All posts by Simon Blatz

My Chrysler ignition will not turn.

Over the last several months we have received calls with customers having ignition problems on Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicles. Their typical issue is “my ignition is stuck” or “my key will not turn”.

This week we had two and I had finally remembered to take pictures for a blog post. So here it is.

Chrylser, Jeep and Dodge, use an eight cut side bar ignition. This ignition is very common, and regularly gets stuck. We see it on vehicles from eight years and older. It is not exactly a design defect, but from use.

Root causes

The three key reasons your ignition gets stuck are (a) a worn key, (b) dirt/lint and (c) worn wafers. The basic fix is for us to come out, get your ignition unstuck, remove, clean and rebuild it with new wafers and springs. If you key is still making the sidebar stick out, then we need to cut you a new key by code too. Well go through the hole process here.


Removing the ignition

The first step is getting your ignition unstuck by manually going in and moving the wafers back into position. Once the wafers are in position we can turn the lock to the on position in order to depress the ignition cylinder retainer. On rare cases with multiple (I have seen three) wafers are stuck, we need to drill into the ignition housing to depress the sidebar directly. Here is a picture of the ignition cylinder and housing removed.

chrysler ignition cylinger

Stuck Wafers

Once we have the cylinder out you can see the front 1-3 wafers (right side) being stuck down. Compared the the wafer 3-8 which are higher. See picture here.
front wafers stuck down

Removing wafers and cleaning the cylinder

With the ignition cylinder removed we then remove all of the wafers and springs. Looking closely you can see the grime build up inside the wafers. Also here is a picture of the ignition lock cylinder, housing, wafers, springs and key taken apart.

dirt in waferslock dissembled overview

Adding new wafers & springs

After cleaning, we put brand new springs and wafers into the lock using a Chrysler keying kit. Notice how the new shiny wafers all pop up to the same level now.  Compare to the stuck wafers picture above.

chrysler jeep dodge rekeying kitnew front wafers active

Seeing the difference in the side bar

Here you can see the side bar that is poped up on one side, compared to the rebuilt cylinder where the sidebar is flush. The side bar need to be flush in order for the ignition cylinder to turn.

side bar raised from stuck wafersside bar flush with new wafers

Checking the Key

The last step is to check the existing key in the new rebuilt cylinder. If the key rocks and the side bar can pop up, causing the cylinder to have difficulty turning, then a new key by code needs to be cut.

Now if your Chrylser, Jeep, Dodge or ignition is stuck or won’t turn, you can understand what is going on, and how we can fix it for you.

As always, we hope this is insightful for you and if you need help give us a call at 541-632-3968.



Special Order Items Policy

We have a new policy on special order items. Any special order item(s) require payment for the item(s) in advance.

A special order item is anything that we do not regularly stock on hand. This includes but not limited to remotes, keys, hardware and any other item.

We hope this helps clarify in writing our policy and our continued commitment to take care of you when you request it.


Does Your Insurance Cover Locksmith Work?

We frequently get asked whether we take insurance coverage or not. Since it varies we figured we would write about which insurance we do accept, the situations in which they are applied and a little bit about how the process works.

To cover the highlights, we always strongly prefer to accept payment directly from you and then have you submit for reimbursement with our receipts. If the insurance company contacts us for the work and offers to pay that is also acceptable for us. We cannot bill people who did not authorize the work.

On the quick notes, we do bill State Farm car insurance for lockouts and service calls because they work with and pay non contracted vendors.

On to the more specific situations.

The most common situations we get asked about for insurance coverage are: (a) car lockouts, (b) lost car keys and (c) theft of keys and re-keying both for vehicles and homes.

Car Lockouts and Lost Car Keys

For car lockouts most insurance companies have contracted emergency roadside assistance providers that cover this. Many do cover the service call or up to certain limits for lost keys. Most have client reimbursements for these items.Here is a chart of the major and most common car insurance companies in Oregon and their coverage:

Carrier  Roadside Assistance Unlocks Key Replacement Reimburse Vendor Reimburse Client Contracted Vendor
State Farm Yes Yes service call, not keys Yes Yes Yes
Farmers Yes Yes varies No Yes Yes
Geico Yes Yes varies No Yes Yes
Progressive Yes Yes service call, not keys No Yes Yes
Esurance Yes up to $75 up to $75 No Yes Yes
21st Century Yes Yes up to $150 No Yes Yes
Oregon Mutual Optional Yes service call, not keys No Yes Yes
PEMCO Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
AAA Yes Yes $50 to $100 coverage No Yes Yes
All State Optional $52/yr or $84/service $52/yr or $84/service No No Yes
Liberty Mutual Optional Yes No No No Yes

*note, these are what we have gathered from online, phone and in person research. Our information may not be 100% correct. We strongly recommend talking in depth with each company to very and receive more details about their emergency roadside assistance coverage.

Theft of Keys and Re-keying

Occasionally vehicle or house keys are damaged or stolen. This occurrence is very policy specific. We recommend contacting your agent. But here is what we have seen.

Vehicle keys can be covered if they were damaged for the same reason the vehicle is being repaired.

Vehicle re-keys and home re-keys can be covered under you home insurance policy. Normally the cost of the deductible is higher than the out of pocket cost of going direct, but we have had customers with this coverage.

A Little Bit About the Process

Most of the major insurance companies contract out their roadside assistance to service provides like Road America, AAA or Agero. Some operate there own fleet and/or further contract to smaller local towing and locksmith companies like ourselves.

So if you really push your insurance company to initially cover all the work and then have you pay the difference of what is not covered, we do receive and work for the large service providers that you originally call us about.

Overall if you want to have your insurance cover our services you need to contact and work through them and have them contact us directly. If you have an Oregon based State Farm coverage that is current and you are the authorizing individual we will bill them directly as long as you accept full responsibility for payment if your request is denied. If you do not want to go through the hassle at the moment you can check whether they reimburse you, pay us directly and then send the receipt in for reimbursement.

We hope this sheds some light on the insurance coverage for specific situations and how it works from the locksmith perspective.

Aluminum Storefront Door Security Reinforcement to Prevent Break-ins

Over the last couple of months there have been a series of aluminum store front break-ins at night. The person(s) has been using a crowbar to bend, break and move back the single point of latching to clear the frame on single and double aluminum store front doors on multiple businesses in Eugene. From our perspective as locksmiths it may be the same person, or it is at least a similar style of break in entry. But we will leave this to the police. to decide.

In this post, we are going to cover the standard aluminum store front door sets, the common points of securities, followed by different ways to increase your doors security and the package prices to do so.

Standard Aluminum Store Front Door Sets

An aluminum store front door has an aluminum outside frame with glass covering the majority of the inside panel. This is designed for retail spaces, for window shopping and a transparent welcoming attraction. This differs from a traditional solid core wood or metal door and the type of hardware and security needed.

The standard aluminum store front sets are (a) single doors and (b) double or a pair of doors. See pictures below. They can be built with 1 to 5 points of mechanical locking (not including  mag locks or other electronic security). A point of locking is where the active door engages with the door frame. Single doors typically are installed with one point of locking while a pair of doors have two points of locking.

aluminum store front door single edited


aluminum store front door pair

Basic Ways to Add Security

There are two basic ways to add mechanical security to aluminum store front doors. The first is by protecting the point(s) of locking with bolt guard and the second is by adding additional points of locking.

Bolt Guard

A bolt guard protects the exposed latch on an outward swinging door. It protects the latch in two ways, one is from a direct attack such as cutting the latch and the other is by spreading the distance of pressure available by the latch up and down on the door away from the latch from a prying attack. Here are two pictures of the bolt guard: one with the door closed and one where you see where the bolt is activated.

aluminum store front latch guardaluminum store front latch guard showing bolt protection














Vertical Rod(s) – Additional Points of Locking

Aluminum store front doors normally come with the swing bolt lock as the initial point of locking. The following additional point(s) of locking can be added:

Single Door

1) Swing Bolt Lock
2) Bottom Vertical Rod (engages into the floor)
3) Top Vertical Rod (engages into the top of the frame)

Total: three points of locking.

Here are pictures of a vertical bottom rod being activated (a top vertical rod is the same except it is on the top of the door and frame:

aluminum store front bottom bolt

Pair of Doors

1) Swing Bolt Lock
2) Bottom Vertical Rod (engages into the floor)
3) Top Vertical Rod (engages into the top of the frame)
4) Opposing Door Top Vertical Rod (engages into the top of the frame)
5) Opposing Door Bottom Surface Mounted Bolt (engages into the floor)

Total: five points of locking.

Here are pictures of the opposing top vertical rod activation and locking point; and the surface mounted bottom bolt.

aluminum store front opposing door vertical rod activation point



aluminum store front opposing door vertical rod activated

aluminum store front opposing door surface mount bottom bolt

Package Prices

If you are interested in increasing your aluminum store front door security here are the following prices and packages for businesses in the Eugene area.

Single Door(s)

1) Bolt Guard – $78
2) Bolt Guard + Bottom Vertical Rod – $148
3) Bolt Guard + Bottom Vertical Rod + Top Vertical Rod – $228

Pair of Door(s)

The above single door packages plus:

1) Opposing Door Top Vertical Rod – $ 114
2) Opposing Door Top Vertical Rod + Bottom Surface Mounted Bolt – $144

Note these price quotes are valid as of 1/3/15, prices may change. If you are interested in having us install an increase the security of aluminum store front doors call us at 541.632.3968.


Providing Quotes for free?

Recently there has been some confusion about surveys, quotes and taking care of customs needs. I figured it would be appropriate to publicize and lay out our guide lines for providing quotes and surveys. We hope that this will make it clear for both our customers, and ourselves in building better relationships.

The main topic of the post is for clarifying when quotes or surveys are free and when they are not. Here is a short list and I will go in depth lower.

Quotes are free:

  • Over the phone
  • Email or chat
  • with specifications sheets for the job

Quotes are not free:

  • when you want us to come to the site and help you figure out what you need


Over the phone

We quote jobs over the phone everyday. We ask a lot of questions to best understand your situation so we can quote you accurately. Work with us over the phone and it helps us better serve you.

Email or Chat

We have customers email or chat us for quotes weekly. Again we ask a lot of questions to better understand what you need to help. Note, that emails are checked once or twice a day. If you need a quote sooner call 541.632.3968.

Specifications Sheets

In Oregon any job that is over $1,500 is technically required to have a specification sheet laying out the details of the job, hardware etc. Albeit many jobs do not provide a specification sheet therefore we have no problem assisting you over the phone or internet to help you build one.  A specification sheet is helpful because if you are getting multiple quotes it allows everyone to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges and bid appropriately. It also minimizes our time to help you figure out what you need, which we charge for in the field.  We do accept non numerical quotes from other competing companies covering the items and hardware to quote the same items.

In field Quotes and Surveys

If you want us to come to your site, survey what you have and help you figure out what you need we can do that. But we charge for our time to do that. We not only have out trip time, our labor time and research time but more importantly our opportunity time cost of assisting other customers who want us to take care of them.

Note, we do not bill upfront if we are finalizing a phone or email quote, or are continuing to do the job you have called us for. The service call and labor is included in the jobs we provide.

If you are uncertain of whether a quote is free or if there will be a charge please ask over the phone. If you call and ask us to come over to help you figure out what you need and take care of your needs, we will do just that and charge for it.

We hope this posts helps clarify when and where quotes and surveys are free and when you will be charged.

Damaged Ignition Cylinder Or Broken Housing Gears?

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Has your key all of a sudden stopped turning in your ignition? This happens occasionally and there are a few different events that could have caused it. The most common reasons ignitions all of a sudden stop turning are (1) stuck wafers, (2) broken wafers, (3) exploded spring caps and (4) broken ignition housing gears.

This specific blog post is going to discuss scenario (4) broken ignition housing gears. But first let’s quickly cover the first three option.

1) A stuck wafer can typically be unstuck. Then we remove and clean the cylinder and wafer. This is common in Chrysler ignitions.

2) A broken wafer typically requires the ignition to be drilled out and the wafer or lock cylinder to be replace. This is common in high security Honda 4 tracks. A different article will be devoted to this topic.

3) Exploded Spring Caps: if we can remove the cylinder without damage we can replace. More often than not we need to drill it our and replace.

Ok now, for scenario (4) a broken ignition house gears, lets start with the symptoms. The key and ignition all of a sudden stops working. Now, typically, we can check the first three options first. Here is the catch, when the lock is in place, we cannot always tell if it is one of the first three scenario’s or the last one. We have to first remove the ignition cylinder from the housing to separate and see if the problem is in the key and ignition cylinder or if it is in the ignition gears in the housing.

So, once the lock is removed, if the key and lock cylinder does not turn, it is more than likely the first three scenario’s. If the key and cylinder do turn outside the housing, than it is likely the ignition gears in the housing. We can check the ignition gears manually.

If the ignition gears in the housing are broken or jammed, the ignition housing has to be replaced. If this is the case, this job just became outside our normal scope of work and competency and we recommend you take the vehicle to an auto mechanic or dealer to replace the necessary parts. The good news it that your existing key and ignition cylinder still work and are available to put pack in with your new housing.

We have seen ignition gears break or stick on GM’s and BMW’s. It is also possible to happen on other vehicles.

We realize this is a very specific situation and scenario and hope it helps the few who need to understand it. Stay turned for more about scenarios 1,2 & 3.

Warning: After Market Radios can effect Key Programming

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This weeks blog post is about an issue we run into occasionally in the field when programming vehicles – after market radios.

The Short:
after market radios can effect your vehicles key programming capabilities because it interferes with the immobilizer.

avoid after market radio’s or at least know you may have difficulty programming your keys and it may cost you more to do so.

The Deep:
We had a 2003 Volkswagon Beetle that needed an additional key programmed. When we connected our programmers to the system, it was not able to pull and read the pin code.

[Side note, a pin code is an additional security code required for accessing the programming of the immobilizer. The pin code is not kept on record at the dealer so each one has to be pulled from the vehicle itself.]

We ran some diagnostics, researched and discovered that the aftermarket radio when installed spliced into on of the power wires for the immobilizer box. This causes interference with pulling pin codes and programming.

The primary way around this it to remove and disconnect the aftermarket radio so that it is no longer interfering with the immobilizer wire.

We have seen this with Volkswagen and GM’s. Note this is not the case for every vehicle, just a caution and a note to be concerned about how aftermarket radios may effect the rest of your vehicle in relation to the keys, programming and security.


Kryptonite Replaces Bike Lock and Covers Locksmith Service

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Often we have to remove bicycle locks for people who lost their keys or had a malfunction with the lock. The most common bicycle lock we remove is a Kryptonite U-lock. Last week, this specific lock had a problem with the key and we had to cut it off. Working with the customer, he checked and discovered that Kryptonite does warranty their bicycle locks for broken keys, or malfunctioning locks.

What this means for you and us, is that they will cover our, bill for coming out and removing your bicycle lock AND send you a new bicycle lock.

To say that again, our service for you will be reimbursed and you will get a new lock.

Here is the link to submit a damaged lock for reimbursement.

We just thought this was a top notch warranty service and wanted to share it with you!

5 Ways to Prevent Loosing Your Keys in the River

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During summer time, there is an increase in rafting and floating the Willamette and Mckenzie rivers. They are both beautiful and we would highly recommend it. But, we also have a lot of people loosing their car keys in the river. So here are a few different ways to prevent loosing your keys in the river.

1) The safest way is to not take your keys on the river. You can do the following:

a) Use a hide a key, or wire your key underneath your vehicle. Here is one from Lucky Line.


b) Leave you keys with someone who is staying on land and is available to meet you at the end with your keys.

c) An odd option, that we have seen, is lock your keys in the car and schedule a locksmith to come just open the car for you.

2) If you must take your keys on the river, make sure there are secured to a floating device and the raft.

a) Use a Key Buoy or float such as below from Luck Line. They cost about $5.


b) Use a water tight dry bag, with a clip for the raft. Sealine is a good brand.


If you are reading this article after the fact, and have lost your car keys in the river, give us a call at 541.632.3968 and well come out and make keys for you. Happy floating!

New 3D Pro High Security Machine

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We just received and installed out new 3D Pro Exteme Key Machine by Laser Key Products! The 3D Pro is an automated key machine operated by a computer. What makes this key machine special:

– Cut 2 track high security keys

-Cut 4 track security keys

– Cut tibbe high security keys

– Can cut standard & tubular keys as well

– Fastest and most accurate high security key machine on the market

-It is placed in our vehicle as a mobile unit so we can generate your keys in the field

Check out our video of cutting a VW 2 track key. Notice, it only takes less than 60 seconds!

If you need 2 track, 4 track or tibbe keys for Honda, VW, Lexus, Subaru or any other vehicle in the field we can cut and program them for you. Just give us a call at 541.632.3968