Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cylinder Picking Tip

Sometimes being a locksmith technician mean improvising in order to find a solution for a job. I got a call a while back from a customer who apparently misplaced the key to her home and couldn't get in. Knowing lockout situations are my field of expertise, I accepted the job and headed out to the customer location. When I got to the location I did a quick inspection to evaluate the situation. It seem that the customer's front door was equipped with Pella handle sets that had profile type cylinders.

The first thing I usually do in these types of situations is trying to pick the lock. However, in that particular situation it was a little difficult since the handle-sets had over-sized levers. Eventually, I was able to pick the cylinder, but for some reason as I turned the lever to open the door, nothing was happening. I tried picking it again couple other times, but it didn't seem to help. I even tried picking it in the other direction, but that attempt was not successful as well. At that moment, I figured I would have to have a matching key that will help turn the cam to completely unlock the door.

The issue was getting the key inside the cylinder after I pick it since all the pins will be neutralize at that point. After messing around with my pick tool a little more, I decided to stop for fear i might eventually break it inside the cylinder. I moved on to my second option which was using a bump key, but not only it did not helped as well, the customer was starting to get a little nervous from me banging that key against her door's vintage handle-set. Just as it seem things would not get any better, I came up with an idea to cut a DE6 blank key to #7 cuts and use it along with picking to give me the extra grip turning the lock open. Once I got the key ready, I picked the cylinder again and this time I turned it a quarter turn only. I then inserted the custom key that I made and was able to further turn the rest of cylinder enough to retract the bolt and the door was finally open!  

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Lock Repair in Spokane

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ford Ignition Lock Tip

As a locksmith technician, during many years in the field, you tend to run into the same issues with similar jobs over and over again. One of those repeating problematic situations that I recall is working with Ford 10 cut ignition models. The recurring issue with these type of ignitions is that the ears become loose over time. That type of situation will create difficulty in the proper operations of the key with the ignition. Usually, the solution for this common problem, is replacing the ignition lock, with an addition of instructing the customer not to put too much force on the ears while operating the key, otherwise, the problem will happen again.

After dealing with this type of issue repeatedly servicing Ford ignitions, I came up with a good solution that will prevent the ears on the ignition to come loose again no matter what. First thing first is obviously remove the ignition from the steering column followed by removing the cylinder plug from it as well. Now it is required to insert a proper Ford key blank in order to align the ears with the key-way. Next, locate the groove that held the ears to the cylinder plug.Then, drilling a small hole on the side where the metal on the plug seem to be a little thicker followed by dropping a little epoxy into the hole and insert a roll pin into it. Once the epoxy dries, a little filing on the pin will be required to flush it straight with the plug. This will permanently cause the ears to be attached to the plug.

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Commercial Lock Re-Key Service

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

GM Ignition Tip

As a locksmith technician key origination level of difficulties tend to vary a lot from vehicle to vehicle. Most of the time the ignition cylinder would need to be access and removed in order to look at the code that will allow to originate a new key. However, I found out that on some mid 90's GM vehicles, having a working door key can make the job much easier. From my experience I can confirm the above is true for 95-00 Oldsmobile Aurora models. It seemed to me that the bittings for the door key are the same as for the ignition key. The only different is that the door key is usually being cut using a standard GM 10 cut blank and the ignition key is a VATS 10 cut blank key.

With the information I got from GM, that model intended to have the key fits all models. According to GM, there is a reason that there are two keys being used for the vehicle(one for the door and one for the ignition). The reason would be since they couldn't figure out how to make the VATS ignition key to open the door because the VATS chip seem to interfere with insertion of the key inside the lock. Because of that, GM decided to use two different keys that would work using the same bittings. This may work on mid to late 90's various Buick models.

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Automotive Lockout Winter Solution in Spokane

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Door Knob Bumper Guard

Every time I will get a call for a re-key job, usually for a house, I would inspect all of the exterior structures which include the house gate(if equipped) and the garage as well. This helps me usually to inform the customer I can provide the re-key services on these structures as well which will give him the option to use the same key on these structures and at the same time will help me to increase my ticket sale. In order to encourage the customer to make the decision, I explain him that later on if there will be a need to re-key the property by a professional locksmith, it will be done without requiring the purchase of new locks, etc since all of the cylinders would be on the same key-way. Most of the time, the customer agree to have all of the exterior structures of the house to be re-keys since it means dealing with less keys to keep track of. At the same time, it is a good opportunity for me to increase my sell by selling new padlocks or locks to fit the exterior structures such as the gate.

One more are that I usually inspect is the walls behind the doors for possible damage from hitting it with the knob every time the door opens. This usually allow me to sale the home owner, or property manager a door bumper wall protector cover plate that can be found on most hardware stores. These plate will usually be mounted on the wall just behind the impact point of the knob with the wall to avoid more damage. I usually won't charge much  for them installed, and the homeowners or property managers go for them most of the time as it saves them money from fixing future damage to the wall

Visit the following links to learn more about our locksmith services in Spokane, WA. | Spokane Locksmith Solutions.

Key-Less Entry Lock System

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Kwikset Key Extraction

I recently got a call from a customer who seem to break his key inside the lock while trying to unlock the front door of his home. Once I got to the job site, I came to find that the customer was actually trying to use the wrong key which resulted in the key being jammed inside the lock and broke. Like any other key extraction job, I tried using my extractor tool, but for some reason it didn't work very well.

Instead of trying to drill the cylinder in order to unlock the door, I decided to try one last trick in order to remove the broken key from the lock. I drilled a small hole for a little more than half of an inch deep in the larger part of the key blade that I could actually see. Next step, I inserted a spiral type extractor tool into the hole I drilled and made sure it was tightly fitted. Then, I used a pair of needle nosed pliers at the end of the spiral extractor tool and started pulling on the pliers and at the same time tapped the top of the pliers with a small hammer.

Even though the broken piece was tightly jammed inside the key-way of the lock, I was still able to extract it out using the process described. When I finally got the broken piece out, I noticed it was a Kwikset type key, but the lock on the front door was a Schlage. Out of curiosity, I asked the customer how he manged to get the key that far in, he answered that he thought there was ice inside the lock and decided to force the key in using a hammer borrowed from his neighbor.

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Mortise Locks

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Illinois Type Lock Plug Removal

During my years as a locksmith technician I had encounter many jobs where I had to service Illinois Duo and double sided disk locks. I came up with a great technique that helped me down the road servicing those types of locks without too much trouble. Sometimes, when getting a call for a residential lockout job where the front door is equipped with these types of locks, most of the time, the code will be stamped on the face of the lock. In such case that the lock will be visible, it would be much easier to cut a key and finish the job. However, sometimes, the code would be on the back of the plug and out of sight unless it is removed from the cylinder itself. These cylinder are usually held inside by an internal retaining ring that will not be reachable unless there is a key. In such case, this is where the technique i came up with come into play.  This is where my trick comes into play.

The first step to begin with the process is to drill and tap a hole on the left side next to the key-way wide enough that a #6- 32 screw will fit. It is important not to drill the hole more than 3/16" deep. Now the next step would be to Insert the screw and using an automotive type lock extractor in order to pull the plug out of the cylinder housing. Once the plug will be out, the bolt can be probed back to the open position. At this point, there will be few possibilities, replacing the lock, or make a new key since now the code will be visible after the plug is out. In case of a decision for making a new key, next step would be to repair the slightly damaged lock. The repair would only be involve snapping the retaining ring back to the plug and the plug back into the cylinder. Before replacing the plug, be sure to de-burr it and the cylinder, if necessary. To make the lock look more ecstatic, the screw should be cut off, and grind the res of it.

Visit the following links for more information about locksmith services in Spokane, WA | Spokane locksmith solutions.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ignition Roll Pin Tip

I used to complain a lot o one of the locksmith companies I was working with when they sent me to a job where I had to remove a Nissan or Ford Escort ignition in order to fix it or to originate a new key. What gave me the aggravation doing those type of jobs was trying to remove the roll pins in order to remove the ignition cylinder. I got a tip from a fellow locksmith technician to drill a 3/32" or an 18" hole along side of the roll pin and then using a blunted ice pick or scratch awl, in order to pry the pin up and out. Not only it was very difficult, I often ended up with holes in my hands or fingers when the ice pick slipped, or I would inconsistently cut myself on a sliver of metal when the ice pick slipped and gouged the housing. In any event, removing these ignitions has been a pain for me.

Now, what I did in order to modify the method a little bit was still drilling the hole beside the roll pin, but instead of using an ice pick or scratch awl, I use a #10 or a 815 Torx screwdriver. Usually, those pins will come right out on the first try  while using the Torx and my fingers would be unharmed. It was amazing how the Torx screwdrivers have turned what usually be a thirty minute job into a ten minute job for me. If  any technician will try this method, I he or she will be surprised at how well it works. Although I have not yet broken Torx driver, I do use the ones that have a lifetime guarantee.

Check out these links for more information about locksmith services in the area of Spokane, Washington | Spokane locksmith solutions.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How To Handle GM Lock Retainer

Many automotive locksmith technicians who had the chance to work with a lot of GM door locks, probably found loose, broken or distorted wafer spring retainer. Many of them probably had to do call backs regarding those vehicles on cylinders that were serviced where the retainer dislodged from the plug even after staking. I have found a solution to the problem that will prevent technicians form the hassle of going back to the same job for support.

I use a second retainer leg, that was modified by me and installed alongside the loose end of the first retainer. To make this second retainer leg work, I used a grinder to grind the leg of the retainer to a knife edge. Next, I inserted the modified retainer leg alongside the loose retainer and slowly tap it down all the way. That will effectively wedges the loose retainer in place. If required, I sometimes use one of my modified retainer legs on both ends of the first wafer retainer. Then I will break off the rest of the retainer flush with the plug.

Sometimes it would be necessary to file or grind the leg down in order to get it even with the top of the plug. Once the broken edges were smoothed out of the retainer and its easy to tell they are even with the edge of the plug, the key and the plug would need to be inserted into the cylinder making sure the plug rotates without binding, or hanging up. If it does, reassemble the lock and re-install it in the vehicle.

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Commercial Property Exit Devices

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Transponder Blank Tip

Some things any locksmith should know about transponder keys. When you are looking to get blanks for automotive key making, know that the prices range between $5 to $60 in the aftermarket. Because of the growing market, what makes it even worse is that a $5 blank key can and may seem like a $60 key, but surely enough they will not be compatible. So, a scenario where you will waste $60 on cutting the wrong blank can happen. The result would be wasting an expensive blank because of the idea it might work, but it didn't.

What complicates the issue is the fact that several blank and vehicle changes could happen before the information on which key to use on which car filters down to us. So when comes the time to make a key and you're not sure about which key to use and want to avoid wasting an expensive transponder blank, try the following:

1.Stick your mechanical key in the ignition.
2.Get your programming tool ready.
3.let the transponder blank you're not sure about, and place it next to the bow of the mechanical key. Remember to keep it there.
4.Attempt to program vehicle.

If the vehicle programs will duplicate the cuts to the transponder key, the job is done. If it doesn't work, you'll know you are using the wrong blank. However, it will prevent you from wasting and cutting the wrong blank. Now You can go to the next possible match transponder blank on your list. This method will also help you to determine which blanks are compatible with the different cars.
This method is a good practice to use when you can't determine which blank to use and you can't find the information anywhere on the instruction manual.

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Automotive Locksmith Services in Spokane

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Lock Picking Tips

One of the most popular technique used by locksmith to open a lock is picking. If a Control Key is not available, the best way to remove a core would be to pick the lock open. Remember that in a 1- core lock there are 2 shear-lines. The lock must be picked at the Control Shear-line to efficiently remove the core. This presents the problem of how to exert pressure on the Control Lug while picking the lock. Since the turning pressure must be applied to the Sleeve only, a special turning tool must be used. This tool will catch the Sleeve through the 7 or 6 small holes at the bottom of the Sleeve and prevents the Operating Shear-line from being activated and the Plug turned.

It is important to remember that picking a core at its Control Shear-line means that the Top Pins will remain at the top of the shear-line, in the upper Shell and the Control Pins will be inside the Sleeve, flush with the top. Understanding the architecture of the core will show to the locksmith technician that the pin stack needs to be raised only a very slight distance to place the pins flush at the Control Shear-line. This can be displayed by a Coded 9-cut in a Control Key. That specific pin stack will already be at the Control Shear-line. Each cut of a lesser degree followed, will only change .0125 of an inch from the Control Shear-line if in an A2 System. It is recommended to use very small picks that will accommodate 1-core locks. When removing a core from a mortise lock, pay attention that some mortises may contain a small set screw that most likely be holding the core in place.

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Broken Key Extraction

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Good Locksmith Business Practices

As a locksmith technician, it is always important to be prepared with a complete set of working tools and supplies in your service van, so you are ready to go when a job comes in. The basic difference in your planning for part or full time locksmith operation involves the outside, or on-the-site, work. Practicing being a locksmith only part-time, you can't expect to build a proper income without taking jobs that require you driving around town and sometimes even a little further, or by taking those jobs that fit into your free time. Once you get into it full time, you will have to do all those things.

As you develop a steady incoming outside work, you will want to make some arrangements to take care of the drop-in customer when you are not in the shop. You can train a helper to operate the Key Machine and to make keys while customers are coming into your store for them. Be sure to train the helper properly, so he would know exactly what the customer wishes done and write down everything to when you return and be able to fulfill the customer's needs.

If you do not get a helper and you must leave the shop because you
got called on a job, make sure you will leave a sign showing when you will return. If you work out such a system such as leaving a sign showing when you will return, or telling the customer how to deposit instructions for work he needs to get done, it might save you a lot of business that otherwise can be lost or worse, go to the competition.

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Master-Key System

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Padlock Decoding Tip

In our locksmith company, we usually decode many combos of padlocks. We usually do it as an exercise, but its also good to preserve the padlock itself, learn the theory behind it, and other basic things. One of the things that usually give us a hard time while decoding is after reading the gates through the shackle hole, we can't get the combination right on the first try.

For a Master 1500D padlock, we usually add 11 to the number decoded from the shackle hole, to get the combination number. At times the reading will be off by one or two increments and will cause it to not working. With other padlocks, the number added will vary,  but will only be found with trial and error. Running into these kind of issues, I learned how to get the right combination. Here its where the progression and manipulation kicks in.

When misreading the gates, we would usually end up locking some of the padlocks we would work on, with no way to start over since the shackle will be locked out. We needed to find a way to start over. When it comes time to test the combination, we don't lock the lock's shackle. What we do is use another combo padlock's shackle.

This is done by pushing in and twisting the shackle until the locking dog engages. Pull on it and it is effectively locked. The borrowed shackle lock is perpendicular to the back of the lock to be worked on. Now the right combination is set, and the shackle will pop out just as if it were the lock's own shackle. But the advantage this time is that if we won't get the right combo, and need to start over, the shackle won't lock and we will be able to do that. Check out the following link for more interesting tips.

Automotive Locksmith Service in Spokane

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Door Lock Service

A fellow locksmith technician sent me a job recently to make a key for a 1989 LeMan's lock. I had some experience with those locks before. As I experienced before, the wafers were severely corroded from non-use and no lubrication, and were stuck tightly in their chambers. My solution to the problem is to saturate the plug and wafers with WD-40 and after allowing it to work for a bit, I force the wafers out of the plug with a small screwdriver.

Sometimes, I would have to use a small hammer in order to accomplish this task. Once I have them all loosened sufficiently, I take one wafer at a time and rub them against an 8' Bastard Cut file. I hold the wafers of either side and gently rub them against the file until the corrosion is removed and the wafer is showing its original brass color!

After cleaning each wafer, I put them back in the plug and remove the next one and repeat the cleaning process. You have to be careful with the cleaned wafers, as they will now easily fall out of the chamber. Once it was finished and it was time to make the key, my TNL software gave me the three missing cuts without having to progression. Check out the following link for more info regarding similar locksmith services.

Residential Locksmith Service in Spokane (509) 592-4717

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

About Transponder Keys

Like many other locksmith technicians that have enough experience under their belt, I found that most people who have a vehicle equipped with a transponder key base system, do understand or know what it is that they have. Usually I try my best to explain them and even show them. I keep one of those clear-headed Ford keys with the visible capsule always with me in my service vehicle. When I present the key to the customer and explain about it, I'll point out the windings and explain it is a little antenna, and that a two-way communication takes place between the car's computer and the key in order to determine that the correct key is being used.

When the customer see the key and hear my explanation, they understand better. I usually do that to the customers even when they don't ask, or whether or not I am even working on their car. The subject just seems to come up from now and then. Keeping one of these keys handy is a little thing that I do to try to educate the customers. It seems those who do know that they have that "special key", most of the time been told that they can only get that particular key at the dealer. Check out the following company link if you ever need a transponder key made in Spokane area.

Our Team Wishing You a Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Toyota Camry Ignition

According to the locksmith company who sent me the job, the ignition on a 2000 Camry was changed and it didn't match the rest of the car. The owner refused to let me remove the steering wheel so I could get my face close enough to read the wafers on the in–dash lock and no amount of picking worked. With the steering wheel in the way, drilling was not possible because of the angle, and impressioning broke two keys.

What finally worked beyond my expectations, was attacking the retainer with a Dremmel #193 end mill (A #194 may have worked better, but all I had was the #193). Since I did not allow the bit to cool off, the end mill bit eventually melted the tip, but not before drilling a bull’s-eye down the center of the retainer. I finished it off with a grinding stone total of actual drilling time, less than two minutes and the ignition slipped right out

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oldsmobile Aurora Ignition Tip

The following ignition tip is applicable for the 1995-2000 Oldsmobile Aurora. If at any time a locksmith company is need to originate an ignition key for this vehicle and the customer has a working door key, the job will be much easier. The bittings for the door key are the same for the ignition key. The door key is usually cut on a B85 GM10 cut blank, and the ignition is cut on a GM 10 cut VATS blank.

This vehicle was intended to be a one way fit all. At least, that's what some GM technicians claims. It seems GM ran into a problem running the VATS key to work in the door of these vehicles. The pellet on the side of the key interfered with the insertion of the key into the door lock. So, GM used two different keys, but kept the bittings the same on both. This process may work on 1995-99 Buick Riviera and 1997-99 Buick Century and Regal.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Locksmith Services in Spokane, WA – (509) 592-4717

Locksmith Services in Spokane, WA – (509) 592-4717

About NorthWest Locksmith Spokane...

NorthWest Locksmith Spokane is a locally owned and operated locksmith company that offer many services around the greater Spokane metro area. We provide a variety of locksmith services such as residential, commercial, and automotive. All of out technicians are fully trained, licensed, bonded, and insured, so you can be confident you are in good hands!
Whether you are locked out of your home in Fairwood, or need a new ignition to your car in Post Falls, Idaho, we got you covered!! Our technicians are fully equipped with vehicles, so we travel to you anytime, anywhere!
Some of the locksmith services we offer are:

  • Lockouts
  • Ignition repair/replace
  • Key extraction
  • Key duplication
  • Transponder keys
  • Re-key
  • and much more!
Our friendly representatives are standing by, so call now! (509) 592-4717

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