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!






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.






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 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.


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.



Car won’t start Vauxhall car key problem?

Common Problems with Vauxhall keys