Car key transponders are delicate

This key is for a Ford Transit. Somebody wanted to separate the metal blade from the plastic head (because it was loose and spinning) so decided to hacksaw it off.

Unfortunately this meant they unwittingly cut the glass transponder chip in half that the immobiliser needs to detect. This resulted in an immobilised vehicle that isn’t going to start.

Ford Transit key replacement forest of Dean.
Ford Tibbe key head. Transponder chip cut in half.

Below is a new transponder chip that we programmed into the vehicle in the Forest of Dean. As you can see it is glass and very delicate. Safely inside the key head it should be protected from most bumps and knocks – but it won’t survive being cut in half with a hacksaw! Because there was only 1 key for the vehicle they didn’t have a backup and had to call out an auto locksmith to program new keys. It is always a good idea to have a spare key for a vehicle. It is normally significantly cheaper to get a key duplicated from an existing key than it is to cut and program one from scratch.

Ford transponder. Auto locksmith Forest of Dean
Glass type Ford ID60 transponder chip.

UPVC door repair

UPVC door reported as ‘difficult to lock’. This was what we found. The top hinge had been ripped completely off, leaving the door hanging on by the lower 2 hinges. This is often seen when an unrestrained door is allowed to blow open against the door reveal.

Broken UPVC door hinge
Damaged UPVC door hinge requiring repair.

As can be seen above the screws had not only stripped out of the plastic, the end of the metal flag hinge had sheared off. Typically this will result in difficulty locking/unlocking. Worst case scenario is the rest of the hinges fail and the door falls off, breaking the glass. In this example the door was repaired and correctly aligned.

It is always worth preventing your door from swinging freely in the wind. There are a variety of ways that you can achieve this.

If you need UPVC door or window repairing in Ross on Wye or Forest of Dean areas give us a call for a quote.

Replacement Range Rover remote

Here is an aftermarket car remote that we programmed for a Range Rover Sport. Aftermarket remotes are normally cheaper than genuine, but work just as well.

Range Rover remote

Often with this type of Range Rover battery the internal battery goes flat. The battery is soldered to the circuit board. This battery can be replaced if you are willing to get the soldering iron out.

Make sure your vehicle locks work! #2

If you car doors don’t work – don’t just rely on your remote. If your remotes stop working, the vehicle battery goes flat, or you lose your car keys / lock them in, then the only way into the vehicle may be by smashing the glass. An auto locksmith may not be able to help you.

If the locks are broken and the vehicle is deadlocked then no amount of bending the door open to poke something in in the gap is going to get you in. You can’t open the door by sliding a tool between the glass and the door. You are left with 2 choices – either go through the skin of the door, or break the window glass.

smashed car window

I’ve been to two Ford Transits and recently with faulty locks and the remotes couldn’t be used. The cheapest option was for the vehicle owner to smash their own glass. If you are going to smash your glass it’s advisable to completely tape the entire window up to prevent a mess like that above.

In one of the Transit examples it was the second time in 6 months the owner had to smash their own glass. If only they’d got their locks fixed the first time around.

UPVC doors – butt hinges or flag hinges?

Double glazed doors tend to be fitted with either butt hinges, or flag hinges. Butt hinges are commonly seen on cheaper, lower spec UPVC French doors and frames. These offer little or not adjustment. Flag hinges are normally found on better quality doors and offer greater adjustment. (Metal skinned composite doors will usually have butt hinges as they do not sag, warp or as badly as UPVC doors).

UPVC door butt hinge
UPVC door butt hinge. Original fit. Doors misaligned with resultant broken mechanism.

If doors fitted with butt hinges have sagged, dropped, or were installed wonky to begin with it may be impossible to align the doors correctly. The additional strain trying to lock wonky doors will often cause the multipoint locking system to fail, jamming the door shut, or unable to lock.

Rather than replace wonky doors for a complete new set of doors/frames it is often possible (and certainly cheaper) to replace the butt hinges for flag hinges. These offer much more adjustment in all the planes and take the strain off of the locking mechanism.

UPVC door flag hinge
Original hinges upgraded to adjustable flag hinges.

We repaired these doors but replacing the original butt hinges for these flag hinges (3 per door leaf). Previously the doors had been held closed for months by nothing more than a padlock around the handles. The doors were so badly installed that the locking mechanism was broken and could not be replaced. The new hinges allowed the doors to be lined up correctly and a new working multipoint strip to be fitted.

If you are near to Forest of Dean / Ross on Wye and your UPVC double glazed doors or windows need repair or adjustment give Ross-Dean Locksmiths a call.

Keys locked in car/boot – opened.

Although we don’t do car replacement keys for later model Mercedes we are still able to open them. In this example today in the Forest of Dean the keys were locked in the boot, and the car was deadlocked shut.

Keys locked in boot

A national breakdown service had previously attended and were unable to open the vehicle. (In their defence this car did have a particularly difficult lock to pick). The breakdown service had tried bending the door open and shoving various bits of wire in the gap – that clearly won’t work on a deadlocked vehicle. We opened the lock without damage using the correct tools.

If you have locked your keys in your vehicle and it has been deadlocked you have 3 main options – 1) your spare key, 2) an auto locksmith, 3) smashing a window.

This week alone we’ve seen 3 vehicles where the locks were damaged/not even connected and the the remote had failed/been lost or the vehicle flat. The only option the customer had was to smash a window.

If you don’t have a spare key it is an idea to keep a good close up photograph of your key on your phone. Most auto locksmiths can cut the metal part of the key from the photograph. If the lock is too stiff to turn with a delicate locksmith tool it may still be possible to turn the lock with a key.

Access control door not locking

Customer reported an access controlled door that would not lock. The door was remotely released by a button operating an electric strike. Although the door could be unlocked remoted it was necessary to walk to the door lock it closed every time.

Chubb 3R35

If you know what you’re looking at you can tell why the lock shown below would not close without intervention. The lock is not designed for use with an electric strike. It is a Chubb 3R3F, which is a variant of the Chubb 3G110 detainer lock. These locks are unusual that they use a system of linkages between the bolt and the levers. The bolt stump does not directly locate into the levers. They are one of the hardest mortice locks to pick and give very little feedback.

Destructive entry – broken door mech

We attended a call to an industrial unit near Forest of Dean. New steel doors had recently been fitted (not by us), with 8 locking points into the frame. When the workers tried to enter for work they were unable to open the door. No keys would turn fully. They were locked out. This was the only entrance.

The keys could not be turned because the mechanism inside the door had broken. The mechanism could not be freed with the lock in place. The only way to remove the lock was to cut off the stainless steel lock cover then to destroy the lock. Once the lock was removed were were able to withdraw the steel locking bolts back inside the door.

Steel door opening - locksmith

Ideally a locksmith would gain entry without having to destroy the lock. However, in cases where a lock or mechanism is broken there is often no alternative but to remove the lock using special methods. In this situation a new lock was fitted, a faulty bolt removed and the door was then fully operational.

Keys locked in car and boot.

It’s been busy this week for car openings. 4 of them we were called after various national and local breakdown/recovery services were unable to open the vehicle. For some reason Puntos are the most popular vehicle this week.

This Seat vehicle was opened by us after the previous company failed. They’d tried bending the door open and shoving a bit of metal down the side of the door. If you want your door damaged, that’s the way to do it. If you want the job doing properly and without damage call an auto-locksmith. There are several working in the area, including ourselves.

Vehicle opening. Keys locked in car.

If you’ve locked you keys in your car or your boot anywhere in Ross on Wye, Forest of Dean, Monmouth and need an auto locksmith then give us a call.

Mortice lock non-destructive entry (picked).

We were asked to achieve non-destructive entry to a property fitted with this British Standard 5 lever mortice lock. I’d never had to open one of this make/model before. They just aren’t that common around here. Fortunately it’s easy to tell what this lock is by looking in the keyhole. Although branded MHS it is actually manufactured by Avocet.

Avocet Mortice lock picked open

If you look at the bottom of the faceplate above you will see “BS3621 1980”. The latest version of BS3621 is 2017, which is much more stringent than the 1980 iteration. The most significant difference is length of bolt throw. Modern locks will have the BS kite mark on the faceplate. Other specifications in the BS are resistance to sawing attack, minimum resistance pressure to bolt being forced back in, and minimum number of key differs.

The distinctive cut out of the hardplate and the flared keyway are unique to this lock. Most of the levers have 1 or 2 anti-pick notches.

Distinctive Avocet keyway

If you have lost your keys or locked yourself out of your house, locked your keys in your car / boot anywhere in the Forest of Dean, Ross on Wye and surrounding areas give us a call and speak to a locksmith.