KEYS CUT TO CODE
| Code-cut keys|
Copying uses an existing key as a template and traces the cuts onto a new key blank.
If the existing key is in good condition this is fine but if the original is worn then you are reproducing the wear onto the copy. This is one reason why copies sometimes don't work well. In fact a copy will never be as good as an original, so a copy of a worn key is an even worse worn key.
Cutting to code creates a new key -- a totally brand new key. If the locks are in good condition the code-cut key will continue to operate them for many years, and additionally this key could be used to make good quality copies.
| About key codes |
The sequence of cuts made on the working edge of a key can be represented by a series of numbers (or numbers and letters). This is called the key or lock code.
A specialized key cutter or locksmith, equipped with appropriate references and machinery, can cut a key from this code. The key is not a "copy", it is an "original" which will operate the lock as if it were one of the keys originally provided with the lock.
| Key decoding service |
We are often able to determine a key code from the cuts of an existing key (email us a few photos or scanned image of the key).
Our code-reading and code-cutting services are guaranteed to be accurate and correct.
We charge an extra fee for most code-reading services in addition to cutting and key blanks. (This procedure takes time, skill and sometimes cutting more than one key to make sure it's correct).
We provide the code to you.
| Checking your key code |
Even if you are providing us with the key code for cutting, email us a photo of an existing key. We check that your code is correct for your key (no cost to you) and it improves the warranty we offer (see below).
| Sending a photo |
Digital photos of keys are generally better than scans. Photos should be in good focus and as close-up as you can get of the key. A simple rule is try to get the key to fill as much as possible of the frame of the photo.
As a guide, a graphic file of between 250mb and 1Gb is a good size. Smaller files may indicate not enough resolution and larger files are probably unnecessary.
Both faces (sides) of the key are best, however if you send only one side please photograph the side with the most grooves on it.
| How to find key codes |
Key codes may be obtained from various places; this varies a lot depending on the age, make and model of the vehicle. Remember that a key code is specific to your vehicle, so any numbers you find that are part of the manufacturing process for all the locks produced will not be your individual code. These are the usual possibilities for finding key codes-
- in the original owner's manual (hand written or maybe stamped, or an adhesive sticker)
- on a tag that came with the original keys or a vehicle identification card
- on a plaque inside the glovebox door or elsewhere
- on the outside rim of lock keyways
- stamped or engraved on the original keys (note: not raised lettering, that's probably the key blank type not the individual lock/key code. However provide us with all information you find, it may help).
- refer your vehicle VIN (chassis number) to the manufacturer's database which will tell you the code(s) for the vehicle's original locks. Consult a current authorized dealer to see if this service is available for your make and model.
NOT SO EASY
- under a cover on the outside rim of lock keyways
- stamped on lock housing or body (may need to remove trim to access locks)
- on a paper decal or similar attached to, or near, the lock
- stamped on the lock core (requires disassembly of lock)
- examination of the wafers (disks) or pins in side the lock (knowledge required).
Note: code-cut keys can be cut correctly only if the code information supplied to us is correct.
| Key codes|
British classic cars
KEY CODES MAY BE AVAILABLE FROM YOUR CAR'S BUILD RECORD
The build record has all the major identifying features of your car from the production line and often includes key/lock codes. A fee is payable for this information.
JAGUAR, DAIMLER, SS ONLY
NORTH AMERICA - Consult the Archivist, Jaguar Cars Archive, 555 MacArthur Blvd, Mahwah, NJ 07430. Tel (201) 818-8144 or Fax (201) 818-0281.
ALL OTHER REGIONS - Consult the Archivist, Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, Browns Lane, Allesley, Coventry, West Midlands CV5 9DR, United Kingdom. Tel +44-1203-202141.
OTHER BRITISH CLASSICS INCLUDING MG AND TRIUMPH: Consult the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, email Richard Bacchus "rbacchus--AT--landrover.com" **for a valid email address replace --AT-- with @
The archive databases have codes for the ORIGINAL locks on your car. The key codes they provide will be correct IF the codes were noted correctly at the factory, they're still legible, not ambiguous, and your locks have not been changed or re-keyed since. It's a great service but has limitations.
| When you receive|
your code-cut keys
1. The lock should be properly lubricated and free to turn and operate its attached mechanism. Use thin machine oil or powdered graphite. A small tube with a thin nozzle is best and will fit easily into the key slot. Several drops of oil or "puffs" of graphite should be sufficient.
2. Insert and remove the new key slowly at first. Turn the key gently.
3. If the lock will not operate - is the key fully inserted until it stops? Or try wiggling the key a little.
4. If the lock will not operate with the new key after all attempts:
- if you have an existing key, compare the cuts to ensure that they are the same (except for wear on your old key).\
- if you have no existing key, confirm that the code information provided to us is correct.
- try the new key in any other locks with the same code. Does it operate any of them?
5. Gently run a fine wire brush or sanding paper (emery cloth) over the cut part of the key to smooth it.
6. If all the above has been exhausted and you are still not having success please contact us.
7. Be aware that in some circumstances (fortunately rare) the codes provided by vehicle manufacturers or stamped on locks can be incorrect. In such circumstances a key made to the given code will not work.
| Our Warranty (Guarantee) |
Keys cut to a key code that you provide are guaranteed to be correct to that code (we are both relying on the code to be correct).
Keys cut to a key code that you provide, and checked against a photo that you send us are fully guaranteed to work in your locks
Keys cut to a code which we derive by decoding your key from a photo are fully guaranteed to work in your locks.