DELETE Toyota screwed up?

Firstly let me say that I love Toyota cars. When we were first courting, we had this old Toyota Corolla, ‘E’ reg, I still remember the reg plate. It was out first joint car ( although I rarely got to drive it). I remember that it had these three lights on the dash, green, yellow and red, for the fuel economy, which was cool at the time. It served us well as did the Toyota Carina we bought after it, that ran..and ran …and ran for ten years. So I am more than impressed with the build quality and reliability. Which is why the design of the keys is such a disappointment.


The screw in the wrong place

The problem started in 1998, when Toyota introduced remote control keys with the new models. The design they came up with had the following design features. The weakest part of the key, the point at which all turning force passes through, is the part that is sticking out of the lock. The blade itself is tucked away inside and so is protected by the lock. However, as soon as the blade sticks out, it has turning force applied to it. This is nothing new, all car keys have it. Unfortunately, instead of making that vulnerable point stronger,  they drilled a whole through it. Next, at this weakest point, they placed a screw that holds both halves of the case together. Lastly, the material that surrounds the hole, they skimped on and made it too thin.


The battery is the start of the problems

After 5-6 years, which again is impressive, the battery inside the remote control becomes intermittent. Now if the screw was easy to undo, no doubt that owners would change the battery. But no, it is a tiny screw, one that only the finest watch makers possess. This means that the oversize screwdriver that is used, rounds off the screw head and then it’s never coming open.


So this is clearly not a Toyota screw, but you get the idea,. Once it gets to this point, the owner will often give up and start to use the key in the door lock. This is a logical next step, the problem is that it puts even more pressure on the head of the key. Then we get the Key DIY


These keys have some great attempts at keeping the case together.


Losing the chip and remote control

Unfortunately, unless some effort is made to keep the key together, such as in these examples, the case splits open and the important part falls on the floor. The owner may notice, if they are using the car at the time, or they may not, if they are out in the park and the keys fall open away from the car. The result is a disaster. Firstly the car won’t start, which is a common problem across all manufacturers. But more importantly, without a Toyota key, you, the owner cannot get another easily. Not from the dealer anyway.. Read about it our next blog.

There are really common problems in all makes of car. Click Here to read about how broken keys can be fixed.

Our Solution

The simple answer is to re-case the insides, while you still have them. We made this video to show what we do to solve this common problem. Don’t get caught out just because Toyota screwed up…

Renault Clio keys – Is my key faulty?

People love Renault cars. The French are great at making smart, styish, fun to drive models  including the Clio.

clioHowever, people also hate Renault cars because they have many electrical problems. In the motor trade, some models have become the benchmark for truly poor design.


It’s no surprise that the keys cause problems. From the earliest models back in 1995, the keys have been troublesome. Here at the Car Key Man, Renaults have been a solid earner. This is because we since 2004 , we’ll get a call every week about a Renault Clio and there’s a good chance it will be the key!

So how do I know if the key is faulty?

With the Clio II, (2001 – 2006) there are several electrical problems that cause the car not to start. Most of the time, the key is blamed (let’s face it, they haven’t helped themselves here).  We wanted to help you to distinguish between a car key fault, and other electrical issues.

The imobiliser light.

The car has an immobiliser light on the dashboard. In the centre of the dash, a small red dot will flash at regular intervals, (about once a second) when the ignition is off. This simply means that the immobiliser is active, so ‘don’t try and steal me’.

Next, the correct operation is that when you have a good working key, when you turn on the ignition, that immobiliser light comes on for 1-2 secs, (checking out the key) and then when the car is happy, it will go out for good, allowing the car to start.

Please take a look at our video, showing the immobiliser light in actiion

If the car doesn’t start, before jumping under the bonnet, take 2 mins to look at the immobiliser light. To do do this, simply turn the ignition on, let the dash light up with all the other lights, and see what the immobiliser light does. If it flashes rapidly, then there is a good chance that it’s not recognising the car key. What’s more, when the keys starts to go faulty, it may not do this all the time, so keep an eye on it.

The last thing the light may do is stay on solid. This is confusing because sometimes this is caused by the car key, but mostly it indicates another more serios problem on the car such as wiring or module problems. If the immobiliser light stays on solid, it should be looked at by a good auto-electrician.

Changing the keyfob battery.

Many owners believe that by simply replacing the car key battery, this will help the car start.


This is wrong on most models of car , but we will cover this in a later blog.



Vauxhall Combo ignition trouble

Vauxhalls have always had trouble with their ignitions. Since I started fourteen years ago, the warm months cause a ‘sticky’ ignition to become completely jammed. It wasn’t the heat causing the problem, just bringing to light an underlying fault. Vauxhall Combo vans are still prone to this problem. Every month, we attend to van owners that can no longer turn the key in the ignition lock.

This summer we didn’t see many of these.  This is simply because the newer Vauxhall Astra, Vectra, Zafira and Corsa cars have a re-designed ignition.  These new locks seem to be behaving themselves much better than their predecessors. However there is one vehicle that still uses the old design and that is the Vauxhall Combo Van and Corsa C

vauxhall combo

Vauxhall Combo Stepping back in time

Vauxhall Combo vans were built up to recently, still using an old style of ignition and this weekend we stepped back in time to when I first began, with a lady who had been having trouble for a while with the ignition feeling not quite right, but then early morning one Friday, it totally packed up, at a customers address.

She is a gardener and can visit alot of places in one day. This stop / start behaviour contributes to the wear in the ignition. Stranded outside a customers address, she was passed our number by her local garage. The thing we do different to the dealer is that we can react quickly and come up with a plan to get the vehicle running very quickly.

In this case, we ordered a new ignition for the next day, built it up to the original key, and she was back to work the following day, which is why we love our job. Helping people when they need it most. She was so pleased, she agreed to a testimonial and here is her story.





Remote Keys for Audi Cars


Need a spare Audi remote Key? Does your key look the same as this?

Audi Remote Key

At last, they have made it easier. Audi cars have always been a bit of a nightmare for us and all independent Auto Locksmiths. One of the first ever Audi cars we plugged into, back in 2010,  already had a faulty dash but we didn’t know about it.

By plugging into it, we managed to make the dash corrupt (and ended up with a £900 bill from the dealer ). This was just from just plugging into a new car we hadn’t tried before and trying to programme a key! So as you can imagine, we’ve been reluctant to plug into the newer models.

A common problem

What happened to us is very common we’re told when trying to do key programming on Audi cars. Therefore a lot of research has been going on, behind the scenes, to allow independents like ourselves, to be able to supply and programme this type of key with confidence to look after our customers.

Audi Remote Key – Now there a cheaper way

Also what hasn’t helped, is that a new key usually has to come from the main dealer, otherwise it won’t programme. This makes a spare key very expensive.

Now things have changed. New equipment allows us to supply and code new remote keys, safely, without the risk of upsetting the car. This new equipment also makes the key much more affordable for you, the customer.

We were so pleased with the result, here it is!


Suzuki Swift Car Keys


Our blog today is about Suzuki Swift proximity car keys.

We’re seeing a trend in Lincoln. Owners of Suzuki Swift cars are buying them, not knowing what type of key they are supposed to have. When they come to us, they are being driven on the small emergency key, that is only supposed to be used occasionally, instead of having a proximity key.

The blade has a transponder chip inside it and it’s this chip that allows the car to start up and run. When it’s cut to fit the car, it can be used to open the doors and then put into the ignition. However there is a problem with this. The small plastic loop is not very strong and if it has a bunch of keys attached to it, and twists in the lock too often, it breaks. When that happens it is easy to lose.

Suzuki prox key blade

What is a proximity Key?

So what you should have is a proximity key. This key is clever. It doesn’t look like a key, but the car can sense that it’s present. So the idea is that you just leave it in your pocket, or your handbag. The emergency key is slid inside the proximity key, just in case one day it doesn’t work one day, or the battery runs out. This saves the wear and tear on the emergency blade.

swift smart key

To use it is very easy, you don’t need to touch the key. You simply press and hold the rubber button on the door handle. If it senses the proximity key, it will unlock the car. Next sit in the car and twist the ignition. This is a funny looking arrangement, but it’s nice and big and allows weaker hands to turn it and seems to work well.


So it’s important, before buying one of these cars, that they are selling the car with a proximity key. Many are being advertised with just the emergency blade and buyers know no different. These proximity keys are quite expensive, so you don’t want that expense after buying the car. Below is our video guide, on how to change the key battery


Boot the Button – our new campaign

So every week, there’s a motorist out there, just like you, that makes a small mistake but ends up in big trouble, leaving their car keys in the boot.

Typically it will be a shopper who has popped back to the car to drop some stuff off half way through the day. We’ve all done it.

boot 3

The mistake, is that instead of opening the whole car, you just press the boot button and open up the boot or the hatch. Then you shut the boot, accidently leaving the keys in the boot of the car.

Now it’s a design fault and we’ve talked about this before in a previous blog, but you should be aware of the problem. If you are aware, then there’s a chance that this blog may save just one person from locking themselves out of the car.


So it’s time to ‘Boot the ‘Button’ Simply put, DO NOT USE THE BOOT BUTTON’ just open up the whole car. If you do this then it shouldn’t be possible to accidently lock yourself out..

Look out for our campaign over the next few months and please, spread the word!

Take a look at our video explaining this more



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. However, with new keys costing £200-£300, there’s a good reason to find about fixing broken car keys.

Repairing keys is becoming more necessary 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.

Fixing Broken Car keys – Missing rubbers

fixing broken car keys







fixing broken car keys







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.

Fixing Broken Car keys – ‘Floppy’ key blades.









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 a great example of where fixing broken car keys can be done quickly and easily.

Worn Key Blades

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










This is an extremely worn 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.

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






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!

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.


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

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


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.

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


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