Faulty Car Key Chip means you’re going nowhere!

Welcome to Day One of our series, explaining why a faulty car key will get you in trouble. Today we’re looking at the faulty car key chip problem.

They’ve made the immobiliser system so clever, that ‘hotwiring’ is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it also means when your car key chip plays up, you end up stranded.

Every week we get emails from all around the world asking the same question.

‘My car won’t start, is my car key chip faulty?’

Unfortunately car keys get the blame when everything else has been ruled out. This is especially true when the keys already look tired and worn.

So here is our best advice on whether the car key chip is faulty, or not.

Clues that you have a faulty car key chip

There are no general rules with cars, to tell if the car key chip is playing up. Each manufacturer has different ways to immobilise the car.

For some cars the immobiliser  will cut the fuel off so the car turns over, but will not fire up.

With other types of car, it will sit there lifeless, as if the starter motor has died.

So here’s a rough guide on whether to blame the car key chip. We’ve broken it up by the common manufacturers and hope it helps you.

Ford Car key chip fault is crystal clear.

When a Ford Car cannot see the correct car key chip, it won’t crank. That means that you’ll turn the ignition on, and although the dash will light up, it won’t even try to start.

As well as this, somewhere on the dash, often near the speedo, there will be a red warning light. This light will flash very quickly.

Or if you have a more modern Ford with Keyless start, then you’ll get a message displayed.

So Ford cars are the easiest to diagnose, if it cranks, it’s not a key problem, don’t waste money on a new key.

Vauxhall car key chip is a tale of two tribes

If you’re in the old tribe, with cars made before about 2004, then you’ll have a tiny little car key chip in the key that you can actually see

Car Key Chip

Vauxhall Chip

These never give up, unless you microwave them by mistake, in which case yes, you’ll end up with a faulty car key chip.

So with an older Vauxhall Car, if the car key chip is faulty or missing, the car will crank, but it won’t fire up. There will also be a flashing light in the dash.

Car Key Chip

Spanner Light

It’s yellow and we call it the ‘spanner light’. So a flashing light is car key chip trouble. Older cars that we’re talking about include the Astra G, Zafira A, Corsa C, and Vectra B. 

However, if you have a newer Vauxhall, the rules change, you’re in a different tribe. Newer Vauxhall keys are terrible quality on so many levels.

They use a different type of chip and it will go faulty even if a butterfly flaps it’s wings across the world somewhere.

When this happens, your car will not crank. Just like the Ford, it will sit there dead as the Norwegian Blue Parrot, and will not start. It won’t even make the noise like it’s trying to start, There will also be a yellow padlock or key light on the dash.

Get you car key checked with a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith before you spend any money. Most companies are happy to do a free test of the car key. Then they’ll know if your car key chip has given up.

Peugeot and Citroen, where do I start?

The good thing about Peugeot and Citroen Car Keys is ? They include a message on the dash display telling you, the car key chip is faulty.

Maybe the engineers could see into the future, so they included a message that lights up the display. When the key is faulty it reads

car key chip

‘Info Faulty Theft’, Which in human speak is, ‘Your key has had it’

When the Peugeot and Citroen car key chip starts to play up, it begins as an intermittent fault. Maybe it will cause you problems once a week and you’ll brush it off. Then it will be twice a week, twice a day, and eventually you’ll be stranded.

Our advice?

Get it looked at sooner rather than later. If you can drive it to a garage, great. If you have to put on the back of a recovery truck, it gets expensive!

car key chip

Renault Car keys pay the mortgage

Ask anyone in the motor trade what they think of Renault car keys and you better cover your ears. They’re just trouble. In our house, they are known as the ‘car that pays the mortgage’. Unfortunately for you, they’re just bad car keys.

Why would you take delicate electronics and put them into a thin credit card shaped key?

A thin card that can be bent when sat on or damaged when dropped.

Again, the kind engineers must have seen this coming, so they made a special display to tell us that the car key chip is faulty.

Get used to seeing this, the electronics are dreadful.

If you put the card it and you get this message, you’re going nowhere, the car will not crank. It’s very seldom the card reader, so save your money.

Something that will catch you out!

It’s important to know that often, your car key will often still lock and unlock the car as normal. This is because the buttons speak to a different part of the car that the car key chip does. So don’t be fooled.

A new car key battery won’t help things, so save your money.

If in doubt, look up your local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith and they will look at the key and give you the best free advice that’s available.

Thanks for reading, we hope it helps you !


Broken Car key buttons – Can they be saved?

Another day, another email asking for help about broken car key buttons.

This is such an annoying problem, the frustration felt by millions of motorists around the world, could have been avoided.

They spent tens of millions designing car locking systems, allowing you to unlock the car by pressing a button. But after all that investment, they spent pennies designing and manufacturing the keys that use this system. Madness, lazy and short sighted. 

However, it’s what we’re stuck with, so what can we do about it?

There are six reasons your car key buttons no longer work

  1. Your Key Battery needs changing.
  2. The rubber or plastic car key buttons are worn out or missing.
  3. The electronic switch underneath the rubber button is damaged or missing.
  4. The key has failed, because they’ve used delicate electronic components.
  5. The car key has got wet.
  6. The car has a problem with the central locking.

So, we’ll look at these problems with your car key buttons one by one.

Problem 1 – Your car key battery needs changing

Let’s hope it’s just this. Most key batteries are easy to change, and we explain everything in this post. You may find you have a rechargeable battery in your key, so it can’t be changed easily. This is a whole new problem but can be sorted out. Find out more here

Problem 2 – The rubber or plastic car key buttons have worn out or are missing

Most car keys suffer from this problem, some worse than others. Sometimes the rubber stretches, losing its form. Then the rubber tears a small hole as fingers press even harder to make the button work.

Or with other keys, the hard-plastic buttons fall out of the key, exposing the inside of the key.

How can I fix this problem?

To fix your rubber buttons, you need a new plastic case. By taking the important electronics out, and putting into a new key shell, the key can get new life. We do hundreds of these repairs every year, even by post.

These cases are readily available and can be fixed using a bit of simple key DIY. Others are more complicated and really need to be left to the experts.

Click here is a list of keys that we’d suggest you leave alone, telling you how hard the repair is, and whether you should attempt it yourself.

We see lots of keys damaged beyond repair when Key DIY takes place, here are just a few we’ve seen.

We also see plenty of occasions when important electronics are thrown away during the DIY process, leaving the car immobilised. Again, you can read all about it by clicking here.

But the good news is that if yours is an easy one to do, then it’s a very cheap way to give your car key new life and we recommend it.

Problem 3 – The electronic switch underneath the rubber car key buttons is damaged or missing.

When the rubber car key buttons wear through, it leaves the electronics exposed. Or, with some keys, even before a hole appears, the rubbers stretch, and it puts the switch underneath in danger of damage. This leads to a broken car key.

When the electronic switches get damaged, it can be fixed, depending on what type of car it is. Some keys have large chunky switches that are easy to remove and then re-solder. Or, others have the smallest of switches that even a brain surgeon would struggle with.

For our handy guide to whether your broken car key can be fixed, click here.

The outlook for the key can be very good, so it’s definitely worth finding out whether it can be fixed, or if you need a new car key.

Problem 4 – The key has failed, because they’ve used delicate electronic components

Some car keys are doomed to fail, simply because they’re packed with delicate electronics, better suited to an easier life. Put them in a Freeview box or build them into your Amazon Alexa maybe. But if you put them into a car key that is thrown, dropped, heated and frozen, there’s a shelf life.

This shelf life means that car key buttons stop doing what they are supposed to do. Electronics just get worn out

car key buttons

Delicate Electronic components

Car Keys are only example of life-expired electronics that come to mind. Phones and laptops go slow, cameras and camcorders suffer poor battery life, but not many items suffer this early component damage. This leads to a broken car key, with car key buttons no longer working.

There’s very little that can be done, unless an electronics expert can identify which part of the key is faulty. So, we’ll assume that’s not going to happen.

The only answer again, is a new key.

Problem 5 – The car key has got wet

Fatal for car keys. The curse of wet car keys. A key in a pint of beer is no longer very funny, because we don’t see many keys survive a dunking.

At first, your car key buttons may keep working if you dry it our correctly. Want to know how? Click here

However, it’s common for moisture to remain in the key even if it’s still working. The moisture leads to corrosion, and the keys fails, sometimes weeks later.

Can the key be saved?

Not often. This is why some keys including Ford, Land Rover and BMW have sealed units, to prevent the water getting to the electronics. this is good idea, until the key battery gives up and needs changing. Read what we think about it here.

Problem 5 – The car has a problem with the central locking

If the engine of your car is damaged, then getting it serviced with an oil change won’t make any difference. Just because you’ve used nice clean oil, it doesn’t change the fact that the pistons, or valves have been damaged.

In the same way, a new central locking key is not the answer, if the central locking system on the car is playing up on the car.

Lots of people will blame your broken car key buttons for the problem. Before you spend any money, do this simple test

If the central locking behaves itself during the test, then maybe it’s worth a new car key. However, if it fails the test, then you’ll be throwing good money away. Don’t buy a new car key, put the money into getting the central locking system looked out and repaired.

No amount of car key magic will fix a broken car central locking system, so think wisely before you spend money on a new car key.

We hope this helps and please leave any questions you have below

New Ford Transit vulnerable to theft

You won’t like reading this, because it should lead you to only one conclusion. If you have a new Ford Transit, you’re in danger of it being stolen, and without keys.

For the last few years, the older Mk7 Transit vans have been disappearing in the night, stolen by gangs that have easy pickings.

Normally the vans are stripped of the engine and gearbox then burnt out to destroy evidence. This has been happening in Lincolnshire as well as all over the UK.

The same technique is used on new Ford Transit van. It’s quick, simple and happening right now. How are they doing it? Simple.

New Ford Transit Stolen Step 1.

We all know how soft the door locks are for the new shape Ford Transit and Custom vans. We’ve written at length about this problem, amazed that the new and improved version of the Ford Custom still uses the identical lock. With a small screwdriver it can be forced unlocked and then the driver’s door can be opened.

New Ford Transit

Now if you’re seeing red that I’m publishing this information on-line, thinking I’m spilling the beans, you’re about 5 years behind. This has become such a bad problem that Ford introduced a Software update to address it. This was instead of improving the door lock in any way. By ignoring the pathetic door lock design, they have consigned owners to having their new Ford transit stolen.

Once the cab door is open, then out come the power tools.

Overcoming the Steering lock New Ford Transit

The average Auto locksmith dreads drilling out any type of lock. It’s a messy, tricky job that can lead to all sorts of problems. However, if a gang want your New Ford Transit stolen, they come with the tools they need. Unfortunately for you, these ignition locks may as well be made of Cheese.

So Ford have made this even easier because when they steal the new shape ford transit, they can be twice as quick as they only have the ignition lock to deal with, as seen here with this 2017 new Ford Transit.

New Ford Transit

If you worried about having your new Ford Transit stolen,(and you should be) you need to do something. Like kids in a sweet shop, there are so many vans to choose from, it’s easy pickings. How can you stop it you ask?

Do something. You have the choice of security locks, steering wheel locks, EOBD port protectors, wheel clamps, pedal boxes, to name a few. If you think it’s all a bit over the top, the transit thief will be rubbing his hands. You’ll need to spend money, or become a victim. A simple choice

Most of you will live miles away from us, you’re not our customers due to geography. But somewhere near you will be a van security specialist, and can help you.

It might not happen to you, but why take that chance?

We know this is bad news, but we think you rather know

Emergency Unlock Keyless Ford Key

If the key battery has stopped doing it’s job, you’re locked out with a key! This is becoming more common as technology creeps into our daily life. Don’t panic. Follow our guide on how to unlock Keyless Ford cars, whichever model you have.

We’re showing a Ford Fiesta, 2015  model, but every Ford that uses this type of key will be the same.

Emergency Unlock Keyless Ford Key

If changing the key battery hasn’t worked, then you must open the car is with the emergency key. This is hidden inside the car key and you may not even know that it’s inside!

Follow these instructions to unlock Keyless Ford get the key blade out.

To remove the blade, you need to remove the key blade cover from the key. Just squeeze the two pads near the key ring holder and the cover lifts.

Gently pull the cover away and you should see the blade. Once the cover is off, then remove the key blade. There’s a special way to use this tiny blade.

If you try to turn it with your fingers, you may not be able to, simply because there’s not much to grab hold of. First you need to slide it into the lock.

The  car key designers at Ford, put a slot into key fob, that fits over the key head.

The trick is to offer up the key fob over head of the key blade and use it as a lever.

Then, to unlock Keyless Ford cars, whichever model, turn anti-clockwise. This is to the rear of the car, and it will unlock.


This video will help if you’re struggling. As long as there’s a key blade inside, then you’re out of trouble.


Emergency Unlock Keyless Ford Key Problems

Unlock Keyless Ford problem 1

There isn’t a keyblade inside the key. This is a big problem we’re starting to see. When keys are made for these, coding the key is pretty easy. However, making the blade, and cutting the wavy line that makes the lock work, is hard. This is why when keys get lost, the electronics are replaced, but the blade is missing, which is a big problem if you have a Ford Keyless Key.

Unlock Keyless Ford problem 2

The blade doesn’t turn in the lock, which is odd. Either the lock has never been used, you have the wrong key blade inside the key, or the lock is faulty.

With either of these problems, you need the help of an Auto Locksmith. Find out out to find a good one by clicking here.

Emergency starting a Ford, using a Ford Keyless key.

So when you manage to get inside the car, well done, you’re halfway there. Don’t worry if the alarm is making alot of noise. Firstly, no-one takes any notice of car alarms anymore, but more importantly, it won’t start the car starting. As soon as the car recognises the car key, the alarm will stop making a noise.

Where do I put the Ford Keyless key?

There’s a special place inside the car that you need to put the car key so it will start. It won’t matter if the car key battery is flat.

Click Here to read our guide on the Ford emergency start system.









Locked out with Secret Ford Emergency key

Stranded because of a dodgy key battery? This story includes an embarrassed gent, a £40 Taxi, a flat key battery and a secret Ford emergency key.

Lincolnshire is a BIG county.

Taxis are expensive, simply because Lincolnshire is a big place.

Our customer was embarrassed, because he didn’t know, what he should have been told. If you have this type of key, and don’t know about your secret Ford emergency key, this is for you.


He was really pleased with his new Ford Cmax, recently bought the car from a local dealership. So, he was a bit surprised when he got back to the car and on pressing the key button nothing happened.

That’s odd!

When the buttons were pressed, the mirrors should have unfolded and the lights flash, but nothing.

So, there he was, stuck in the middle of Woodhall Spa, 15 miles from home. Eventually he got a taxi back home get for the spare fob key.

At this point, his Ford emergency key would have saved him.

Ford Emergency key

But he didn’t know…

Embarrasment, Frustration, and the Secret Ford Emergency Key

Three hours in a taxi and £40 later, (after a frantic search of the house) he returned to the car with the spare key. Nothing. Not a flash, not a sound, the car sat silent. The only sound was the Taxi driving away!

Feeling things were conspiring against him, he finally called his local garage who in turn called us. Fortunately, we were close by so dropped in to see what was happening.

By the time we arrived he was exhausted, frustrated, confused and about to be embarrassed. It all involves his Ford emergency key.

Why was he embarrassed?

For a start, the car had been telling him for a while ‘Key battery low’.

Ford Emergency Key

He didn’t know how to change the key battery.  Worse still, he’d never tried the spare key to see if it worked the car, the one he went home to collect. It didn’t even have a battery inside it, so it didn’t work. But it gets worse.

I asked him if he’d tried the key in the door lock…. nothing.

Ford Emergency Key

A blank expression, what Ford emergency key?

At this point I popped the blade out of the key and unlocked the car.

Ford emergency key

‘How did you do that?’

‘Unbelievable, I was never told about that!’

We can believe that. It’s a small detail that’s normally missed when handing over a £10,000 car to a customer.

Ford Emergency key gets us in the car!

So now we were in the car.

After showing him the emergency start procedure … (more astounded looks) for when the key battery runs out, and replacing his key batteries, he was on his way. Our charge? Considering the day this gent had been through, it was on the house.

Do you know how to unlock your car with the Ford emergency key? Or even the emergency start procedure?

Or are you missing your emergency key blade? If so, here’s how to find an Auto Locksmith to replace them.

Most people don’t do this, but we recommend you get them replaced, before you need it. It’s easier and cheaper to do it when the car is mobile, instead of when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere like this gent.

We hope this has helped

Ford Keyless Key causing problems locked out

If you have a Ford car, with a keyless fob you leave in your pocket, there’s a good chance you’ll have key trouble. The Ford Keyless key, or ‘smart’ key has a key battery inside.

Gone are the days when you can get away with cheap nasty car key batteries and we see problems every week.

Good news, it’s easy to sort out yourself, without a Ford dealer.

Ford Keyless key

Battery Inside Ford Keyless Key

Your Ford Keyless Key works in tandem with your car.  As you approach your car to use it, the key and car have already checked each other out!

Ford Keyless Key

This is why when you press the button on the dash, the car starts, just like magic. It’s easy to use and everyone loves it.

That’s unless your Ford Keyless key won’t work, and you’re locked out and the car won’t start.  When you understand how everything works, you’ll realise this is normal, there’s no reason to panic.

In the Days before the Ford Keyless Key

In the good old days, there was car lock and a car key. When you put the key in the lock and turned it, something clever happened that let you use the car. The key had a transponder chip inside it, much like the one you have inside a cat or a dog.

The car checked out the chip, making sure it recognised it, and the car engine started. Quick and easy. That was in the olden days.

Then the Ford Keyless key came along.

So fast forward and we still have a transponder chip, but it’s different.

Imagine the car sits there, like an obedient dog, waiting for a call from its owner.

We all know that if you have a pet dog and you’ve been out all day, the moment it hears the key in the door, it’s ready to greet you.

The door opens, and it’s all over you waiting for a stroke and some quality bonding time. This is the same as your car.

When the car is sitting there, imagine it’s a dog. When you approach it, or press the buttons on the Ford Keyless key, then the car should come to life. It’s alert and waiting for the next thing to happen, for you to press the big ‘start button’ so you can go out on a trip.

The problem comes when you have a Ford keyless key that no longer works.

This time when you approach the car, or press the key button, it’s like having a deaf dog. It won’t respond and just sits there doing nothing!

Why is the car ignoring you? One of four reasons.

Ford Keyless Key system is faulty

This is unlikely, but we’ve seen it once. The keys are new, with new key batteries, but they won’t work the remote central locking.

It’s a trip to a Ford specialist I’m afraid and a BIG bill. But that’s the bad news out the way, so let’s not think about big bills.

Ford Keyless Key Problem 1 – Key damage.

This is common, for one of two reasons. Maybe the car key has got wet, which is very bad for this type of key. If it has got wet, then click here to see if you can save it!

Or maybe it’s damaged inside for some other reason. This is hardly surprising. There are tiny delicate components inside, with no protection from the elements.

pic of key damage

We believe it’s a good example of Inferior Component Design and are seeing this throughout the motor trade. Hopefully there’s no key damage which leads us to the most common problem, a flat key battery.

Ford Keyless key Problem 2 – Key Battery low

Ford Keyless key batteries last 12-18 months, so sooner or later you’ll start to get the message that your key battery is low.

If you change it, or get it changed somewhere, then the message should go away.

However if you leave it, or use a really cheap battery, then you’re in for trouble.

Eventually it will stop working and the car will not respond and you’ll get this message, which is bad.

Changing the key battery is very easy as long as you’re careful, and have a good quality battery. Here’s a video we made that shows you how to do it.

However, if you don’t fancy changing it yourself, find a good local car key man Auto Locksmith to do it for you. This is how you find a good auto Locksmith.

When we change them in Lincoln, we charge £10. The owner can come back all the time they have the car and we’ll change it again for free. With this type of Ford keyless key, it’s a good deal! So look out for who else offers this deal.

Ford Keyless Key Problem 3  Flat Car Battery

This catches a few people out sometimes. If the car battery is flat, then it’s never going to respond to the car key. The problem is you won’t be able to tell until you get into the car.

ford keyless key

When you get in, put on the hazard lights and see if the flash. If they do, then the car battery is probably ok, but if they don’t flash, you have no power.

So now you need to get into the car, even though the car key buttons won’t work.

This is easy but we’ll need to cover it in another post. Click here to find out how.

We hope this all makes sense and has been helpful





Ford Fiesta lock won’t turn, help!

If you’re reading this, you’re may be in trouble, wishing you’d got the lock sorted out before now. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Most of us are busy rushing around and, if it still works, it’s good enough. If your Ford Fiesta lock has been getting tricky to turn, eventually it will stop all together. If that’s your problem, we may have the answer at the end of the article.

ford fiesta lock

Ford Fiesta Lock or key?

Most people who call us believe the lock has failed. The problem shows up over a long period of time. At first it catches occasionally, not often, but enough so you know something’s wrong. Over time, owners learn a special trick with the key to get the lock to turn. However, eventually all the wiggling, jiggling and WD-40 in the world won’t turn the lock. 

The Ford Fiesta lock causes the key to wear much quicker than other Ford models. We’re guessing there’s something sharp in the lock, shaving the key, as you can see below.

ford fiesta lock

The lock has parts inside that are moved up and down every time the key is put into the lock. These are call ‘levers’ or ‘tumblers’.


When the key and lock are new, the correct key moves every lever into the right position, so the lock turns. However, when the key blade becomes worn, it no longer moves these levers up and down enough. This is when the lock starts to play up.
Look at these screenshots from a Ford Custom Lock. This has a similar problem and you can read about it here

Worn car key damages Ford fiesta lock.

Sometimes, if the car’s driven until it won’t turn, the worn key may damage the inside of the lock. The levers that are supposed to move freely become burred and develop sharp edges. This in turn, stops them moving, so the problem gets worse.

Will a new key always fix the Ford Fiesta Lock problem?

We see one every month and have done over the last 2-3 years. Every time we’ve cut a fresh key blade, this has fixed the problem of the Ford Fiesta lock not turning. If the lock has some damage, then it will turn, but may feel horrible to use. It may be notchy or just tight.

If the lock is like this after replacing the key blade, then do the right thing and get a new lock for the car. You’ve been given a second chance, and you must sort it out before it fails again.

Why replace the Ford Fiesta Lock if it’s turning?

In most cases, when you get a new key blade, the lock will be perfect, and you’ll have no worries. However, if you do need a new lock, then you have the ‘chicken and egg’ problem.

Replacing Ford Fiesta Lock that won’t turn.

The problem is that to take the faulty lock out of the car, the lock needs to turn to position 1. This means that the lock is turns enough to take the steering lock off, but before the point that brings the lights on. We call this position one. However, if the lock is so worn out that it can’t be turned, even with a new key blade, you have trouble. The lock can’t be removed and then it needs drilling out and replacing, which isn’t much fun.

Can just anyone cut a new Ford Fiesta key blade for me?

This is really important. There are two ways to cut a Ford Fiesta key blade. The professional way is to look at the shape of the key and then work out the key number. What is a key number?

Once you have this number, it can be entered into a computer controlled key machine and reproduced. The key will be as from new, perfect in dimension. This is crucial because it eliminates most of the wear that’s causing the Ford Fiesta lock not to turn. Any good auto Locksmith will be able to do this, or even the Ford dealer. If you need to find a good quality Auto Locksmith, read our guide .

Getting a key blade copied

No, no, no. Don’t do it, no. When you go to a normal key cutting shop, they will trace cut the key, copying it from your worn key. This is stupid, and you’ll simply end up with a new key that’s worn down. It may work for a while, but wont last long. Get it done properly, find a professional.

We hope this has helped. This is a problem that can be fixed easily, and we’d love your comments if you have this problem or had it and got it sorted.



Your Car Key Number will save you

Imagine the worst. You’ve lost your car keys and you’ve got somewhere important to be, a meeting, your daughters ballet exam or even just work. Even worse would be a holiday flight, a wedding or even a funeral. We’ve seen every one of these scenarios and there’s nothing worse than hearing someone who’s desperate and in a hurry to get somewhere. When you find yourself in this position, you need all the help you can get. The best help is your car Key Number.

For us to cut a key, we need to know which bits of the key are cut off, to give it the correct shape. Take a standard Ford key, for a 2011 Fiesta. The key is cut as a wavy line, along the length of the key.

car key number

Making a key without knowing the shape is very hard. For a start, for the Ford Fiesta, there are 6000 different combinations that it could be, six thousand different keys!

So, when you lose it, and we need to cut a new one in a hurry, any help we can get cuts down all the guess work. Knowing your Key Number will

  1. Put you in the top 1% of car owners. Most do not know what a key number is
  2. Save you alot of money when you need a new key.

I have my key car key number, where should I keep it safe? Good question. If you lose your car keys, and you keep it in the car, that is locked, that’s not good. It means someone must break into your car to get it, which defeats the point of having it. We recommend keeping a digital record.

What happens if you don’t have a car key number?

Making keys when they’ve been lost is like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded. Imagine just a ten-piece jigsaw, but you can’t see it. You just have your hands, fumbling around, trying to make them fit. It’s hard. Making keys without knowing the shape is similar. Getting the right combination of key shape can feel nearly impossible. However, when a key number is available, we’re able to cut a car key blind. It’s as if we can see inside the car lock, without having to take it apart.

With the new key cutting machines on the market, if you have a key number, we can just type it in to a computer, and your key is available in seconds. This is how the dealers can make you a car key without seeing the car. They’ve a record of your key number in a database.

So hopefully now, you understand how important your car key number is.

Where can I find this car key number?

It all depends on what make of car you have. In the good old days, they would stamp the key number onto the lock. This way, if you lost your car keys, you could take a lock out and get the number. But it’s not that easy anymore. Look through our list of manufacturers for a rough guide.

Ford Car key number

Amazingly, they dominate the UK market, but have no central database of car key numbers. When the car is sold, it’s the job of the sales person to write down your car key number and keep it on record at the branch that sold it. However, half the car sales people we talk to haven’t been told what key numbers are.   They don’t know where to find them, or where to record them when the car is sold.

So, the chances of them recording tyour car key number at the point of sale is slim. The other problem Ford have is that over half of new cars go straight to Lease for large companies. This means that the issuing dealer is handling hundreds of cars being sold in a short space of time. So little things like car key numbers can easily be forgotten.

This means if you call your local Ford dealer, it’s unlikely they will have your car key number. The small family run businesses are much better at this than the large, city dealerships.

Ford car key number tag

Ford Car Key Number

The key number is stamped into a small black tag and it looks like it something that can be throw away, a meaningless piece of plastic. Unfortunately, it’s often the only record available. There is another version of a Ford key number and that is a bit of a one-off. The new Ford Ka is based on the Fiat 500 and the keys are based on the Fiat system. The good news is that they supply a real information card and it looks important enough to keep.


Vauxhall Car key number

Vauxhall are excellent at record keeping. They have a central database and if you don’t have your key number, they’ll get it within a few hours. If your car is older than ten years, it can take twenty-four hours, which is still impressive (compared to Ford). They also supply the car key number on a security card from new.  This is normally inside the black wallet that comes with the car. It’s called the security car pass and looks like this.

Citroen and Peugeot Car Key Number

Again, the French are excellent at record keeping. They too can access the database instantly and supply you with the key number. You may already have it, here is what to look for.

car key number

Unfortunately, this can look unimportant and get overlooked, but all the information is here you need.

Fiat Car Key Number

As we’ve said, excellent record keeping from the Italians, (you can see Ford are starting to look bad now). They can access the car key number, although this can take a few days. Here is what you are looking for.

You can see in this photo that the print can rub off! This means that the card can be useless.

Other Manufacturers

With other manufacturers, you don’t get anything like a card with the key number on it, but they do keep excellent records. Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai and Mitsubishi can access this information quickly to help you. This is how they order keys for you.

Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda Car Key Number

Forget it. Back in 2006 something changed for these manufacturers. In the olden days, certain dealers could get codes easily, however, they stopped that so long ago. Now, the dealerships don’t even see the code. It’s as if this is top secret information. So, it’s no use asking them.

A lottery for you.

As you can see, it can be easy or hard to get a key number from your dealership. It all depends on the make of car you have and how professional and knowledgeable the dealership is. The good news is that if you can’t get a key number, a good Auto Locksmith can get this for you, by picking the lock and working out the shape of your key. It isn’t easy and so you’ll be charged more when you lose your car keys. That’s why we are so keen to get the message out about know where your car key number is.

We hope this has helped. Don’t forget to check out to see if you have your car key number. Then make a digital record, we call this Photokey.

Take Care of those keys



VW Car Key Won’t turn in lock

German cars have a reputation for excellent engineering and reliability. When we see a fifteen-year-old VW Passat, it usually has the original car key and ignition lock. Unfortunately, the newer car keys and locks from VW are not so reliable. We’re starting to see a new fault, and your VW car key won’t turn in the lock, so you can’t drive it. This problem is showing up on cars from 2009 onwards and we’ve seen it up to 2013 models.

Why won’t my VW car key won’t turn in the lock?

It helps to know just a little bit information about locks and keys. The ignition lock on your VW is simple.

vw car key

Ignition lock and key

It’s a small lock, with lots of pieces that move up and down, called tumblers. When the correct key is put into the lock, the tumblers line up and then the key can be turned, simple.

The lock must be held in place, and the big piece of aluminium that does this is called the lock housing. As well as holding the ignition lock in place, it also has electric wires attached to it, and the steering lock. So, the lock is a very simple thing, whereas the lock housing is more complicated and has many functions. Unfortunately, when your VW car key won’t turn in the lock, it’s not obvious which problem you have. It could be the VW lock that’s faulty, or it could be the lock housing.

What do I do about my VW lock problem?

When your VW car key won’t turn in the lock, the first thing to do is to find out whether you have a lock problem, a lock housing problem, or both. Most independent garages will follow the guidelines and simply order both parts.

This will solve your problem but is the most expensive solution. For a start, the lock will need to be ordered in, and takes 10-14 days to arrive from Germany. However, the lock housings are available next day. So, if you have a low mileage car and your car lock is ok, you may just need a new lock housing. This would cut your parts bill in half and you could be mobile in a couple of days, instead of two weeks!

How do I test to see if I need a new ignition lock?

This isn’t easy. The only way you’ll know is to take the ignition lock out of the lock housing. To do this you’ll need to remove the plastic housing that covers up the lock housing. This can be a bit of an effort with some VW cars.

Once you can get to the lock, you then need to remove it from the housing. This involves turning the lock to the first position and poking a piece if wire into the lock release hole. It’s not simple and you’ll probably find you’ll want a mechanic to do this. Once you get the lock out, carry out the following fault finding.

How do I know if I need a new ignition lock?

When you have your lock out of the car, you need to put your VW car key into the lock and test it. Does the key turn smoothly in the lock? Or, is it notchy and feel like there is some resistance? If the lock turns smoothly, great news, you probably just need the lock housing. These are available from VW or TPS the next day and cost between £90 and £150 plus VAT. If you turn the lock and it grinds, or there is any resistance, you need a new lock and a new housing.

How do I know if I need a new VW Lock housing?

We recommend that the very least you should do is replace the lock housing.

vw car key

Ignition lock housing with lock removed

We’re seeing 2-3 cars every month that are suffering with lock and lock housing problems. The lock housing is normally the faulty part, so it needs to be changed.

Do I need a new VW Car key as well?

The new style of VW car key is terrible quality. Since 2009 they changed the design and they have a problem with the blades becoming loose and snapping away from the key. However, unless you have this problem, we would say that the key will be ok. Even if the key blade is worn, (usually caused by turning the lock when jammed) you’ll just need a new blade, and not a complete key.

If you order the parts from VW or TPS to your VIN number, then your old car key will fit the replacement lock. This means you can still use your old WW car key, saving you the cost of a new key and programming.

The unfortunate thing is because the lock and housing become stiff to turn, this causes the key damage at the hinge. Take a look at this article from last year.

Can I fit my own car lock and lock housing?

We think this is a tricky job. It’s not a weekend DIY project. The lock housing has lots of things attached to it and is held on the car with security bolts. These need to be removed with a hammer and punch, which isn’t that easy. Next, there are lots of things attached to the housing, and these need to be carefully removed.

The new lock housing comes with a warning. You can’t turn the mechanism without the lock in place. What we mean is, don’t mess about with the new lock housing, until you have a lock to put into it. If you do turn the lock housing, it will be scrap and you’ll need a new one! For some reason VW have designed the housing so that if it is tampered with, it locks up and cannot be used. This is good if someone is trying to steal the car, but not much used if your trying to fix it!

Should I try to fix the VW lock and housing myself?

As we’ve said, this is quite an involved job. If you’re confident with cars and tools, you’ll probably have no bother. However, we believe that if there’s any doubt, leave it to the garage. We hope this helps!


How To Find a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith

When disaster strikes, and you lose your car keys, or get locked out, it’s really painful. In the fifteen years we’ve been in business, we’ve met countless people, waiting days and sometimes weeks to get mobile again. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith to help you.

We’ve written this article to give you a few pointers on finding a good quality company. For most of you reading this, we’ll be miles from you and can’t help you. However, we hope these pointers will save you time and money and will also help the other local independent Auto Locksmiths around the UK and the world.

Locked out and somewhere to be

9.00 am

A few weeks ago, we took a phone call just as we opened up in the morning. A young man had locked his keys in an Audi A6 and needed them out urgently. We told him the earliest time we could do was 3pm, later that day.

11.00 am

Next, he visited us at the shop, not realising we were the same company, and explained how important it was to get into the car. He was driving to collect a family member from the airport and they would be waiting. Again, we explained the earliest was 3pm.

1.00 pm

Lastly, he called us again and was very angry. He told us he’d already paid £100 to a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith over the phone,  and we were supposed to be there and wasn’t going to pay again. There was clearly some confusion.

After checking the number, it was clear he’d spoken to a large national company who quoted £180 to unlock the car and promised to be with him within 90 mins, so he paid them the £100 deposit. It wasn’t us and no-one else arrived.

3.00 pm

Once we’d cleared up the confusion, we opened the car, he happily paid us just £90, and he was on his way. So, lets explain how this happened.

Finding a local car Key Man Auto Locksmith

There are two problems that you’ll come across when looking for a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith. Either you live in the middle of nowhere, and have no choice, or, you are in the middle of a city and have too much choice! Both problems can lead to calling an inexperienced, badly equipped locksmith, that will not have the skills or technology to help you. So, here’s what we recommend.

Don’t Panic!

This is easy to say, but it will save you money if you take some time to do some research of who’s in your area.

We recommend the following.

Call your local car garage.

Hopefully you have a good relationship with whoever looks after your car. The garage will have a number of their local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith. Garages are an amazing source of good contact numbers for keys, air-conditioning, chipped windscreens and car electrics etc. Many garages are one-man-bands and they can’t possibly have the skills and equipment to do it all. Therefore, they have a network of go-to tradesmen to help them. They may give you a number to deal direct, or they may want to sort it out for you.

local Car key man Auto Locksmith

Ask on Facebook.

Most of us are on Facebook and we share our perfect world for everyone to see. But did you know that Facebook is an amazing search engine for getting help? A simple post asking for help is all that’s needed, does anyone know anyone? We have a Facebook page and are messaged every day, asking for help. People don’t like to recommend anyone that may be shoddy or dodgy, so the contacts you get should be good.

Search on Google for a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith.

This is normally the first thing people do, but we rank it in third place. Google is the perfect place to find your local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith, however it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We all love Google, it’s a goldmine of information and contact numbers, but the way advertising works can leave you making a bad choice on who to call. Let me explain.

When you’ve lost your car keys, and need a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith, you’d hope that the perfect, local expert would pop up as first choice. However, we all know this isn’t what happens. Google sells most of the first page to advertisers. These are national companies that pay a lot of money to get themselves on the first page, in Bold green and they are hoping you’ll click on them. We know this, because we’ve spent thousands of pounds in the past to be up there on the first page.

It’s possible that your local expert is there. However, it can be very expensive to advertise, and your local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith will probably be a man in a van, small business, without the funds to pay a lot of money to  Google. We’ve been there and any profit you make in a month can quickly get eaten up by Google AdWords.

Who should I choose on Google?

Take a look at a search we did. We looked for ‘locked out of car Lincoln’. This is where we live and and our  business is based, but we don’t advertise using Google Adwords. Therefore we’re not first on the list.

local car key man auto locksmith

First Search Result

The first result that comes up is an advert. You can see this because it has ‘Ad’ in a green box as part of the search result. This is an excellent example of Google showing you something that’s not helpful. For a start, this company is not a local car key man auto locksmith. When we click on the ad, (sorry Lincoln Locksmiths) they have a list of what they do, none of which mentions cars and unlocking them.

local car key man auto locksmith

First Result Details

I know nothing about this company, or have any reason to choose them as an example. They are most probably excellent. However, they don’t do what I need and this is a good example of the problems with diving straight in with a Google search.

local car key man auto locksmith

Second Search Result

The second result isn’t much better. Another Ad, this time an Auto Locksmith. However, the problem is they are nearly 50 miles away and unlikely to drive all that way just to unlock a car!

Do I need a local company? What’s wrong with choosing a National Company?

Our next search result was a national company. They certainly aren’t from Lincoln. I’m sure they are a good company, and not the company our customer called in the story above. However, they’re certainly not based locally.


local car key man auto locksmith

3rd Search Result


When you click on the advert, there is a page that mentions electrical work, not locksmith work!

local acar key man auto locksmith

3rd Advert detail

The problem is basically how the Auto Locksmith business is set. Throughout the UK, there are hundreds of specialists, like us, that are good at cutting car keys and doing a professional job. However, as we’ve shown, the companies that advertise on page one of Google may not be one of us.

Sometimes, they’re nothing more than a re-seller, or a broker. When you call them, their job is to find a local person in your area that will do the job. However, they won’t tell you this and when you talk to them, they’ll want a deposit off you to ‘secure an express service’.

What this means is, they want £50-£100 deposit, so they can then start phoning around to find someone local in your area. I’m not suggesting the national company shown above do this, I just use their advert as an example of a national company.

Then, someone from the national company will do a local search, or have a network of people to call on. They’ll be tasked with the job of coming out to you. Now on paper, this may seem like a good way to find a local Car key Man Auto Locksmith.

However, every month we talk to customers that have waited days and paid a large deposit, but no-one has arrived, just as in the story above. This is simply because the big national company can’t find anyone to do the job. Maybe the people they normally use are on holiday, or sick, or just too busy doing their own work. Whatever the reason, you’re left waiting, and waiting.

If you call a company on Google and they want a deposit to come out and unlock your car, alarm bells should ring. Why does a local Car key Man Auto Locksmith need to take money from you up front? Now sometimes, if we’re ordering a very unusual key for your car, or a purpose-built car lock, we’ll also need to take a deposit.

But it’s quite unusual and we never do it when unlocking a car. In fact, it’s a curse to be paid before the job is done. Whenever we’re paid up front, we seem to have problems! So, if they want money off you, ask them ‘where are you based?’ and see what they say.

How Do I find a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith instead of a national company?

We’d advise looking at the first listing that isn’t an advert. Look at the listing and have a read who they are.

Hopefully they’ve filled out their ‘Google Place’. If they have, they’ll show up on a map, with a photo of the van, or shop they work out of. There will also be links to call them or find them on the map.

Take a look at how we’re shown on Google to give you some idea of what to look for. This is not a paid listing, we’re not advertising. If they have a Google listing, then hopefully they’ll have some reviews. Straight away this will show you if they’re trustworthy and capable of helping you. Are other customers happy with using them as a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith? It’s very easy top pick up the odd poor review and we have a couple, simply for not getting back to customers fast enough. However, the bulk of the reviews need to be positive.

Check out their website.

Do they have a website? Now having a website doesn’t mean they’re good at what they do. There are still plenty of old school tradesmen that don’t want to mess about with websites but are brilliant at what they do. We understand this. However, a website is a chance for you to meet the very person that you are just about to give lots of money to. Again, hopefully they’ll have more reviews and testimonials from happy customers.

Give them a call.

Just have a chat with them. Tell them you need help and be prepared to give them the make, model and car registration. Telling them your car is red, or you ‘think it’s a Citroen’ isn’t going to help you or them. Once you’ve given them this information, your local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith should be able to give you a price and time to come and help you get into your car or get mobile again.

They won’t answer, what do I do?

Imagine you are doing their job. They will either be hard at work, concentrating on making keys, picking a lock, or programming keys. Or they’re talking to another customer on the phone, or they are driving from one job to the next.

So, this means when you call them, they may not answer the phone. If you can, leave a message and text them, asking for a call back and say if it’s urgent. This will help them decide whether they should stop what they are doing and call you, or call you once they have finished for the day. Unlocking a car can take enormous concentration, and many will not answer the phone unless it’s urgent.
Another good check is to call your local garage and ask if they have heard of the company you’re thinking of using. If there are bad companies, the word quickly gets around.

How much should I be paying for car keys?

This is a really difficult question to answer, simply because there are lots of things that change the price. Also it will depend on the level of competition in your area. Click here for a guide to what determines the price of your car keys.

So, take care, call around and don’t rush in. There are lots of really good, professional local Auto Locksmiths that can help you, but sometimes finding them can be a bit tricky. Good luck!