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Internet Keys

People often call to ask me to cut or program a key or fob they have bought over the internet.  I never cut internet keys, because the metals in them can be too soft or too hard, which will reduce the life of my cutters, and, in some cases, damage them.  I usually will not program fobs bought online, because it is often a waste of my time, when the item doesn't work.  I recently had an experience like this that I wanted to share.  A customer had an existing remote head key, as well as an internet bought remote head key for his 2006 Dodge Durango.  Since he had an existing key, which had "lost it's programming" I bent my rule and tried to program both his existing key, and his internet fob.   I still did not cut the internet key.  Before even going to the car I tested both remotes to ensure they were sending signals when the buttons were pressed.  After confirming this, I plugged my programming tool into his truck, followed the process to program the remote portions of the keys in, but they wouldn't go.  I tried multiple times with no luck on either of the remotes.  Finally I offered to try one of the remote head keys from my stock.  The one from my stock programmed in the first time.  I cut that key and sent him on his way.  This wasted time with keys and remotes of unknown origin is why I say no when you ask me to cut or program your internet key.

January 2016 Update

I just realized it's been a while since I posted anything into the blog.  I've decided to just do periodic updates with some of the more noteworthy jobs I have completed recently.

2004 Honda Pilot ignition rebuild:  The Honda high security ignitions are prone to problems over time due to the way the cylinder is designed.  The first symptoms the customer will notice will be the ignition being a little finicky.  This will soon be followed by the ignition not turning at all.  Then you're stuck.  The dealer's solution to this problem is to replace all of the locks on the car with new ones and give you new keys.  This is a very costly job, in both parts and labor.  As a locksmith I can just rebuild the ignition you have and get you back on the road in hours and a fraction of the dealer cost.

Remote Repairs: We had a customer bring in 2 remotes which were not working at all.  We opened them up to find parts had come loose from the circuit boards. With a little precision soldering were able to get both of these remotes back to working order.

Estate Sale Lockout: I had my largest audience ever for a lockout recently.  There was an estate sale scheduled for 10am on a Friday and someone had locked a deadbolt they were not supposed to, leaving the estate sale agents locked out with about 40 customers waiting to see the wares.  So with the added pressure of the large audience I went to work picking the lock.  In about 5 minutes I had the door opened and the sale commenced.   It actually took longer to receive the proof of ownership of the house than it did for me to unlock it.  While I was there I created a key for the locks to prevent this type of thing from happening again.

Sliding Glass Door Lock:  This was an interesting one.  The customer was having problems with their lock not functioning, but things got much worse when they took out the 2 screws to see what was wrong.  As soon as they took the second screw out they heard something fall into the door.  With no markings on the door or any clue whatsoever about who had make the lock, or the door, they had no idea what to do to fix it.  It didn't look like anything they could find at the home improvement stores or online.  After a few pictures were exchanged with me through text messages I went out to the house.  With a little ingenuity I was able to extract the fallen piece from the inside of the door.  It also required a slight adjustment to fix the problem they were originally having.  Without having to buy any new parts the lock is again working as good as new.

2005 GMC Yukon Stuck Ignition: Just like the Honda of the earlier story the customer could not get their ignition to turn.  Unlike the Honda, a GMC ignition cannot be removed without turning the cylinder.  So before we could fix this one, we had to somehow get the ignition to turn.  I tried all of the tricks to get it to turn without getting destructive, but there was no way.  I ended up breaking off the face plate (the 2005 Yukon does not have the ear type ignition.  The ear type ignition is for vehicles that have the counterclockwise accessory position.)  Once the face plate was off I could get a tool in position to force the sidebar in enough to turn the ignition.  After that, it was just a matter of keying up a new ignition to his key and putting it back in.


That's it for now, hopefully I will remember to post monthly. 

Hugged by customer

Today I received an interesting call from a customer.  She was stranded 100 miles from home at a local restaurant after her car keys were flushed down the toilet.  I didn't ask the circumstances behind the flush, because I was pretty sure she was in no mood to discuss it.  So it's Saturday night and you're stranded without your car keys, what do you do?  The dealerships are closed and won't reopen until Monday.  Luckily this customer knew to call a licensed locksmith.


The customer was still eating their dinner when I arrived.  I asked for proof of ownership (this is usually a drivers license and the registration for the vehicle).  After ensuring she was the owner of the vehicle I began my work of creating a key for the car while they finished their dinner.  When they came out from their dinner I was just finishing up with the key.  After making her payment she hugged me and said "thank god people like you are around".

I was her second call

I received a call from a customer asking how much it would cost to rekey one lock (without the key) on her residence.  I told her the total would be $80.  She asked if I was sure that was all it would cost, becase she has another guy there saying it is going to cost her $240.  I assured her it would only be $80, but I also gave her some advice on how to handle the "locksmith" she already had at her house.  This is advice anyone can use if they suspect they are being scammed by one of these guys.  I told her to ask to see his locksmith license.  If anyone is trying to charge you for locksmith work in Illinois without a locksmith license or a locksmith PERC card you are under no obligation to pay them.  Offer to call the police to sort it out.  I guarantee you the unlicensed person will leave before the police arrive.  Be sure to write down their license plate number and call a licensed locksmith to ensure your house is secure.

Everest High Security Threepeat

Today a customer brought 3 high security Schlage Everest locks into the store without the keys (he had bought a condominium from a foreclosure auction and only had a key to the front door and none of the interior doors).  A Schlage Everest is considered high security due to a sidebar in the cylinder which will not allow the lock to turn unless the correct key blank is installed.  This makes picking the locks much more difficult and nearly impossible.  I utilized another tried and true method to open the locks.  Since the locks were in leverset locks it meant I had to unlock them once to remove the lever from the latch mechanism then remove the cylinder from the lever and unlock them again to rekey them.  Two of them went fine, but the third was a royal pain.  So I shimmed the lock open - if you don't know what that means you can watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOBYEgVB9Jo, but because of the sidebar I had grind a key down all the way and insert it in order to turn the cylinder.  It was an interesting job that I thought I would share.