5 Worst Broken Car Keys

It’s bad news I’m afraid. We’re seeing more and more broken car keys.

Years ago, most of our work came from lost or spare car keys. However recently, we’ve seen a big change. Broken car keys are leaving our readers stranded all over the world, and we’re seeing a pattern.

The problems are many. Blades that no longer flip out, keys that split and fall to pieces. Worst of all there are chips that give up sending a signal and buttons that won’t unlock the car. Broken car keys are such a problem, we wanted to list the worst offenders for you.

5 Worst Broken Car Keys

Vauxhall Insignia, Astra J and similar.

If your car key looks like this, it’s a ticking clock until it breaks I’m afraid. With this key, the most common car key problems are the blade holder fracturing and the blade falling out.

broken car keys

Can Broken Vauxhall car keys be fixed?

Most car key cutting shops will be able to take all your broken bits and put the expensive electronics into a new key shell. Once the key blade is cut to the car, then the key is as good as new. We fix and post our around the UK every week.

Should I fix my broken Vauxhall key myself?

Yes, you can also fix this key yourself easily. They break open without any problem as long as you use the correct tool

and follow our video.

Next you need a replacement case, just make sure you get the correct 2 button case

or

3 button version


Have you seen the new Vauxhall upgraded key case?

Take a look at how to upgrade your broken key.

VW, Seat and Skoda Broken car keys

broken car keys

German engineering used to stand for something. Strength, reliability, and the highest quality design and manufacture. Something has gone seriously wrong with broken car keys from these brands.

In 2010, they changed the design, and then problems began. Again, the flip blade holder, the piece that keeps the key blade in place, fractures and the pin gets lost. Most common on VW Transporter and VW Caddy models, we believe the ignition lock feels heavy to turn to the ‘crank’ position. Look out for this if you have one. We’ve written at length about this problem.

Can broken VW, Seat and Skoda Keys be fixed?

Yes, but a word of warning. These keys have a sensitive transponder chip. Our advice is to get a spare car key made, before you start getting your broken car keys fixed.

Also, if the key chip breaks when the key is opened, there’s trouble ahead. When you have no car keys that start your VW, Seat or Skoda car, made after 2010, it can be tricky to get a replacement made easily.

Should I fix my broken VW, Seat or Skoda key myself?

Again, yes, we show you how to do this. You just need a good quality case, and open it with the correct tool know how to do it. But again, there is a chance that the chip will get damaged if you’re heavy handed, so take care.

Damaged chip = No Key Detected = Big trouble

Hyundai and Kia Broken Car keys

We have a YouTube channel and this is our most watched video. Soon to break 450,000 views, there’s a worldwide problem with Kia and Hyundai broken car keys.

Again, the same thing happening. The blade is held into the key by a small metal pin. The blade holder isn’t strong enough. It cracks across the pin hole, then the pin gets lost and the blade falls out.

broken car keys

Even on the newer type of key, the one that replaces the really badly designed key there are similar problems.

 

Can Hyundai and Kia Broken Car Keys be fixed?

Yes, the repair cases are readily available.

When we fix these by post, we always cut the blade fresh and replace the key battery. We think it’s a better job, and our machine measures the key and then cuts it like new. However, it is possible to swap the blade, but you may need to alter it slightly with a needle file.

Should I fix my broken Kia or Hyundai key myself?

Yes, although quite a lot of care is needed. Inside the key there are two important things. The first is the green circuit board, which does the central locking. The thing that is often missed is the transponder chip.

 

Unlike most new car key, Kia and Hyundai use a separate chip and it is often glued in place to stop it coming loose. To remove it, you need to carefully melt the plastic around it. You can also use side cutters, or a saw, but these are more risky. So just take care if you fix your own key.

Take a look at how we do it in our video.

Ford New Style Broken Car Keys

We used to give our Ford keys a lifetime warranty, they were that good. However, these days it’s almost painful to sell them. Why are the keys so bad? We all like a key blade that flips out, but they are troublesome. This is one of two reasons why Ford broken car keys are so common.

broken car keys

The main culprits are the Ford Custom style flip key. They’ve introduced a weak flip design, and given it to builders, couriers, and tradesmen and women all over the country. In our experience, they last 3-4 years maximum, which is similar to the other brands mentioned above.

Can Ford Broken car keys be fixed?

Tricky one this. We regularly fix the Ford flip keys that are used on the Ford Mondeo and C-Max. The reason these can be done is because they have a simple CR2032 battery inside. This can be replaced easily during the repair. They open easily if you have the correct tool

However, we’ve had issues when we used to offer the postal service on broken Transit and Custom keys. Fixing broken car keys by post always carries a risk that the key won’t work afterwards, and this is what we found.

The key battery is different to any other flip key. It’s soldered into the circuit board and charges as the van drives along.

However, they’ve been poorly designed and manufactured, and we’ve written so much about this stupid idea over the last few years.

To fix the Ford Custom or Transit key, it needs to be broken open with the correct tool. Once it’s open, it should have a new repair case and the blade cut. Of course there’s the problem of changing the rechargeable battery. Click here to watch how we fix these.

Sometimes, after the repair is completed, the buttons still don’t work, and we don’t know why. This is why we no longer offer this service out as part of our broken car keys postal repair service.

Should I fix my broken Ford Flip key myself?

Do you have a spare car key? Can you risk trying to fix it and the van not starting afterwards? This can happen, as with all broken car keys. If you’re happy with soldering and have a good quality soldering iron, then yes, have a go.

If you can’t solder, avoid is our advice, Either use a local repair service or invest the money in a new Transit or Custom key. It will be money that’s better spent.

 

Peugeot and Citroen Broken Car keys

Last but by no means least. Peugeot and Citroen keys were the first we filmed and wrote about. At one point a few years ago, we were fixing 10-15 every week at our shop in Lincoln, completely ridiculous.

broken car keys

Again, the problems include flip blades that wobble and buttons that stop working. However the worst problem with these keys are when the transponder chip dies. Of all the keys we see, Peugeot and Citroen keys of this style are the worst.

Can Peugeot and Citroen Broken Car Keys be fixed?

It depends what’s wrong with the key.

If the blade is wobbly and the case is falling apart, yes it can be re-cased and the blade cut to turn the locks. Choosing a case can be a bit tricky because there are over fifteen variations to choose from.

Our video explains the difference

The next problem is that when the the soft rubber wears, often the electronic switch is broken. On most other brands of broken car keys, the switches can be replaced.

broken car keys

However, we’ve given up replacing switches on these keys because they are so tiny and we had lots of issues. Once the keys gets damaged inside, we recommend a new key.

The last problem, already mentioned is the chip failing after time. You will get a warning about the key becoming unreliable.

broken car keys

As soon as you see this message, get the key fixed, because after a few days or weeks the key will fail altogether and you’ll be stranded for the sake of broken car keys.

Again, although this problem can be fixed, we don’t recommend it.

Should I fix my broken Peugeot or Citroen Flip key myself?

If it’s just a case, go for it. If the buttons still work even though the key is falling apart, you can probably save the key. Watch our video to explain the difference between all the cases.

If there are deeper issues with the buttons or chip, then we’d recommend spending the money on new key before it dies altogether.

How do I find someone locally to help me with broken car keys?

Not all Auto Locksmiths and key cutting shops are equal. Some will be happy to take it on, others will refuse. More importantly, does the company know what they are doing?

Click here to read our guide on how to find a local expert that can help you.

The future isn’t bright I’m afraid. Broken car keys are with us for a while, so will ‘keyless’ cars solve the problem?

Well yes, there are no blades that can break. However, ‘keyless’ cars are the easiest car to steal, so a broken key is the least of your worries. Want to know more about cars getting stolen? Click Here.

Good luck and we hope this has helped you.

 

 

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links.

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Links on this website may lead you to a product or service. They provide an affiliate commission to the owners of this site should you make a purchase. In no way does any affiliate relationship ever factor into a recommendation.  Nor does it alter the integrity of the information we provide.

Please note that we have not been given any free products, services, or anything else by these companies in exchange for mentioning them on the site.  The only consideration is in the form of affiliate commissions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Ford Transit Custom Key Problems

Looking to buy a Ford Transit Custom? Or starting to find out about Ford Transit Custom key and locks problems?

You don’t have to look far because there are plenty problems with these vans.

We believe that you need to allow £1000 to sort these problems out. Likewise, if you’re on the lookout for a new van, you need to keep back £1000 this on top of the sale price.

In this article we’ll give an overview of what we’re seeing every day in our business and how to correct Ford Transit Custom key and lock problems.

Top 5 Ford Transit Custom Key Problems

Faulty Keys

What can we say about these other than the terrible design, shoddy manufacture and short life-span? They are the worst keys we see and Ford should be ashamed that so many owners are frustrated and angry.

Tradesmen and women all over the UK, locked out, stranded and paying out extra money because of a broken key.

Ford Transit Custom Key

The faults include

  1. Broken Flip mechanism
  2. Faulty chip signal
  3. Broken rechargeable battery
  4. Lock and unlock buttons not working

At £150 per key as a starting price, that’s the first £300 you’ll need for a pair of new keys.

Ford Transit Custom Key Budget so far – £300.

Ford Transit Custom Key and Ignition Problems

The ignition locks  are made from cheese. That’s the answer we give when we’re asked ‘why a 2016 van needs a brand new ignition lock fitted to it?’

Ford Transit Custom Key

It’s unbelievable that a three year old van is so worn out that it can’t be used by the owner to earn a living. This is the reality on some of the vans we’re seeing and you need to know about it.

Top 5 Ford Transit Custom Key Problems

Looking to buy a Ford Transit Custom? Or starting to find out about Ford Transit Custom key and locks problems?

You don’t have to look far because there are plenty problems with these vans.

We believe that you need to allow £1000 to sort these problems out. Likewise, if you’re on the lookout for a new van, you need to keep back £1000 this on top of the sale price.

In this article we’ll give an overview of what we’re seeing every day in our business and how to correct Ford Transit Custom key and lock problems.

Top 5 Ford Transit Custom Key Problems

Faulty Keys

What can we say about these other than the terrible design, shoddy manufacture and short life-span? They are the worst keys we see and Ford should be ashamed that so many owners are frustrated and angry.

Tradesmen and women all over the UK, locked out, stranded and paying out extra money because of a broken key.

Ford Transit Custom Key

The faults include

  1. Broken Flip mechanism
  2. Faulty chip signal
  3. Broken rechargeable battery
  4. Lock and unlock buttons not working

At £150 per key as a starting price, that’s the first £300 you’ll need for a pair of new keys.

Ford Transit Custom Key Budget so far – £300.

Ford Transit Custom Key and Ignition Problems

The ignition locks  are made from cheese. That’s the answer we give when we’re asked ‘why a 2016 van needs a brand new ignition lock fitted to it?’

Ford Transit Custom Key

It’s unbelievable that a three year old van is so worn out that it can’t be used by the owner to earn a living. This is the reality on some of the vans we’re seeing and you need to know about it.

Are you just about to buy a van that will need a now ignition lock fitted to it? You’ll need to allow around £150 which will cover the parts and labour. Plus there’s another issue you’ll need to overcome with Ford Transit Custom key and locks.

Ford Transit Custom Key Budget so far – £300 for keys and £150 for an ignition = £450

Ford Transit Custom Key Problem – The dreaded door lock problem

They made one door lock on the van.

Ford Transit Custom Key

The idiot who designed it took fifteen years of lock design and threw it out of the window. This new design of lock is so bad, it should have been recalled. It’s been the cause of thousands of vans getting broken into all over the UK.

Search Twitter, Facebook or Google for ‘Transit Custom van broken into and you’ll get a picture of just how angry owners are.

 

 

If the door lock is attacked, then the starting bill to replace it is £200.

Ford Transit Custom Key

This allows the extra labour you’ll need to pay to get the lock removed. Getting them out when they have been attacked can be a nightmare. If the door latch, (the thing that sits behind the door lock) is broken, add on another £300.

Ford Transit Custom Key Budget so far – £300 for keys and £150 for an ignition plus £200 for a new door lock = £650

Ford Transit Custom Key Problem – Security Locks.

There are two issues here.

  1. Replacement Security Door Locks
  2. Additional Security Locks for the rest of the van

If you don’t have security locks, and you haven’t had the Ford security update, then in our opinion, you may as well leave your van unlocked at night time.  Security Locks are an absolute must.

Ford Transit Custom Key

You should allow £500 for a replacement door lock plus security deadlocks on the load area, or just £300 for the rear load area.

Ford Transit Custom Key Budget so far – £300 for keys and £150 for an ignition plus £150 for a new door lock and £300 for security locks = £950

Ford Transit Custom Key ignition Ring

This is a new problem we’ve discovered, and fortunately is a bargain compared to the others. If you don’t know about it, check out our short one minute video about the problem.

The ignition rings are only about £40 and fitting shouldn’t cost a lot, so get it sorted sooner rather than later to avoid recovery charges. You will pay a big bill getting you’re van on the back of a truck, compared to the cost of a ring.

Ford Transit Custom Key Budget so far – £300 for keys and £150 for an ignition plus £150 for a new door lock and £300 for security locks, oh and the ignition ring makes it £1000.

So that’s your £1000, spent in the few months after owning the van, so keep this in mind when buying your new Ford Custom, or Transit.

Then there’s the new problem of them being stolen, but that is another post completely! Click Here to read more about that problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ford Custom Door Lock is Damaged-What next?

Firstly, if you been broken into and tools stolen, then we’re sorry to hear this. It’s a real problem for any Ford Custom owner at the moment, and tools go missing in seconds. That aside, if you notice your Ford Custom door lock is damaged, you really need to get it sorted out.

Ford Custom Door Lock Damage

Ford Custom door lock

The lock should look like this. The key-way runs vertically.

Ford Custom Door Lock

Whereas in these two photos, you can clearly see how the lock has been twisted.

Ford Custom Door Lock

Once you look around, it’s shocking how many owners are buying these vans with locks already damaged. Thieves have got so good at breaking in there’s not alot of obvious damage to the Ford Custom door lock.

How come it’s twisted so easily?

When you look at the design of the standard Ford lock, it’s no wonder that they are so easy to twist open.

Ford Custom door lock

The plunger is used to keep the door lock in the correct orientation. However, thieves worked out within weeks of the release that the Ford Custom door lock was easy to break.

The other lock in the photo is a high security lock and the plunger is made from steel and screwed in place to stop the the lock being twisted.

Do I need to change my Ford Custom door lock?

Yes. If your lock has been attacked, you’re vulnerable from another easy break-in and your key will probably won’t work anymore in the lock.

Imagine in the winter when the battery goes flat on the van, you’ll need a door lock that works, otherwise you’ll be locked out of the van! If the battery is flat on the van, then it won’t open off the key!

You must sort it out to prevent these problems ruining your day.

Changing the Ford Custom Door Lock

Before these locks are attacked, they are very simple to change.

1.    Remove the door card.

2.  Remove the ‘C’ Clip that keeps the door lock in place

3.  Turn the lock 90 degrees so the lock plunger can be pressed in.

4.  Once the plunger is pressed in, twist the lock in the opposite direction and pull it out of the door.

It can be quite fiddly to push the plunger in!

Changing the Ford door lock when it’s damaged

This can be tricky.

The problem you have is the the back of the lock has been damaged. On top of this, the lock body may be mis-shapen and this causes two problem

1     The lock cannot be turned to the correct position, so that the plunger can be pressed in. The key may turn in the door, but because the Ford Custom door lock is damaged.

It’s like the lock turns in fresh air!

2   The plunger is broken, as well as the lock body, which means it cannot be pushed in.

3   The lock body it stuck and won’t come out of the van.

When this happens, there’s no simple answer. It’s simply a case of trying to force the lock to turn. It will help if you can remove any part of the lock that’s broken.

Ford Custom Door Lock

 

Or it may be a case of chopping the face of the lock off to remove and replace the door latch. This is when it gets an expensive repair.

Should I get a high security lock?

Yes. The standard Ford Custom door lock is a joke, whereas the replacement locks are now good quality and don’t require the lock to be modified. This may be important if it’s a hire van.

If your door lock is twisted, sort it out before it becomes a major problem for you.

 

 

 

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

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

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.

Fiat

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.

 

 

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.

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.

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

WARNING

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. You need an ML2020 battery.

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 use, they can be bought on Amazon.

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.

Ford Custom Ignition warning signs

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Car won’t start Ford car key problem?

Ford car won’t start – Do you have a Ford car key problem?

This is a really easy one. It depends on what type of Ford you have. If it’s an older style key, like the one below, in fifteen years, we’ve very rarely seen a Ford car key problem that stops the car starting. The transponder chips are excellent quality.  Therefore, even if you have problems with the key falling apart, or buttons not working, this shouldn’t effect the car or van starting.

Ford Car Key Problem

Standard Ford Remote Key

However, we’re starting to see issues with the proximity, or ‘smart’ keys that were introduced around 2010. If your Ford car won’t start and you have a key like the one below, it’s possible you have a Ford car key problem. Read more below.

 

 

Symptoms of a Ford Car Key Problem

Does the car try and start? Is the car turning over, or cranking?

The immobiliser works by preventing the starter motor, among other things, from working. Therefore, if the car is winding over, but not firing up, then you can be certain you don’t have a Ford car key problem. However, if it won’t even try and start, then the key is worth looking at.

There is an immobiliser light on early Fords. It’s always red and it’s normally a red dot, or a red padlock symbol. There are three things the Ford immobiliser light will do.

Immobiliser, or ‘PATs’ Light

Normal operation. With no keys in the ignition, or the car locked up, the red light will flash once every second. This is normal and means the immobiliser is set. When you turn the ignition on, the red light should come on for a second then go out.

If this happens, the car is happy with the key and you don’t have a car key problem.

Immobiliser light flashing. This time, when you turn the ignition on, the light flashes very quickly, about four times faster than before.

If this happens then the car does not recognise the key. We see this when either the key hasn’t been programmed, or the cloned chip has failed.

Sometimes, if a Ford Focus or Mondeo has been stood for a long time and the battery has gone flat, the car forgets the keys.

Immobiliser light solid red. We don’t see this much, but sometimes, if there’s a different problem on the car, such as a communications fault, the light stays on red. The car will not crank and this will look like a key problem.

However this is wrong. A solid red light needs to be investigated by a skilled technician.

What to look at with Ford vehicles.

Even though Ford keys are excellent, there are a couple of exceptions to look for. About ten years ago, the clever people at the key factories managed to work out how to clone the key, just like Dolly the sheep, remember her?

Read about the problems with cloning keys click here.

Cloning car keys changed things for ever. Cloned keys are what you buy at key cutting shops and are  cheaper than a properly programmed car key.

Ford Car key problem

Different types of Cloning chips

There are more Ford cars in the UK than any other make, and so more Ford cloned keys than any other. We started to see problems with Ford car keys.

Cloning chips fail, and whenever we attend a car key breakdown on a Ford, it’s normally a cloned car key problem. We’ve only ever seen two genuine Ford chips fail in fourteen years, we think that is excellent record.

The other exception is Ford Transit vans like the one below.

 

These have a new type of chip, that is on all french vehicles and the scourge of the motor trade. When this type of key is dropped and damaged, the chip does fail and the van will not start. Look for a flashing immobiliser light and no crank.

Key not detected

The newer Ford cars do not have an immobiliser light. They have a display that will tell you what the problem is.

 

The increase in proximity smart keys is causing a big problem for owners. These keys are very delicate inside and we are starting to see car key breakdowns, caused by a failure of the key. The car will display a  Ford car key problem by telling you  ‘key not detected’ on the dashboard.

 

When this happens you need a new car key.

A common reason for this poor car key battery choice. All these keys need a good quality CR2032, and anything without a good brand should be thrown in the bin!

 

Ford Cars Stolen without keys

This is a big problem and is on the increase. If you have a keyless Ford car, you should click here.

How good are Ford Keys compared to other keys? Click Here to find out

 

 

 

 

 

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