Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Having Fun Yet?

Most of my locksmith jobs come from car dealerships, or from their referrals. This afternoon I got a call from one of my Ford service line friends. It was a heat case job where the customer had her vehicle towed to Ford because she’d had her keys stolen. For one reason or another, the key code that Ford had on file did not work and the vehicle was blocking one of the service lanes.

I got the call to fit the key, cut a pair of PATS keys and program the system so that they could get the car out of the way. I looked at the driver side door lock which had been worked on based on the poorly fitting weather seal around the lock. I asked if one key worked all the locks; door, ignition and trunk. The customer shook her head to indicate, “yes”. I figured out the cuts for the door; the first six cuts on the key. I then began the “progression” to eliminate the last two cuts which would then turn the ignition and trunk locks; nothing worked and so I re-read the door and started over. I did this twice before asking once more, “Are you sure that the same key fit the door and the rest of the locks?”

“I bought the car used and never used the key in that lock; only the little clicker button thing.” Well at least I had a pretty good idea that the locks had been changed and so I decided to “force” the ignition to the on position with a specialty tool, remove it and replace it with a new one. The force tool distorted the original shape of the ignition switch and made removal much more difficult. I ended up having to pry it out very carefully, not wishing to destroy the information within so that I would have the trunk key information that I still needed.

It took the best part of an hour to get it all done, cut two programmable keys, program the PATS system and explain to the customer that she indeed had a 2 key vehicle; not that it was supposed to be that way, just that it was that way. “Oh, my brother did that when it got wrecked. I should have told you that. You should see the way he wired up the electric windows; what a mess.” At least I have enough self control not to shoot customers, even the really stupid ones. My real customer, the car dealership, was just glad to get her car out of the service drive lane and a little relieved that I really did know how to make keys, even under pressure.

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