Keys locked in car.

Sometimes cars and vans may automatically lock themselves with the keys inside. Other times people mistakenly lock them in the boot. (I hate to admit to having locked my own keys in my car twice).

Keys locked in car

This is the errant key that we retrieved today from the ignition of a Ford Ranger after it decided to lock all the doors by itself.

We can open most vehicles if you find yourself in the same situation. It would be much simpler if you had a spare key that you could use without calling somebody out. Not to worry though, if you do lock your keys in Ross-Dean Locksmiths can open your car for you.

Electronic safe batteries.

Domestic safes with electronic keypads will use batteries. These will not last forever. If they go flat or leak the safe will not open. In that case you will either have to use the backup key or battery backup facility, depending on your own particular safe. High end safes may generate the power supply from the knob itself.

If you’ve lost your back up keys, you may need a locksmith to open the safe for you. To avoid needing a locksmith check you know where the keys are, and change batteries when the keypad tells you to change them.

We were called to open an electronic safe with these batteries fitted. The override keys had been lost so the customer needed our help. Can you see anything wrong with the batteries?

Electronic safe batteries

Fire door handle OAD (Outside Access Device) replacement.

Fire doors with panic bars may have OAD handles/knobs on the outside to allow the door to also be used an an entrance.

Fire escape handle replacement
Fire door OAD upgrade. New system with replaceable lock fitted to door. Old knob on the right.

Doors fitted with older OAD such as the Exidor 298 cannot easily be re-keyed if the tenants change or keys are lost. (The 298 is also discontinued and nigh on impossible to find). In the photo above a new style Exidor knobset has been fitted that has an easily replaceable lock cylinder.

Bike carrier lock

Customer had an expensive bike carrier locked to their towbar. All keys lost and it was stuck on the back of the car. The only replacement keys that could be sourced online were in Australia. The customer needed the carrier removed that day before going on a long journey. Unusually this lock used a very thin laser key (cut with grooves down the flat face, as opposed to edge cut).

Bike carrier locked picked open

We soon unlocked the carrier without damage from the tow bar and customer went away happy.

Faulty / stiff ignition locks

The past 2 months we’ve seen a spike in vehicles with faulty ignition barrels. This has varied from keys that won’t even go in the lock, to cars that can’t be started because the key won’t turn. In fact we’ve had more ignition lock problems in the past few weeks than the previous year put together. Normally a difficult to turn ignition lock is down to a worn key but in none of the recent cases was the key the problem.

Most ignition locks have to have the key turned in order that the lock can be removed. If the key won’t turn it will make replacement more difficult.

Some vehicles including Land Rovers and Volvos often have the entire lock housing attached using shear bolts.

Ford igntion repair
Repairing Ford ignition barrel

Before calling out a locksmith try your spare key (if you have one). If that doesn’t work you can try flushing the lock with a good lubricant (not WD40). Sometimes a gentle tap on the end the key with a screwdriver or light mallet can cure the problem.

Jammed UPVC door.

A customer’s UPVC door had not worked since they moved in several months previously. It had clearly been a problem for years as previous owners had bodged it shut with old fashioned garden gate bolts.

multipoint gearbox

When you see state of the gearbox is it’s no wonder the UPVC door wouldn’t open. For us to open the door required removing the glass, and several other steps. A new gearbox was fitted, the door aligned and the customer now has a fully working door.

Recently a landlord had been told by their managing agent that a jammed door would need a complete replacement door fitting. We were able to open and repair the door for probably 1/10th or less of the price of fitting a complete new one.

If your UPCV door is becoming difficult to lock it will probably only get worse. It may only need correctly aligning. This in turn may prevent the mechanism from breaking – saving you money.

UPVC window won’t open?

Is your UPVC window jammed shut? More often than not it’s bathroom and kitchen windows that fail first – due to the increased moisture in the air.

Below are the parts that came out of a jammed shut bathroom windows. We had to remove both double glazed units before we could get the windows open. Being unable to open a bathroom window can lead to damp and mould in the house.

The gearbox shown in the photo is the most most common that we have to replace.

Broken window mechanism
Broken window gearboxes.

If you need a UPVC door or window repair, give us a call for a free quote.

Signs of attempted break in

Fortunately we don’t have too many burglaries here in Ross and the Forest. Most break ins that I do see as a Locksmith have just been brute force and ignorance rather than having used any skill. A typical example would be ripping a window out of the frame, or putting a heavy concrete planter through a patio door glass.

Damaged euro cylinder
Damaged euro cylinder

Perhaps it’s just coincidence but I’ve been to more burglaries or attempted burglaries in Bream than anywhere else in the Forest. On a positive note in one case Police did actually catch the suspect in the act.

Even the best locks won’t keep a burglar out if they can just smash your window with a garden ornament. Take a look around what is laying around in your garden that a criminal could use. Similarly keep ladders, garden tools etc secured and out of sight. Keep side gates locked where possible.

It might be harsh to say, but it isn’t about making your house impregnable. It’s about making it easier for someone to go and rob next door instead.

Locksmith Monmouth, Ross on Wye, Forest of Dean.

UPVC door repairs & UPVC window repairs.

The majority of UPVC / composite door locking problems are due to misalignment between the door and frame. This can either be due to poor initial installation, or the building settling/subsiding.

Signs of poor installation may be difficult for a layman to identify. Gradually doors will become stiff and difficult to lock. After a few months or years the door mechanism can break completely. Eventually you’ll find yourself with a door that doesn’t lock, or you can’t open it. There are entire estates in Lydney and Coleford where the doors were poorly installed.

With older buildings the signs of settling / subsidence which cause misalignment can be more easily seen. Take a look around the frame or nearby to see if there are cracks. These cracks can indicate settling of the building and may be the reason your door is difficult to lock. If the settling is minor adjustments can probably be made to the door to get it back into correct alignment.

We keep the most common multipoint mechanisms in stock. Sadly sometimes in the Forest of Dean you’ll come across a building subsiding so badly there’s nothing we can do. If we can’t fix your door – there is no charge.

A broken door mechanism (multipoint) is likely to also require door realigning, or at least checking. Putting a new mechanism in a badly adjusted door will cause the new parts to fail prematurely. We always check door alignment when we fit new replacement parts.

Christmas and Festive Period Opening Hours.

Nothing changes for Ross-Dean Locksmiths over this period Our staff Christmas dinner bowl of Frosties can wait until we get you into your house/car or fix your lock or whatever.

Christmas Eve: Open 24 hours.

Christmas Day: Open 24 hours.

New Years Eve: Open 24 hours.

New Years Day: Open 24 hours.

If you need a locksmith in Ross on Wye, Forest of Dean or surrounding areas over this period do not hesitate to give us a call. It’s cheaper for us to unlock your car than you smash your own window and replace it.