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).
We soon unlocked the carrier without damage from the tow bar and customer went away happy.
The past 2 months we’ve seen a spike in vehicles with faulty ignition locks. 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.
Cutomer’s UPVC door had not worked since they moved in several months ago. It had clearly been a problem for years as previous owners had bodged it with old fashioned garden gate bolts.
When you see how broken the gearbox is it’s no wonder the customer was unable to get the door open. For us to open the door required removing the glass, and several other steps. New gearbox now fitted and customer 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.
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 d 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.
The gearbox shown in the photo is the most most common that we have to replace.
Fortunately we don’t have too many burglaries here in Ross and the Forest. Most break ins that I do see 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.
I’ve only seen this type of damage caused to the lock below twice – and both in the past year. In neither occasion did the burglar get in using this method. In the example below the burglar did finally get into the property but not by damaging this lock.
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.
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. In Lydney and Coleford in particular there are entire housing estates where composite doors have been badly installed by the builder. Gradually doors will become stiff, then after a few years the door mechanism can break completely. Eventually you’ll find yourself with a door that doesn’t lock, or you can’t open.
With older buildings the signs of settling / subsidence which cause misalignment can be more easily seen. If your door is difficult to lock, 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.
Cracks between render and UPVC frame. Sign of settling Cement covered cracks in render – signs of settlingThese cracks are part of the reason a UPVC door multipoint failed. Infill panels sometimes give a bulk of the rigidity to a UPVC door. Cracks in old UPVC door frame. Sign of settling.Whoever fitted this door just filled in with an inch of cement. Great lumps of cement falling out between frame and masonry.
In most cases Ross-Dean Locksmiths can realign your door and repair the door. Sadly sometimes in the Forest of Dean you’ll come across a building subsiding so badly (or about to slide down Plump Hill) there’s nothing we can do. In a situation where we can’t fix your door – there is no charge.
If you just replace the broken parts without adjusting the door correctly, expect the new parts to break fairly soon.
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.
It’s pretty common when called to a broken UPVC door to be told by the customer that they’ve been squirting WD40 into. It’s understandable, but for starters it’s the wrong lubricant for the job. Secondly the difficulty locking is normally because the door is out of alignment. WD40 won’t magically re-align the door.
If you ignore difficulty locking a UPVC door eventually the mechanism is going to break. You could end up with a door jammed shut, or unable to lock. In the photo below a customer had been using WD40 to try to make the door work. No amount of lubricant was going to put all these broken pieces of metal back together. Adjusting the door in time would have prevented this breakage.
It is far cheaper to adjust your door correctly than it is to open a broken UPVC mechanism and replace the parts.
REPLACEMENT LOCK DETAINERS
With most mortise locks that are difficult to lock there are 2 main reasons. Either the door has dropped and the bolt is hitting the keep, or the keys are badly worn / cut. If the bow of the key does not have a manufacturer’s name, (or has an aftermarket brand such as JMA) the key is likely to be a copy. Take a look at the bitting of the key for worn or bent elements. If the key only works one side of the door this is a good indication of a worn key.
Worn keys can be exacerbated having too many keys/junk hanging on the bunch. This additional weight can wear levers or the curtain on one side.
If the keys are too badly worn they may have damaged the levers. It is possible to replace these levers but it’s normally cheaper to replace a complete lock. An exception to this rule is for Chubb (now Union) 3G110 lock. A detainer pack for these locks is cheaper than replacing the entire lock. Some companies do make cheaper locks that will slot straight into the hole but they’re not the same quality as a 3G110.
Renault Koleos handsfree card supplied, cut and programmed. The original key was faulty and would not lock the car. This style of Renault card are renowned for becoming damaged. They might fit nicely in your back pocket, but eventually you’re going to sit on it and break it if you keep putting it there.
UPVC door gearboxes shouldn’t look like this one above. Customer could have just replaced the gearbox but instead decided to cut the faceplate into 3 parts, requiring a complete replacement strip. Most gearboxes fail due to door misalignment (not rust or being cut into bits).
Above is an antique steamer trunk. It had regularly been across the Atlantic. The chest hadn’t been opened in decades and the key could not be found. We opened the lock without damage.
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.
Damaged UPVC door gearbox – and wrong fittings.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.
Last example from this week is a non-destructive entry to a commercial premises. British Standard 5 lever ERA Fortress picked open.