Car Key Hall of Shame (Part One )

With the Olympics and Paralympics in full swing, I wanted to try and place the worst of the worst car keys on the the podium, so new owners of second-hand cars know what to expect from the keys they are passed on.

rio-2016-paralympic-gold-medal-photo-rio-2016-alex-ferro

So in Ist place and in Gold medal position (it’s nothing to be proud of…)

Vauxhall Astra J and Insignia Keys

Badly designed and poorly made. If I had designed these, I’d be ashamed….. Surely the team that designed and manufactured this key were either in a hurry on a Friday afternoon, or, they had some help from a group of primary children. Actually it’s a good job the primary children did help them otherwise the key would be much worse.

For a start, the blade is held in a hinge, that quite frankly might as well be made out of chocolate. On top of that, it has a pin to hold the blade in place. The hole is so close to the edge of the blade that it will fracture and snap if you so much sneeze near it. This means that one day, you’ll press the button to flip out the key blade and it’ll be missing! We see the problem every week and rescue lots of stranded owners, because of this problem.

 

Next, we have the spring arrangement that is supposed to flick the key out. Maybe if it’s brand new, and you have a following wind, and the day of the week has the letter ‘g’ in it you’ll be ok, otherwise don’t expect too much from it.

Lastly the rubber buttons….what can I say.

IMG_3939[1]

Rice paper, Butterfly wings or cake icing may have done a better job. Once you get a fingernail in there, they can easily break and then the water gets in and then the key packs up and you find yourself on the back of an AA truck (other recovery services are available).

Am I being too harsh? …..I don’t think so. Mr Vauxhall man, or lady,  please take this in the spirit that it’s intended. You are still selling these keys on the latest models… Get it sorted out.

Look out for the Silver medal soon…

Want to fix your own key? click the link to watch our ‘How to’ video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VQGjOuIOvU

 

 

Common Problems with Vauxhall keys

Fixing broken car keys – some TLC needed

In an ideal world, when a key starts to break and become unreliable, the best thing would be a brand new key, supplied and programmed. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not cost-effective, simply because the parts are so expensive and the cars are worth so little.

Repairing keys is becoming more neccessary now, and is our most popular service. With keys becoming more complicated, with expensive electronics and moving parts, they get worn out and can cause a real headache. A typical key that we are asked to fix looks something like this.

Missing rubbers

rsz_206_key_old_in_hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

rsz_aab_no_rubbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this case, the rubber buttons, have been worn through and the expensive electronics are left exposed. It’s important that when this happens to the key, it is fixed as soon as possible, otherwise moisture and dust can get into the key and it will stop working for good.

‘Floppy’ key blades.

rsz_1astra_h_wobbly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another problem we see is with the ‘flip’ style keys that are now very popular. The worst offenders here are Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall remote keys. Poor design and thin plastic mean that if there is undue pressure put onto the blade ( such as dropping the key on the floor) the blade becomes loose in the housing and it stops springing out. In some cases the case starts to split open, as shown in this photo.

This is a real pain and drives our customers mad. This problem can fixed easily with a new case.

Worn Key Blades

If a key starts playing up in a lock, it’s easy to blame the dodgy lock. However, we see alot of blades that are simply worn out. They lose the original shape and cause the lock not to work properly.

rsz_broken_keys-030

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an extremely worn key..no wonder our customer was having trouble! In this case a new blade fixed the problem instead of having to pay out for expensive locks.

So wherever you are in the UK, before ordering a new key from the dealer, contact your local expert and see how they can fix your problem, without spending a fortune.

Locking car keys in the Boot

How to avoid feeling stupid – Don’t use the car key boot button

This will stop you from doing what our other customers do when they are locked out.  It’s easy to prevent so read on. The most common reason for getting locked out is because of the car key boot button.

Most car keys have buttons these days. They make life easy for us by unlocking the car from a distance, especially helpful with kids or when our arms are full.  These buttons also help prevent broken keys in door locks, which is great. So what’s bad about having buttons on keys? Well, quite a lot. They’re the main cause of people getting locked out of cars.

Every week, in our job as Auto Locksmiths, we unlock the latest high-security cars. We’re called when the keys are inside the car and, on closing the door, the car is locked. So how can this happen? When we take the call, our customers often say ‘I can’t believe I’ve been so stupid’, however we see many normal, clever, sensible people, so we think there’s another reason for this.

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Most keys have a function that allows the user to press the ‘boot’ button and it will unlock the boot only, leaving the rest of the car locked. The car key boot button will leave you in BIG trouble.

 

Car Key Boot Button

 

 

DO NOT USE THE ‘BOOT’ BUTTON

 

 

Are you trying to tell me that the manufacturers have paid all this money out to develop a button I’m not allowed to use? Well yes, if you want to save yourself being one of the  ‘I’ve been so stupid’ people.

It’s obvious when you think about it. A typical situation is this.

Locked out Scenario One

Car Key Boot Button

 

You’re at the supermarket and have a few too many things in your hands. It’s raining and as you approach the car, you press the boot button, which pops the boot up. Great so far, but here comes the problem. Because you have your hands full, you put the keys into your handbag, or into the shopping. Then once you’ve put the shopping into the boot, you slam it shut. Now you have the keys inside the car and the car is locked (and it’s raining!)

Locked out Scenario Two

locked out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve been playing golf, or at the gym and once again you’ve finished and you unlock the boot. On this occasion you’ve had a jacket on but it’s got warmer so you want to take it off before going back into the clubhouse for a pint. This time you put the car keys into your jacket pocket, put the jacket into the boot and hey presto, you’re locked out!

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It’s not your fault. It would be so much better if the whole car unlocked when you press the boot button. That way, when you do the unthinkable, and realise the keys are inside, you are able to get back into the car quickly to get the keys. None of the manufacturers offer this as an option yet.

So please, take advantage of our experience. The next time you feel tempted to press the boot button, make sure you unlock the rest of the car as well !

Heard of Photokey? Click Here to find out how to save yourself the pain of being locked out, all for free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common problems with Ford Keys

Overview of Ford Keys

Ford keys are the most reliable amongst all the makes we cover. This is simply because the quality of build and design are very good compared with many other makes. As well as this, when a new Ford car key is needed, the prices are below the market average and, they are the simplest for us to supply, cut and programme.

Just need help with changing the key battery? Click Here

have you heard about Photokey? Saving you money when you lose car keys Click Here

There are two types of blade that can be fitted to Ford keys.

‘Tibbe’ Blade.

Ford keys

This type of key was fitted to most Ford keys from 1992 – 2006, and later than that on the commercial vehicles. The style of key was ground breaking when it first came out, described as ‘unpickable’! For the remote central locking keys, there is only one style available, being a static blade that does not fold down.

 

Flat Blade

 

Ford keys

The later type of blade is flat with a groove cut into one edge. This style of key is similar to all new cars and in considered very secure, compared to the older Tibbe keys. With the remote central locking keys, there is the option to have either a flip out blade, or one that is static.

 

 

 

Problems with Ford Car keys

The most common problems affect the following models

Ford Mondeo 1999 – 2006

Ford_Mondeo_TDCI_Ghia_ET03_Qtr_F

The ignition becomes very worn and a sharp edge inside the ignition scratches the key blade and ‘files’ away every time the key is used in the ignition. Eventually the key does not turn in the ignition. If a new blade is cut, then normally the key becomes stuck inside the ignition, due to the sharp edges.

Our Solution

The only answer to this problem is to fit a new ignition. Here at the Car Key Man, we supply a new ignition, built up to the original key shape, along with a new blade. The advantage is that the same key will fit all around the car.

Ford Transit 2006 – 2014

transit

These vans have a blue coloured remote central locking fob. Unfortunately they suffer from several problems. Firstly, the key loop that they have moulded, is thin and not very strong. As a result, we see many that are broken.

This is compounded when the owners try to drill a hole through the remote in order to hang their keys. In most cases, this damages the important electrical components meaning that sometimes the van will not start.

transit-blue-remote-broken resized

Along with this, the batteries are rechargeable and  cannot be easily replaced. We see lots that have been opened by force and the damage caused by doing this often stops the van from starting.

Our Solution

The only solution is a new blue remote, which then will need programming to the van. We can do this while you wait.

Ford Fiesta 2009 – Present

2010-ford-fiesta-photo-228731-s-429x262

These cars have the new, flat blade type of Ford keys. The most common problem we see is where the blade becomes very worn and thin. When this happens, it will not work in the ignition, leaving you stranded.

 

Ford Keys

Worn Fiesta blade

Our Solution

This can usually be easily fixed by cutting a fresh new blade to code and we can do this while you wait.

With all these problems, free advice is always at hand, just call or drop in to show us what problem you are having and we’ll see if we can help.

We’ve found some really good information at the RAC Website Click Here to find out more

 

Key-less Entry Car Keys

Keyless entry car keys are becoming commonplace on most new cars. The idea is very simple. The car has an electronic keyfob supplied with it. Unlike a conventional car key, it doesn’t have a metal blade that is visible. Therefore, all the owner needs to do is walk up to the car and it will sense that the key is close by.

The car will automatically unlock allowing entry, without the need for the owner to press any buttons. Can it get any easier?

Keyless-Entry

Well yes it does, because unlike a conventional car key, the owner doesn’t even need to take the keyfob out of their pocket or handbag. The car senses that the owner is inside the car and they just need to press a button.

On paper, these are really clever, attractive features that make life very easy. However, these features come at a cost, far beyond that of the keyfob.

Every week we hear stories and meet people who are having problems with keyless entry car keys. This is to be expected, given that we handle lots of problems with traditional keys. However, when the problems arise with key-less cars, often no-one knows what to do, simply because the idea is new and there is a lack of general experience.

There are also some serious security issues that we will talk about in another blog, but for now here is the most common problem.

Ford key-less fobs. Where’s the key?

Where's-the-key

This type of fob is now very common, among models such as Ford Focus, Fiesta, Mondeo, B-Max, C-Max, Galaxy and Kuga. There are many thousands of these on the roads and yet most of the owners we meet are not shown how to handle a few simple problems, such as :-

Help – I left my lights on, the battery is flat and now I’m locked out. How do I get back in?

Inside the fob should be a small key blade.

Hidden-Key

By squeezing the edge of the key-fob, a cover pops open and it exposes the blade. This blade is then inserted into the lock and a slot in the key-fob is used to turn the blade.

So hopefully that’s helpful. It’s also really important to check that you have a blade in your key-fob. Many people find out it’s missing, just when they need it the most. We can supply and cut these if you need further help.