A few jobs from this week.

Renault key cards
Renault key cards programmed.

First example is programming of some Renault key cards. Work carried out for a lot cheaper than the rip off price the dealer quoted the customer. Dealer had also insisted the card reader was faulty and needed replacing before the cards could be programmed – that was a blatant lie.

UPVC door repair
Damaged UPVC door gearbox – and wrong fittings.
Damaged multipoint
Damaged gearbox due to somebody taking the lock out without knowing what they were doing.

Next example is a UPVC door that was jammed shut. This occurred due to a misaligned door. Once we got the door open we replaced the damaged parts and aligned the door. Previous repairers had just replaced the cylinder, ignoring the root cause of the problem (misalignment) and also put a wood screw into the gearbox instead of the correct M4 screw.

Non destructive entry

Last example from this week is a non-destructive entry to a commercial premises. British Standard 5 lever ERA Fortress picked open.

UPVC Doors not locking

During this hot weather we are attending a lot of doors that cannot be locked. This is normally due to the doors being out of alignment. This most often happens to UPVC doors but can also affect wood and composite doors. If you have to use excessive force to lift the handle then very soon the mechanism is probably going to break. Your door should not be “knocking” when you shut the door with the handle held down.

door roller
Door roller locking point showing wear from door misalignment.

It is far cheaper to get the doors adjusted before the mechanism breaks (possibly locking you in/out).

UPVC door repair.
UPVC door locking point showing wear due to door misalignment.

There is a fairly new housing estate in Coleford where we often go to conduct repairs. There’s also a new estate in Lydney with the same door mechanism. It isn’t the fault of the door mechanism, it’s the fault of the builders / installers who never took the time to line up the doors correctly to begin with.

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Replacement patio door rollers.

If your sliding patio door is difficult to move or out of alignment, it could be due to the rollers. Most patio door rollers can be adjusted to account for wear. Sometimes the rollers are so badly worn or collapsed that the aluminium door frame itself is rubbing on the track. Eventually this rubbing can also destroy the track which will add to the expense.

Old and new patio door rollers
Worn patio door rollers (left). New replacement patio door roller (right).

In the picture above you can see 2 old rollers (left) which we removed from a door in Forest of Dean today. They are pictured with a new roller for comparison. The old rollers are completely worn away ( the only bit left is the bearing). No wonder the door didn’t want to open and couldn’t be locked.

What maintenance should you do for your sliding patio door? Keep the track clean and free dirt and grit. Do NOT lubricate the track. Lubricant will attract grit and encourage the rollers to skid and flat spot. You want your rollers gripping the track and rotating correctly around the bearing. It’s the same as you don’t want your car tyres skidding on oil or ice – you want them gripping the road surface and rotating around the bearing.

Garage door gain entry and lock change.

This style of Garador lock and handle stopped being made by 1984. They can still be found on old metal garage doors. This type of lock barrel are also found on lockers in changing rooms.

In this example the keys had been missing for months. We were asked to gain entry and fit a new lock. It is often possible to cut a new key for the lock but the original lock was so old and corroded the number was unreadable.

The garage was one giant cobweb – it needed beating down with a stick to be able to enter!

Replacement garage door lock

Metal up and over garage door lock.

Faulty Mercedes boot lock and mechanism.

Some older Mercedes cars have a boot mechanism that operates remotely using a vacuum pump. When that system fails it’s not normally a problem because the boot can still be opened using the key. If the boot lock is also faulty or damaged – then it is a problem problem. You can’t open the boot.

Mercedes boot lock
Mercedes boot lock. Visible signs of damage to the cover plate from previous attempts to unlock it.

In this example the boot mechanism could be heard clicking when the switch was operated. That indicated the vacuum pump was working OK so the likely fault was the actual actuator mechanism on the boot lid itself. The seats don’t fold down on this car – you can’t get into the boot that way. There are 2 ways to open the boot in this situation – one is to drill a hole through the skin of the boot to access the linkage. The other is to extract the lock barrel. Because this lock wasn’t working and needed replacing it was best to extract the lock and save drilling through the boot lid.

Mercedes boot lock
Mercedes boot lock removed – in parts.

Once the boot lock is removed the release linkage can be pulled, opening the boot and allowing the faulty mechanism to be swapped out.

Mercedes boot lid

A quirk of this Mercedes is that the battery is in the boot. If your key doesn’t work the locks and you get a flat battery you will struggle to get into the boot. There are ways around this if you know how.

Another vehicle with a weird boot/battery setup is a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. They have a quirk where it can be difficult to tow an automatic with a flat battery. Again, there is a way around it.

If you can’t open your vehicle or have locked your keys in the boot / car in Forest of Dean and Ross on Wye areas give us a call.

Remote repairs.

Car remotes can stop working for several reasons. First thing to check is the battery. These can almost always be easily DIY replaced by popping the back off and swapping the battery out. Some vehicles (particularly BMW/Land Rover) can have a rechargable battery soldered to the circuit board. Like all rechargeables they have a limited lifespan. It

If the remote works will only lock or unlock it’s probable that one of the buttons is damaged or has become detached. Replacing faulty or missing buttons can normally be achieved by anybody who can use a soldering iron. Old perished rubber centre buttons can be upgraded with ceramic buttons.

Land Rover remote battery replacement
Land rover battery replacement
Land Rover Freelander remote repair
Renault remote repairs

Even if your remote is working – check that your key actually works in the lock. Often remotes go flat but customers can’t open the car because the locks have been changed or are faulty.

Key snapped in lock – Triumph Acclaim.

This venerable Triumph suffered a key snapped in the ignition. The key was so old and worn it was only a matter of time before it broke. Customer had a spare key – but it only worked one way up. Anyway, the spare couldn’t be used until the snapped part was extracted.

Triumph Acclaim badge

The snapped part of the key was well and truly embedded in the lock. What I thought would be a 5 minute job took significantly longer.

Key snapped in lock
Snapped part of key finally extracted.

If your key is worn or cracking, getting another copied on the high street will just give you another worn key that is shinier. An auto locksmith will be able to cut you a key to original depths and spacings – as if it was new.

This Triumph is basically a rebadged Honda Ballade. Triumph and Rover made several ‘Japanese’ cars in UK. Cars have come a long way since then.

Land Rover Freelander 2 remote battery.

The battery in this Freelander 2 remote is a rechargeable type that is soldered to the circuit board. It should charge automatically from the vehicle. Like most rechargeable batteries it has a limited lifespan and will eventually fail and stop working. The blue Ford Transit remote batteries and many BMW remote batteries stop charging after a few years too.

It is not beyond anyone competent with a soldering iron to replace the battery themselves. The remote below is one that we repaired for a customer who preferred not to DIY.

Land Rover Freelander remote repair
New battery soldered onto Freelander 2 remote.
Land Rover remote battery replacement

Remote tested and correctly transmitting.

Below is a double glazed unit that we replaced recently. That is water sloshing around but it is not a fish tank – it was a customer’s window. Not only is this unsightly but the insulation properties of the glass are severely reduced.

Double glazing replacement

If you need your double glazed doors are windows repairing anywhere near Forest of Dean or Ross on Wye then give us a call for a quote.

Non destructive padlock opening.

Padlock non destructive entry
Non destructively opened padlocks near Ross on Wye. Shutter style padlock (left) with covered shackle and drill protection. Discus style padlock (right) with boron shackle and drill protection.

The keys to the above steel ISO storage container had been mislaid. We opened both locks without damaging them. This means when the keys are found the locks can continue to be used. If the keys had been lost permanently it can be quicker just to cut the locks off.

If you’ve lost keys to cheap padlocks it may be easy enough for you to cut or twist the locks off yourself. A good padlock like those pictured here will be too strong or located in a position that household tools may not be able to cut them off. In both the padlocks above and the puck lock below the shackle is completely enclosed when fitted correctly. This prevents bolt croppers or a saw being used to easily cut the lock off.

Puck style padlock we opened on an industrial storage container near Ross on Wye.

Below is a link to another padlock job – this time there was no option to NDE (non destructive entry).


Keys locked in cars etc

A random selection of jobs from this week.

Kia Sorento replacement key

Lost key replaced for Kia Sorento in Coleford. In between being purchased and collected the original key had been lost.

VW Sprinter replacement key

Cutting a duplicate key for VW Crafter. Actually for this collaboration between VW and Mercedes the key is a Mercedes blank, but the transponder chip inside the key is VW.

Snapped UPVC door hinge replacement

Broken uPVC door hinge being replaced. A broken door hinge typically occurs when the door is allowed to swing open in the wind. Sometimes if the same hinge cannot be sourced all 3 or 4 hinges on the door will need replacing.

Audi keys locked in boot

This is the lock for an Audi with keys locked in the boot in Gloucester. The vehicle is deadlocked (putting a tool down the side of the door to pull a handle/lift a button won’t work). In this case the locks don’t even work (even with the key). Somebody had either replaced them incorrectly or the connecting links had come off No option here for the customer apart from wave goodbye to one of their windows.

2 days later we had another example of a client unable to get into their Audi. They couldn’t use the remote (it had lost synch during battery change), the linkages had again come off the lock so the keys couldn’t be used either. Fortunately it was an older vehicle with manual window winders.

Saab remote repair

This is the remote PCB for a Saab that was not unlocking. The button has clearly disintegrated. We replaced the button for a new ceramic centred button and it now works fine. These black rubber centre buttons often fall to bits or the rubber perishes.

Saab remote code

Above is the ASK (amplitude shift keyed) locking signal for the Saab remote. You can see the highs and lows of the signal trace correspond to the decoded binary sequence below. The remote repeats the signal several times for a single button press. The actual binary sequence will change each time the button is pressed. This ‘rolling code’ makes the illicit capture and replay of the signal to open the vehicle more difficult to achieve. There are ways to do it – but why would you unless you’re a criminal?