Replacement Ford Fiesta remote

A basic ‘chipped key’ (transponder key) has several disadvantages compared to a key with a keyless entry fob/remote. This include the inconvenience compared to remote central locking. Some vehicles may not deadlock and will therefore not be as secure. Some vehicles such as some Renaults only have a door lock on the passenger side which can be rather annoying after a while. Additionally some vehicles will not set the alarm unless the remote is used. EU and US vehicles will normally silence an alarm once the key is turned in the ignition. Asian vehicles often will not silence the alarm unless the remote is used.

In the example below the customer’s car only came with 1 transponder key. They wanted a remote. They chose this bright green version. This particular make of remote can be programmed to become several thousand different car remotes.

Ford Fiesta aftermarket remote key

Not all vehicles are able to lock with a remote. Basic versions of some VW and Fiat for example do not have the electronics for keyless entry. A giveaway on modern vehicles can be if there are rear window winder handles.

Keys locked in car.

Sometimes vehicles automatically lock themselves with the keys inside. Other times we 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 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.

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.

If you’ve lost your back up keys, you may need a locksmith to open the safe for you. 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. Can you see anything wrong?

Electronic safe batteries

Fire door OAD (Outside Access Device) replacement.

Fire doors with panic bars may have OAD handles/knobs on the outside. This allows 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 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.

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.

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.

multipoint gearbox

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.

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 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.

Broken window mechanism
Broken window gearboxes.

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 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
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.

UPVC door difficult to lock?

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.

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.