Alternative to expensive BMW, Volvo and VW slot remotes

The type of dash remote that slots into the dashboard of some BMW, Volvo and VW can be very expensive to replace. If you currently only have 1 remote and don’t want potentially pay several hundred pounds for a spare one, you don’t have to.

If you just need a backup in case you lose your only remote there is a much cheaper alternative. It is called a dashpod. With a manual key and a transponder chip programmed to your car, a dashpod can be used to open the vehicle and start it. A dashpod can even get wet as there is no circuitry or battery inside to become damaged like a remote. Admittedly it doesn’t look as nice as a remote, but it can get you home if you’ve lost your only remote. And it’s probably at least £100 cheaper than a spare remote that might actually never be needed and may just sit in a drawer.

VW Passat emergency dashpod and key
VW Passat dashpod (left) we supplied and programmed as a backup to the remote.
Volvo XC emergency dashpod key
This Volvo dashpod is awaiting a new home.

Car key programming available in Ross on Wye, Forest of Dean and surrounding areas.

Car remote fob repairs

Very often car remotes can become damaged, or just start to fall apart. The buttons on the circuit board are particularly prone to failing, especially the older type with the rubber centres. The ceramic centred buttons are much more reliable. Often the buttons will simply crack the solder joints and fall off.

It is normally cheaper to repair a remote than replace it. Often you can do this DIY, especially if the PCB and chip are intact and it’s just the outer shell that need replacing. You can buy most remote shells for £5-15 and swap the internals over yourself.

Renault remote repair

In this example above not only is the outer shell broken but the button itself is damaged. The customer could still use the vehicle because it could be opened manually on the key, and the transponder chip was still recognised by the immobiliser.

Porsche Boxter remote repair

Above is a remote for a Porsche Boxster somewhere in the Forest of Dean. The customer couldn’t get into the vehicle at all because not only had the unlock button fallen to bits, but the locks were broken so it wouldn’t open on the the key. A replacement button was soldered on to enable to customer to drive home until the locks were repaired.

Keys locked in car boot.

Keys locked in car
Lexus IS200 non destructive entry.

90% of the time when called to a vehicle with keys locked in the car / boot it will be raining. This case of keys locked in the boot in Ross on Wye was no exception to the rule.

It was dry when taking photos of the vehicle before touching it. By the time tools touched the car it was a cloudburst for the next few minutes.

We open vehicles without damage. We have the correct tools for the purpose, and the knowledge how to use them. We do not bend doors open, stick bits of coat hanger or string down the side of the door, or try any of the YouTube fantasies such as half tennis balls. That’s just going to damage or bend your door, perhaps shatter your window, or at best make you look a wally.

If your car has been deadlocked then no amount of fishing about with bits of wire down the side of the door will open it. You need an auto locksmith to make a non destructive entry, or find yourself a brick and a new window.

A few weeks ago I was called to cut a replacement car key somewhere in the Forest as it had snapped. It was a weekend evening. One of the national breakdown companies was sending somebody from Luton to cut the key – at a cost of £600!!!! The customer was required to expected to pay this up front and the breakdown company would subsequently reimburse them. The customer understandably rang around locally instead and cancelled the guy coming from Luton.

Last week I opened an car for a customer who had been locked out, standing in a supermarket car park for 10 hours. 2 patrols from a national breakdown service had been unable to open the boot to retrieve the keys and they had sent a recovery truck to take it away. Due to being a cabriolet there was no boot release inside the main body of the car. The boot had probably never been opened with the key since the day the car was built. It’s always worth using your metal key to open the doors every so often, just to stop the locks from seizing.

Replacement remote for AUDI TTS

Here is an additional remote we provided for a nearby dealer. On this era VW/Audi/Skoda the transponder chip that the immobiliser checks for is separate from the remote PCB. Although it is possible to re-use 2nd hand remote parts on these, it can be a false economy and we will normally only use new components.

Replacement Audi TT key
Replacement remotes for Audi

Mistubishi L200 remote key replacement

Mistubishi L200 remote key

Replacement car key/remote supplied, cut and programmed for a Mitsubishi L200. Less than half dealer price (and considerably cheaper and quicker than it would have been if the only key had become lost).

With many Asian vehicles a spare key must be a remote key. A simple transponder (chipped) key may not cancel the alarm or stop the hazards flashing if it has been locked using a remote. With European/US vehicles a programmed key will almost always cancel the alarm if it is put in the ignition and turned on. Therefore Euro/US vehicles can just have a cheaper transponder (chipped) key as a backup spare.

Late night locksmith call out due to a £1 spring

Shortly before midnight we were called to secure a UPVC house door. Their only key had snapped in the lock and the door could not be secured.

This was all caused just because of the broken springs in the handles. The weight of the handle was causing them to droop rather than them returning to centre. As a result the mechanism hadn’t set correctly and it took excessive force to turn the key.

UPVC handle spring cassettes

Because the customer had been ignoring the droopy handle it ended being a lot more costly than it would just to change the springs. A droopy or floppy handle might just look unsightly, but it could potentially cause your entire door to be jammed shut, or unlockable. Luckily in this case the key broke before the multipoint mechanism did.

A repair or adjustment to a UPVC door or window is almost always more economical than a complete replacement.

UPVC door mechanism repair – again

We are very busy for door repairs this week. Normally they peak early spring/late autumn. Shown below are parts of a very clearly broken top case. This particular part is long since discontinued but somebody makes a repair part for the case. This make/model full length mechanism is also unobtainable, although the gearboxes can be found.

Because the gearbox (not shown) has an odd PZ (handle-spindle distance) a complete replacement with modern mechanism would have been more expensive than a repair, and also required new handles to fit the modern handle-spindle distance.

UPVC repair top case

Double glazing & UPVC repairs are normally far, far cheaper than replacing the entire window or door. Recently we repaired a door during the afternoon for over £1000 less than the price the customer was quoted for a replacement door earlier that morning.

Garador lock (pre 1984) replacement

Keys were lost to this old (pre 1984) style garage door lock in the Forest of Dean. A key could be obtained to the code on the lock but that leaves the missing key unaccounted for. Simplest and most secure was to pick the lock on the back of the handle to enable it to be replaced for a brand new lock.

Pre-1984 Garador handle
Pre 1984 style Garador lock.
Pre 1984 Garador lock
Pre-1984 Garador up and over door lock.

Although the lock above is Union branded they are commonly seen with the L&F variant instead.

Importance of UPVC door alignment

If your UPVC door is difficult to lock, or hitting the frame – get it adjusted. Leaving it will end up breaking the mechanism and being unable to open your door, or unable to lock it.

Wo0rn UPVC roller

Take a look at the part above and how extremely worn it is. It is part of the mechanism of a UPVC front door that eventually jammed shut. This door must have been wearing against the frame for several years. We were called to open the door and carry out repairs. Repeated strain and force required to lift the handle eventually broke the gearbox. A simple adjustment would have stopped this from happening.

Some unusual multipoint mechanisms can cost over £200 just for the part.

UPVC door repair

We were called to repair a set of UPVC French doors. The door could not be locked because the multipoint mechanism had broken. This was caused by the door swinging open with such force against the wall that it was ripping the door off its hinges. This in turn caused the door to drop out of alignment.

UPVC door hinge
Hinges damaged due to door swinging open
UPVC door repair

Because of the failed gearbox the customer had temporarily secured the doors by tying the handles together with a shoelace.

If you are experiencing any difficulty locking a UPVC door, 90% of the time it is due to mis-alignment. Unless you get the door correctly adjusted the gearbox will fail. This will result in a door jammed shut, or cannot be locked.