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 or 3 button version.

Have you seen the new Vauxhall upgraded key case? Take a look at how to upgrade your broken key.

broken car keys


VW, Seat and Skoda 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. 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, other companies may swap the blade.

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.






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Vauxhall Flip key Upgrade

We’ve written about how often Vauxhall keys break, they’re the most common key we fix at our shop in Lincoln. Now we’ve found a new type of case that we wanted to tell you about. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a Vauxhall Flip key upgrade.

The new style case has smooth curved lines and hard wearing buttons that won’t perish like the older style cases. Based on the new range of Vauxhall keys, we believe this Vauxhall Flip key upgrade is worth a look.

What do I need for my Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade ?

Not much, it’s really simple. Firstly you need one of the new style cases. They come in either 2 or 3 buttons, just like the genuine key.

There are only three things that are tricky and we have full instructions below. Here’s a video, plus there are instructions below.

Vauxhall Flip Key upgrade – Stage One – Get the new key cut

Once you have a case, you need to get the blade cut to suit your car. This should be the first job, as you must make sure you have a new key case that turns the locks, before you break open the old key.

Who can cut my key blade?

There are some issues with getting keys cut. Some of the major key cutting chains refuse to cut keys they haven’t supplied. Our local Timpsons stores in Lincoln won’t entertain any key that’s not come from them, and won’t cut the Vauxhall Flip Key upgrade case.

So look for an independent shop, or an Auto Locksmith.

Need to find a good Auto Locksmith? Click here for our advice, wherever you are in the UK.

When we cut eBay or Amazon keys in our shop, we charge £10 and we believe this is reasonable.

Why can’t I swap the key blade on my Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade?

It’s possible but not straight forward. The key blade is held in to the key body, by a pin. Often, the original key blade from the old case will not fit into the new case. If you want to do this you’ll need to modify the old key blade and this is possible, as the video shows.


However, we think it’s easier just to get the key cut.

Vauxhall Flip Key upgrade – Stage Two – Open the old key.

************* Disclaimer *********

We open up old Vauxhall flip keys all day long at our shop without any problem. However, it’s possible that when the case is opened, the circuit board gets damaged, or the chip fails. When this happens, there’s a chance the car won’t start.

We see Vauxhall flip keys fail even without upgrading or repairing them and have written at length about the problem and the symptoms. So we recommend that you have a spare key, before you decide to carry out your Vauxhall Flip key upgrade.


Ok, back to business. This is really easy if you have a set of Circlip pliers.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

These pliers are unusual because the jaws open when you squeeze the handle. They’re perfect to open keys because you can control what you are doing, instead of forcing the case open with a screwdriver etc.


Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Place the tips of the jaw in the gap by the flip.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Give the handles a squeeze and the case will snap open.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

You’ll need to pull the case apart and carefully remove the green circuit board. That’s it! You’ve done the tricky part. Next is a putting together your Vauxhall Flip key upgrade.

Vauxhall Flip Key upgrade – Stage Three – Build the new key.

This may take a few attempts. You may feel you need an extra hand! But just be patient and you’ll manage this no problem. Open the case using the Circlip pliers again. Don’t worry if the key all falls apart, we’re going to show you what to do.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Firstly, put the circuit board into the half of the new case that has the buttons. there are small rubber noggins that locate in the holes. Now put this half of the case down now for a minute.

Fit the pin into the blade holder, (it will only fit one way).

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Next the spring needs to go into the blade holder

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Locate the plastic spigot in the case and place the spring over it.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Wind the spring counter-clockwise, we recommend two full turns. Then hold the blade shut.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Now put both pieces of the case together, locating the silver pin first and then lining up the two halves.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Once it’s all lined up, give it a squeeze and it should close up nicely. If there is any resistance, it’s because something isn’t lined up. Just open it up again and check it out.

Then when the case is shut, try the flip-out to make sure that your Vauxhall Flip key upgrade has been a success. Then join the case using the two screws.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Lastly, don’t forget the battery.

Vauxhall Flip Key Upgrade

Just pop off the battery cover and we recommend a fresh, good quality CR2032. Don’t go cheap.

Vauxhall Flip Key upgrade Conclusion

Well done, you should have a new flip key case that looks good and works perfectly!






Broken Vauxhall Key Problem

Every week we talk to customers who are pulling their hair out, with a broken Vauxhall key.

Good news – they are easy to fix.

broken vauxhall key

Here’s all you need to fix your broken Vauxhall Key

Broken Vauxhall Key  – What you’ll need to fix it.

Most Importantly.

Both parts of the key!

If your blade breaks away from the key body, keep it safe.

It’s common for the key to be used long after should be, with the broken blade in the ignition, and being turned with the broken remote. This will keep you going for a long time, but we hear from people who lose the blade, and that’s bad news.

Broken Vauxhall Key Repair Key Case

Available as both a two button repair case and a three button repair case. You’ll need a high quality case that allows the electronic parts to be swapped over.

Some cases are held together by glue, but the better cases also have a screw that keeps both halves together.



Circlip pliers – perfect to open up your broken Vauxhall key

Pin Removal punch

This luxury will make swapping the blade over easier. If you don’t have a punch then you can also get the key blade cut. The problem you have is that many key cutting shops will not do this if they haven’t supplied the key as well.

Normal everyday Pliers

These can be hand when refitting the key blade pin.



This is really important. You have to remember that you’re doing something you’ve never tried before. Whilst it’s fairly simple to do, you need to put some time aside so that you’re not in a rush to fix your broken Vauxhall key.

******** Important ********

Before you break open the key case and try and swap it all over, make sure you know how to do it.

Every week we see keys that have been ruined, simply because of heavy handiness, or a slip with a screwdriver.

For a complete guide to open the old key and rebuild the new one, click below

Link to order ebook

This will take you to a link with our Broken Vauxhall Key repair guide that will show you exactly what you need to do.

It’s just as important to know what NOT to do, so you don’t damage the key.

Good luck and we hope this helps










Help How do I Fix my Broken Astra Key ?

Wondering how to fix your broken Astra key?

There’s good and bad news if you own a Vauxhall Astra J.

broken astra key

The bad news is, they’re the most common key we see that breaks.

The good news is, they’re one of the easiest to fix. Here’s our guide to fix your broken Astra key, saving yourself money.

Broken Astra Key Checklist – What you’ll need

Both parts of the key! If your blade breaks away from the key body, keep it safe. We see lots of people who lose the blade, and that’s bad news.

A Spare Key? We believe that before you try and fix the old key, you should have a standby key to use. The reason is that hen things go wrong with key electronics, you end up stranded.

broken astra key

We have thousands of comments on our key repair YouTube channel, most of which are positive. However, occasionally, someone will complain that the car won’t start after they tried to fix their car key watching our video.

‘Okay great now my car wont start and I ruined my old case too so thank you for your bad advice. Smh people dont risk it’

If you’re not confident, get a spare key before you try and fix your broken Astra key.

Broken Astra Key Video

Here’s the video, if you’d prefer to watch, instead of reading.

What you need to fix your broken Astra key


You need a repair case that you’ll swap the electronics into. We prefer the cases that have a screw that keeps both parts together, instead of glue.



We use them  for hundreds of happy customers in Lincoln and keep getting asked for them on-line. So we’ve added a link to our Amazon store above.

They come with two or three buttons.

Circlip pliers – These are amazing for opening up all broken car keys, and very good when opening your broken Astra key.

When you squeeze the handle, the jaws open and the force will split open the key.


Pin Removal punch

This is a luxury that will make swapping the blade over a bit easier.


If you don’t have a punch, get the key blade cut instead.

The problem is that many key cutting shops won’t do this if they haven’t supplied the key as well.

and lastly…

Pliers to squeeze the pin back into the new key after you swap the battery, or a small hammer to knock it in.


This is really important. You have to remember that you’re doing something you’ve never tried before. Whilst it’s fairly simple to do, you need to put some time aside so that your not in a rush to fix your broken Astra key. It’s a bit fiddly and shouldn’t be rushed.

******** Important ********

Broken Astra Key instructions

broken astra key

Before you break open the key case, you need the new key to turn the locks. Imagine breaking your old key open, only to find out you can’t turn the lock with the new key!

Why do I need to swap the blades over first?

Sometimes, the original Vauxhall blade from your broken Astra key is a slightly different shape and will not fit into the new case.

Or, it may need bit of filing to make it fit.

This happens sometimes. The problem is that the repair case is made in a factory across the other side of the world and it’s been designed to accept in the blade that is already fitted to it.

How to swap the Broken Astra Key blade over.

Using the pin removal tool, find somewhere to rest your old flip arrangement that holds the old key blade. There will be some hammering, so make sure it isn’t your best dining table, or wooden kitchen side! They may get damaged.

Knock out the pin from the new blade, and the pin from the old blade and swap over blades.

Remember, they may need a little filing, but don’t force the old blade into the case. If you do this,  you will break the new case.

Do NOT try and use the old blade and hinge in the new key case. It will not work. They’ve been made differently, as the photo shows, and the key will not flick out like it should.

How to Fix your broken Astra Key. Checklist

1    Clear a space, make some room and make a brew, get a beer or whatever is your fancy. We’d recommend turning the TV off so that you can concentrate.


2    Place your circlip pliers inside the gap in between both halves of the key. Give them a squeeze, the key will ‘crack’and both parts of the broken Astra key will be apart.


3    Pull both parts open enough, so that you can carefully remove the green electronics.

4    Put the electronics from the broken Astra key into the new case.

5    Take the blade and hinge assembly and insert the metal button. It will go it three ways, but only one is correct. When the button drops through and pokes out the other side, then you know it is correct.

6    Pop the spring into the button and then place the other end of the spring over the plastic spigot on the other half of the new case. You then need to wind it around in an anti-clockwise direction.

7    Don’t worry if it takes a few goes to fix your broken Astra key. This is fiddly and we do it all the time and it can still take a few goes. You’ll feel like you need an extra hand, so it may help if you have someone to help you.

8    Once you’ve managed to wind it round, close both halves of the case together.

You’ve almost fixed your broken Astra key!

9    Make sure the blade flips out when you press the silver button. If it doesn’t you need to take it apart again and have another go. It may take a few goes, don’t worry, you can do it!

10    When you get it working, fix both halves together with the screw provided.

11     Pop a new battery in, or use the old one if it is still ok.

12    Replace the battery cover

That’s it! Try it out and check that it works

Well done, you did it.

Any questions? Just comment below and we’ll try and help.









Vauxhall Movano Key Prices Problems 2003-2010

Based on The Renault Master, If you have a Movano Key, you have one of the best van keys on the market. They just got it right. No folding flips, or tiny little buttons.

The key comes in two parts. The remote has two buttons, open and close, or occasionally three buttons on some models. The extra button allows the load area to be unlocked independently.

The rubber buttons do wear through on the Movano key, but the switches underneath are big and strong and so can withstand the rough handling. Even when the electronic switches are damaged, they can be replaced easily.

Spare Keys


You’ll find a big difference between the price of a key from the dealer and if you buy one from an independent. The dealers charge over £240 for a spare Movano Key, however, we think this is excessive. Expect to pay £120 – £140 for a new, two button remote key from an independent Auto Locksmith or key cutting shop. This gains five stars.


They’re just really good quality. Hard wearing and robust, even when they look a bit tired. Again, the Movano Key earns five stars.

Movano key

This type of wear and tear can easily be repaired, to save you needing a new key.


There’s lots of equipment on the market now that will code you a Movano key without any need for the security code. It’s a bit embarrassing that the dealers still need the code to be honest. So again nice and easy and five stars.


There have been a few problems getting hold of these genuine keys. This has led to some delays when doing spare keys or lost. We keep a good supply in because we don’t want to use the aftermarket version which are much poorer quality. Any decent Auto Locksmith will keep a Movano key in stock, so there shouldn’t be any delay.

Lost Keys

Lots of good news for you here. The locks can be decoded  and give us the key number so we can cut a key.  As we’ve already mentioned, a good Auto-Locksmith will not need codes.

However, if for some reason you do need a dealer code, the good news is that unlike Ford, the records kept by Vauxhall are very good. They key the key number and immobiliser code for every Vauxhall Movano key in a central database and is issued as a ‘Car Pass’.

Movano keyVivaro Key

To obtain the car pass there are a few hoops to jump through. You’ll need the logbook, a utility bill, and some photo identification. It all needs to be in the same name and address.

Then once this is done, you may have to wait up to three days.

Like we said, try to avoid this if you can.

The car pass will cost around £30 depending on what the dealer charges in your area. Although this seems to be a pain, at least they are available, with a Ford van, then it it’s a different story.

Losing your Vauxhall Movano key shouldn’t be stressful. A good Auto Locksmith will be very happy to get your phone call. How do you find a good Auto Locksmith?

As a guide price, you should expect to pay £180-£240 for someone to replace a lost Vauxhall Movano key. The price range is this large depending on location and competition. If you’re waiting for more than a day, you need to find a different Auto-Locksmith instead of the dealer.

We hope this helps.


Vauxhall Insignia won’t start Car Key problem?

If your Vauxhall Insignia won’t start, this may help you. In the olden days, the Vauxhall chipped keys were very good quality. However, since they launched the Insignia model it has all gone downhill. The good news is that if your Insignia won’t start, then it’s very easy to tell whether you have a car key problem.

Insignia won’t start checklist

Do the dashboard lights come on? Is there power in the car? We get calls every week from customers that believe the key has gone faulty, only to find they have a flat battery. So, if the dash lights stay in darkness when you turn the ignition on, then check the battery. However, if the lights all come on, then read on.

Insignia won't start

No start – No crank. When you try and start the car, does the car make a cranking noise? Does the engine turn over as if it is having a go at starting? The first symptom of a faulty key is that the car will not crank. Therefore, if your Insignia won’t start, but is trying its best to fire up, it’s not a key problem.

Dashboard Padlock warning light. To make up for the car having terrible car keys, they put a light on the dash. The manual should read, ‘if this yellow padlock light comes on, then our poor quality car key has failed you.’ (I’m being restrained in my choice of words here, but hopefully you get the picture). If the padlock light comes on, the car will not start, it won’t even crank over. So, if you have a padlock sign on the dash, and it won’t crank, then yes you may have a car key problem.

Has the key you are trying to use, ever started the car?

This is a really important question. If you’ve previously used the key to start the car, but now it won’t start, it may be the key. However, if the key is brand new from Vauxhall, if you try and use it without it being programmed, your Insignia won’t start. This is perfectly normal and not a fault. You just need the car key programmed.

Common questions we’re asked.

Can I programme my own key? With some cars you can programme in your own key, but you cannot with a Vauxhall Insignia.

Is it possible the car has forgotten the key? Sometimes, cars do forget the car keys. However, this does not happen with the Vauxhall Insignia

Sometimes my Insignia won’t start, other times it will. Why is this happening? This is a classic sign that the key is just starting to go wrong. Often the problem happens just once randomly. Next month it may happen 2-3 times. Then as the key gets worse, then the problem gets more common. Eventually, whatever you do you will find that the Insignia won’t start. This means the key has died.

What do I do? You just ned to find a local Car Key Man. A local Auto-Locksmith that can come to you, cut a new key and then plug a computer in. The computer will introduce the key to the car and hopefully you’ll be up and running.

Is it 100% definitely the key? There are very few 100% guarantees with cars. If you have read the checklist and it points to the key, then that is the first thing to try. A local Car key man will be able to confirm if the key is faulty.






New Shape Vauxhall Combo Price Problems

Ok. It’s got a Vauxhall badge, but we all know the truth. It’s a Fiat. It looks like a Fiat, it has a Fiat dash, it has more plastic than the North Atlantic and it’s horrible. Ladies and Gentleman, let us introduce to you the new shape Vauxhall Combo.

We’re biased, because as far as keys are concerned, Vauxhall cars and vans are straight forward.

However, since getting in bed with Fiat, it’s all gone wrong, and the new shape Vauxhall Combo is trouble, in our opinion.

The simple reason is Fiat keys are completely different to any other make. They’ve been this way since 2002.

With the old Vauxhall Combo, we could take a ‘virgin’ key off the shelf, then cut and code it to the van. There was nothing special about the keys, life was easy.

new shape vauxhall combo


This Vauxhall is different..

However, the new shape Vauxhall Combo has Fiat electronics, and therefore Fiat keys ( with a Vauxhall badge on).

If you lose your keys, or even need a spare, it’s all alot more complicated.

If you choose to order a new key from the dealer, you’ll be in for a shock. It needs to be ordered in especially, will take 5-7 days and you cannot hurry this along.

The really good news is that independents can now supply, cut and code the latest new shape Vauxhall Combo keys.  You no longer must use the dealer.

So here’s our guide to the prices and problems you are up against.

New Shape Vauxhall Combo – Getting a Spare key

As with anything Fiat, the keys are expensive. If you choose to order from the main dealers, a three-button remote key, supplied and coded is around £350! Even a key without buttons is around £180, once it is programmed in and we think this is taking advantage of you, the customer. If you can find a good independent, with the latest equipment, they will be able to supply, cut and code at a much-reduced rate.

For instance, we charge around £210 for a remote key. While still expensive, it’s a big saving. Therefore, with these prices in mind, we give the new shape Vauxhall Combo just one star.


There are three problems with these keys, and any or all of them can leave you stranded. Firstly, the key is not tough enough for use on a van. The same as the Citroen Relay and Fiat Ducato’s, the flip part of the key weakens, and it stops flipping.

It also can become ‘floppy’, and needs to be pulled out by hand every time it’s used. This is just annoying; however, the general build is unsuitable for a heavy-duty key.

Ignition keys become ‘sticky’

Next, concerns the key turning in the lock. We’re not sure whether the lock wears the key, or the key wears the lock. What we do know is that we see new shape Vauxhall Combo owners struggling to turn the ignition lock.

The keys wear out much faster than it should, and this causes the levers in the lock not to move correctly inside the lock. Once this happens and the lock sticks, the tendency is to wiggle the key so it turns.

Then the wiggle turns into more of a shake, more pressure is placed on the lock and key and it fails. If you catch it early, it can be fixed with a new key blade, but if left too long a new lock is needed.

Then the new shape Vauxhall Combo key fails altogether…

The last problem with the keys is even more serious. The electronics inside the non-remote keys are reliable, however we’re starting to see the remote keys fail. Watch our video of this problem by clicking here.

Lately we have replaced several keys that have simply died. The chip signal is no longer present and therefore the immobiliser prevents the van from starting.

If your key is starting to play up, then have it looked at sooner rather than later. The symptoms of a bad key are a padlock sign on the dash and a van that cranks but will not start. It’s as if the van has forgotten the key, however it’s more likely the key has failed.


With this being a Fiat van, if you need to order a key through the dealer, the codes will be needed. These codes are expensive, at around £45, which we think is excessive for just a few numbers.

As most keys these days, the keys cannot be ordered or programmed without these codes and you’d probably need to submit your logbook and photo ID.

However, if you can find a good independent, then you may not need codes. Call around and you may find someone with the latest equipment that can create a dealer key without codes. This will save you money from the start.

Speed two star

With Fiat keys, 5-7 days for a new key is standard. This isn’t too much of a problem with spare keys as you still have use of the van. However, bear in mind they are available same day from Auto Locksmiths throughout the UK. It’s just a case of finding one that’s invested in the latest equipment.

Lost Keys – What to do and How much it will cost.

As we’ve already covered, without codes, the dealer cannot help you. The good news about the new shape Vauxhall Combo is that instead of having to wait for the codes to arrive and then order the key, they can be ordered together.

This will save a few days compared to the old model. However, it still only gets two stars, because they have complete control of the process it can be an ordeal to get these codes and keys ordered, depending on where you are in the country.

Again, if you find a good Auto Locksmith, they could have you up and running within 24 hours. They will not need codes.


It shouldn’t be an ordeal, but that will depend on the route you take. If you order a key from the dealer, it will arrive within 5-7 days and need programming to the van.

Therefore, the van will need to be recovered to the dealership, which will be a further cost to you. On top of this, how quickly the van runs will depend on how busy the dealership is. We’ve heard stories of customers waiting days, when in reality, it’s a ten-minute job.

Should you use an independent?

An Auto Locksmith will solve your problem in a different way. They will unlock the van using a lock pick, and this will also measure the inside of the lock. Using these measurements, they’ll cut a key on-site and then programme it up to start the van.

The whole process should take 1-2 hours, or possibly quicker. So, it’s worth considering this option if speed is important. The range of aftermarket keys varies from average up to excellent. For instance, we keep in genuine keys, that are simply not branded up as Vauxhall or Fiat.

This way we can use them on either vehicle. We give it two starts, because you may have to use the dealer, depending on your location or circumstances.

New Shape Vauxhall Combo summary

As you can guess, we’re not impressed with the poor quality of the Vauxhall Combo keys and locks that we see. Leaving Vauxhall and switching to Fiat keys is a bad move for customers, but it’s what you have and so we hope the information here will help you spot problems early.

If the key starts sticking, or you have the padlock light on the dash, get it sorted early before you are stranded.

Vauxhall Astra 2009 onwards Car Key Problems Prices

Vauxhall Astra 2009 onwards Car Key Problems and Prices

If you have a Vauxhall Astra 2009 onwards, it won’t surprise us if you have a car key problem. They’re terrible. Whoever designed these should be ashamed, and whoever tested them ( if anyone actually did) needs to go back to quality control school. Come on Vauxhall, these are bad car keys.

Astra 2009 onwards


When the Astra 2009 onwards hit the streets, it came with a brand new type of key. Based on the older Astra and Zafira models, the newer design introduced several design flaws. Firstly, the flip blade holder, (we call the hinge) is too weak and fractures.

It does so across the holes, the ones that hold the securing pin in place. As a result, the pin drops out and then eventually, the blade drops out and can get lost. Another problem is the buttons wearing through.

By making the rubber button pads easy to press, they have created the problem that they perish quicker than the Astra H and Zafira A. Read about the problems in detail by clicking here.

Fortunately, Astra 2009 onwards keys can be fairly cheap, depending on where you buy them. From the dealer, expect to pay over £180. On top of this you may need to pay for the code, costing an extra £30. However, from a local Auto Locksmith, they should cost around £130-£150. This is average for modern car keys and earns three stars.

Changing the key battery, need help?

We’ve seen broken Astra 2009 onwards keys that are just two years old. Imagine buying a two year old car and having to pay out for a new car key! This is the reason we only give it one star. More typically, owners need to replace keys after 4-5 years. This is based on the age of the cars we see at our shop in Lincoln and we think this is still unacceptable.

astra 2009 onwards

In our opinion, the design feels flawed, and yet has remained unchanged for ten years. This is a perfect example of Interior Component design. Therefore, Vauxhall score just one star for quality.

The Vauxhall code problem

In the normal world of the main car dealers, two codes are needed to order and programme the key. Firstly, the key number allows the dealer to order the key cut correctly to your car. Then the security code is needed by the dealer to programme the key to start the car. If codes are needed to cut and programme the key, there are a few hoops to jump through to get them from the dealer. This is the same throughout all the Vauxhall range.

astra 2009 onwards

astra 2009 onwards

To get the codes from the dealer, you’ll need the V5 (logbook), driving licence and a utility bill. All three documents must have the same name and address. The codes need to be paid for in advance, at around £30, and you’ll normally be waiting 24 hours. Remember, a good Auto Locksmith won’t need these codes, making the job much quicker.

For spare keys, codes should not even be part of the equation.  The equipment we have these days is so good that codes are not needed. However, if  the Auto Locksmith you choose has little experience, or poor equipment, or you choose the dealer, then they’ll need the codes. You may be waiting a couple of days overall. Therefore, we give it three stars.

How difficult are lost keys on a Vauxhall Astra 2009 onwards?

A good Auto Locksmith can make keys for a car, even when lost, without any codes. The Vauxhall Astra 2009 onwards uses the standard Vauxhall type of Lock, on the market for ten years now. So, if an Auto Locksmith needs codes, then he or she hasn’t been about in the game too long. So If you have the codes, great. However, when Vauxhall tell you it can’t be done without the codes, have a ring around to find a local car key expert.


There are two problems to overcome when dealing with the problem of Vauxhall Astra 2009 onwards lost keys. Firstly, the door locks can be difficult to pick and decode. This means it can be difficult for an Auto Locksmith to make a key that turns the locks, unless the codes are available. Likewise, the dealers simply cannot order a key without the codes. However, if you ask the question before you ask for a call-out then, you’ll find a company that can.

Next, you need the security code to programme the key. Again, there is specialist equipment that will extract the code from the car memory, however it’s expensive. You need to ask the question before choosing who helps you with lost keys. If you choose correctly, replacing lost keys is tricky, but achievable, without codes. However, the dealer will not be able to programme a new key without this security code.

Therefore, we give three stars, simply because there are several obstacles that stand in your way of replacing your car keys when all are lost.


Now for the bad news

If you’re looking to buy an Vauxhall Astra 2009 onwards, or you’re already an owner, just allow some money in the budget for new keys, or key repairs. The good news is these keys can be repaired easily, this will extend the life of the key by a few years.

If you already have an Astra, keep an eye out for small cracks in the hinge, where the key is attached with a small roll-pin. If you see these small cracks appearing, the blade is ready to fall out and get lost, so you should look to get it fixed, before it becomes a drama.






Vauxhall Agila remote – HOW TO Change Battery

We see alot of customers who think they need a new key battery, even though the key is faulty. This is especially true with this style of car key, used on the Vauxhall Agila and Suzuki Ignis. The symptoms are that when you press one of the buttons, it does not respond as well as the other. The problem is simply the type of switch used, underneath the rubber button. It has a simple diaphram that wears out and then stops clicking. These tiny switches can be changed if you are very careful. Find a local Car key Man if you don’t feel confident.

Vauxhall Agila

Below is the transcript from our Vauxhall Agila YouTube video, and the actual video is posted at the end in case you’d prefer to watch, rather than read.

YouTube Transcript for a key battery change Vauxhall Agila

Today we’ve got a key from a Suzuki Ignis, the same as a Vauxhall Agila. We’re going to show you how to change the key battery. The first thing you need is a small philips screwdriver, and we’re going to undo the screw, which is nice and easy.


Vauxhall Agila

Put the screw safe to one side and then this cover just flips off. Pop that out the way. There is a pod that sits inside the Vauxhall Agila key. And the easiest way to get that out is to just push on these buttons and take that out.

Vauxhall Agila

Put the key to one side. The key battery is under here, and it’s held on by two clips.

Vauxhall Agila

There’s one there, and there’s one there. And all we’ll do is pop your nail under there, undo that clip, then undo that clip, ooh, a bit tight, that one. There we go. And pop this to one side, safe. There we have the battery. You see on the battery you can’t see any writing. That’s how you know you’ve got it the right way. Just pop something underneath to get that battery out. It’ll probably just fly away and it is a CR1616.

Putting the Vauxhall Agila key back together

Then, to put the Vauxhall Agila key back together, it’s simply the reverse. Get a decent battery, click it in there. And then just line up the two halves of the remote and then click it in place again. You can only go one way, so nice and easy. Just make sure these click, so you can hear them. Then they go back into here. Again, it can only go in one way. Just make sure that these click when they’re in there, so they’re not trapped. You hear that clicking?

Then, on with the cover. The cover, with the cover you’ve got a little tab here, and that needs to go under here first. Now you’re going to press in there, and then we just need to pop the screw in. A Little bit fiddly but there you go. Now, just make sure these still click, because sometimes they get trapped under the case here. And, with a Vauxhall Agila or a Ignis key, two-button key, you’re good to go.