.

Our latest unlucky Ford Custom owner was filling up at the petrol station when the key finally gave up the ghost and refused to turn in the ignition. It was blocking the pump and although they managed to push it out of the way, they had a big problem. The owners were sixty miles from home and were looking at an expensive recovery. This is all simply because of inferior component design.  In our opinion, parts that are not designed to last, as a result they fail prematurely.

So, we put together this video that explains what we’re seeing and how it may affect you. This includes us going out to a 2014 Ford Custom on a very blowy day. It shows how we got the van running and then afterwards, we strip the faulty Ford Custom ignition to pieces and show you where the problem lies. We hope this helps you.

What can I do about my stuck Ford Custom ignition lock?

The first thing is, don’t ignore it. Think about the dentist.

Early on it’s a bit of a niggle, it needs an expert to take a quick look and treat it. There’s a bit of pain but it’s as cheap and painless as it’s going to get. If you ignore the problem, it starts to become painful, and eventually you’ll be in agony. Then it will be so bad that they need to pull out the tooth, which is painful and unnecessary. It’s just the same with the ignition.

If you catch it early and get a new blade done, then you may save the ignition from getting worse. However, if it gets damaged from a worn key blade, then just like the tooth, the lock will need to come out and be replaced. So, don’t ignore it!