flexi New Reader
June 21, 2010 9:19 p.m.

I picked up a vehicle for my daughter recently, and was shocked to learn that the key fit the ignition, and the trunk, but nothing else. The key fob opens the doors, still, but you and I know that the fob battery will go dead at the most inconvenient time and place.

What are the options for re-keying the car? Ideally, I'd like the ignition key to open the doors too (what a concept), but would accept a separate key for the doors. Anyone done this before? How much does something like this cost?

NYG95GA SuperDork
June 21, 2010 9:37 p.m.

It's been a few years since I was in the locksmith biz, but we used to rekey auto locks . Trouble is that auto locks weren't really designed to be rekeyed, as house locks are.

Best bet is to call around and find a locksmith in your area that (1) does automotive locks, and (2) has the proper kit for your specific vehicle. If you can find one, they can either rekey the existing cylinders, or order a set of "O-bitted" cylinders to fit your car, and put in whatever tumblers fit your existing key.

As for the cost, it will vary according to how much of the swap you do yourself. If you pull the cylinders and carry them to the shop, you will save a trip charge and labor. If you buy a set and have them matched, you can carry them to the car and replace them at your own leisure. It mostly depends on how good/confident you are removing door panels, disconnecting linkage, etc.

You didn't mention what kind of car it is, which will make a big difference. Some makes are MUCH easier to do than others. A lot of Fords can actually be done without removing the panel. Porsches and Volvos are the most difficult. Most makes fall somewhere in between.

Get out the yellow pages, and start calling around. Good Luck!

flexi New Reader
June 21, 2010 9:50 p.m.

In reply to NYG95GA:

The vehicle in question is a 2004 Subaru Legacy. Is that an easy one?

I don't mind doing door panels if I have the right gizmos to pop them off.

Where does one find locksmith supplies, in particular "O-bitted" cylinders?

Thanks for the info!

NYG95GA SuperDork
June 21, 2010 10:06 p.m.

Not a lot of personal Subbie experience, but I suspect you'll have to remove the panels. As far as the panel tool is concerned, most any parts store will have them; the basic one is just a bent piece of sheet metal with slots in it to take off window cranks, and the other end for prying the snaps out. The cylinders (if you want them matched to the existing master key) will likely have to be sourced through a locksmith (or perhaps a dealer; some service locks, some don't).

You could just order a set of pre-keyed door cylinders through an auto parts store, but then she'd have to carry an extra key. The more I consider it, that might be your best/cheapest bet; she has the fob, and you could hide the door key on/under the car somewhere. The only time she'd need to use it would be if she locked the fob in the car, or the battery went kaput.

neon4891 SuperDork
June 21, 2010 10:13 p.m.

One thing worth mentioning, some cars will set off the alarm/panic feature if you unlock with a key. Stupid, I know. This will happen on our Dakota, but not our Taurus. Not sure about Scoobies, FWIW

unevolved Reader
June 21, 2010 10:45 p.m.

I'm not sure of the vintage of your car, but with my RX7 the easiest option was to find a parts car that had a full set, and swap over everything.

digdug18 HalfDork
June 22, 2010 8:47 a.m.

I have done the subaru's, they are a little more difficult to get to on the doors especially. You basically need to take most thing out of the door to finagle yours out and then back in.

Andrew

flexi New Reader
June 22, 2010 5:07 p.m.

My daughter called a locksmith who asked her if the car had electronic locks. He said it would be highly unlikely that it was rekeyed. Instead, he said the locks were very likely to be corroded from lack of use. (New England) He said to use wd40, or some other penetrating oil and to work the lock.

Sure enough, I managed to get the driver's side working. The passenger door lock is still not working, but it will eventually. I'll blast it with PB Blaster until it gives up!

Even if the passenger door lock doesn't work it is not a big deal. There is a key that works!

Streetwiseguy Reader
June 22, 2010 5:15 p.m.
flexi wrote: My daughter called a locksmith who asked her if the car had electronic locks. He said it would be highly unlikely that it was rekeyed. Instead, he said the locks were very likely to be corroded from lack of use. (New England) He said to use wd40, or some other penetrating oil and to work the lock. Sure enough, I managed to get the driver's side working. The passenger door lock is still not working, but it will eventually. I'll blast it with PB Blaster until it gives up! Even if the passenger door lock doesn't work it is not a big deal. There is a key that works!

I was gonna mention that. Trunk locks seize up here from lack of use, then the wires to the trunk lock break, then....

petegossett SuperDork
June 22, 2010 5:38 p.m.

Try that CRC Freeze-Off that's advertised in GRM. That E36 M3 works wonders & Napa has it on sale this month.

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