Thursday, December 25, 2014

Lexus Trunk Lockout

As a locksmith technician with many years of experience under the belt you tend to run into some locking situations that seem to be fairly tricky to resolve. A lot of times I would get called for a lockout job where the trunk cannot be opened because the alarm is armed or the valet safety lock will be on as well. Most of the times it would be on foreign type vehicles such as Lexus, Toyota, Infinity, etc.

The other day I got a call from a customer complaining he accidentally dropped the keys into the trunk of his 95 Lexus and closed it while he unloaded his shopping. Luckily for him, the entire vehicle was unlocked, but obviously he needed the keys. Thinking it would be a walk in the park since most of these vehicles are equipped with trunk release button, I agreed to accept the job.

Once I got to the job site and started to play with the trunk release button, I realized I was wasting with no response due to the fact that the valet lock for the trunk release was locked which means the alarm still might be on. I went into my locksmith manual, but couldn't find direct instructions for this particular Lexus model which was GS300. However, I did find a process which belonged to a similar year model which instructed to remove the lower dash panel and locate a clip around the valet lock which by removing it will allow the trunk to pop.

When I finally removed the panel, and try locating the clip, I was not able to find it. However, I did see couple of electrical wires coming out of the lock and immediately assumed it goes to the alarm system. At that point I figured my best bet is to "jump" the lock so i can pop the trunk and so I did. I removed the lower wire, and with a U shape wire I jumped the upper wire and i was able to open the trunk. Although i do not recommend using this method since damage to the vehicle alarm system or computer may occur, it was the only way I could think of at that moment to retrieve the customer's keys from the trunk.

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Merry Christmas!!!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Truck Lid Lockout Tip

I got a call the other day from a customer complaining he lost the key to the lid on the back of his 2000 Ford F-150 truck. Normally the way I would approach these types of jobs is by picking the lock which shouldn't take very long and I could be on my way in a matter of minutes. However, for some reason, I did not have much luck dealing with the lid on that truck. When I got to the job site and started working on the lock with my picking tool, it did not work as well as I thought. I called one of my fellow locksmith technicians and he advised me to look into the safety latch pull and so I did.

Looking a little closer, I noticed the safety latch that was located to the left of the lock cylinder. It seem to be held by a Velcro piece,but was still accessible if approached in an angle. I took a Slim Jim and cut small slot at the end of it using a dremel tool I had. Then I used couple of plastic pieces to protect the paint while I'm sliding the Slim Jim through them into the lid. Once I got about 6 inches with the Slim Jim inside the lid, I was able to catch the release lever and I pulled in order to open the lid. Although I was able to open it, the open springs seem to be very tight, so I had to use some force when I pulled on it.

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Residential Key-Less Entry Lock System

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Mazda Ignition Fix

I got a call recently from a customer complaining that his vehicle's key got stuck in the ignition switch. The vehicle was a 90 Mazda 929. According to the customer, the key seemed to get stuck once he was turning it to turn the car off and was not able to remove it after that. The customer also informed me that he had a locksmith technician he knew tried working on it, but without success. Once I got to the job site, I ran a quick inspection and saw that even thou the key was stuck in the ignition, I was still able to turn it to start the car and to the "accessory" position as well. When I looked closely after shutting the car off while I was doing the inspection, I noticed that the key would not turn all  the way to the "off" position. I then realize that this might be the problem, and if I could align it properly and get it all the way to the "off" position, the key will come out. In order to do that, I had to take apart the column shroud in order to see what causes the key to not turn all the way.

Once I got the steering column trim, I noticed there was a cable coming out from the top of the lock that seemingly will move forward and backward as the shift lever is changed from the D to R position. The cable however, seem to function properly, so that was eliminated as a cause to the issue. The next thought I had was maybe there is a bent or broken wafer inside the switch that will prevent the key from being removed. At that moment i realized I didn't have any choice and removed the ignition switch. However, when I took it out and inspected it, it seem to work fine, but once it was installed again, it seem to have the same problem. I then went further to remove the shift lever and I noticed that there was a component there that prevented from the the cylinder lock to go all the way to the "off" position. When I looked closer, I noticed it was a plunger that has an impression mark on it where it would stick to the lock. In order to solve this, I gently file the mark on the plunger piece and re-installed everything the way it was and the key finally was removed without any issues.

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Spokane Locksmith Ignition Service

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Unlocking A Safe

During my time as a professional locksmith technicians I got called few times for "safe" jobs. Opening safe jobs can be very tricky at times. Recently, I was called to open a "Maximum" brand fire safe and I came up with a good way to open the key lock on it which made the job much easier. Normally, the key-way on these type of safes is very small which makes them very hard to pick. In case drilling cross your mind, make a note that the lock is very hard and maybe nearly impossible to replace.

The method I came up with starts by unscrewing the escutcheon that is located on the front of the safe which connects to the horn of the lock. Once that was done, on the right side of the cylinder housing you will see a set screw which will be your goal to get to. This screw would need to be removed out of the way in anyway you can. Its going to be easier using a small chisel to turn the screw and a pair of needle nose pliers in order to remove it completely. Now that the screw set is out of the way, all that is left is rotating the cylinder and the lock should open.

While doing this process, there is a s slight chance that the tail-piece will bent a little, but it should be fairly easy to straighten it back. Now that the door is open and the cylinder is out, all that is left is finding a V61A blank which is a Volvo gas cap key and a slighly curved shim. Put the blank in the cylinder and shim pick it from the rear, once it is open, remove the plug, and now you will be able to cut the proper key for the lock.

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About Mortise Locks

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