FAQ (frequently asked questions) and the quick guide to Keys4Classics.com... our keys and our specialist key services
| What do we do at Keys4Classics.com? |
1. Cut/machine/mill keys to original code with great precision, ready for you to use in your locks.
2. Where key codes are not known we can decode most keys from an emailed photo.
3. Supply uncut key blanks.
Specialize in those cars and motorcycles which US owners call
"foreign", that is from all parts of Europe and from Japan, etc, and
US-badged cars with foreign locks.
| What don't we do? |
We do not deal with any electronics, such as programming transponder keys, or remotes.
| I do not have any keys and want to order some |
you provide us with your key codes we can cut new keys that will
operate your locks (if the codes you provide are correct for the locks).
For suggestions about how to obtain your key codes see Where to I find my key code?
you do not have your key codes (and no keys at all) we cannot help you
with cut keys, we can only supply uncut key blanks. You will need a
locksmith to work on the locks to make keys, or you will have to
replace the locks with new ones that come with their own keys.
can create new keys for locks sent to us, but be aware that we are in
Australia and shipping and insurance to- and from- our workshop may add
considerably to the cost.
| I have an original key and want a copy made |
most makes and models we have a replacement key that resembles your
original, however our keys do not have the original vehicle
manufacturer's name or logo, unless specified.
We cut new keys to original factory specifications on the latest high-tech computerized machines.
likely we can decode your key from an emailed digital photo (or a good
scan) of the key. A small fee applies in addition to an order for cut
| What is a key blank? |
A key before it is cut or milled to a specific lock code. The blank is ready to be cut, and of no practical use until it is cut.
| What is an original, genuine or OEM key? |
key that came with your vehicle when new, or an exact replacement of
it. For many older vehicles original key brands (such as Neiman or Ymos
or Huf) are not generally available. For more recent years original
branded keys may be available from dealers. Mostly we do not stock or
supply original keys. (OEM = original equipment manufacturer).
| What is an aftermarket key? |
key of another brand that, if chosen correctly, will fit your lock but
may or may not resemble the original in cosmetic appearance.
otherwise stated our keys are aftermarket keys. We choose them very
carefully for quality of manufacture and closeness to the original. Our
preferred brands are Silca of Italy, Orion of Italy and JMA of Spain.
On occasion we supply other brands including Ilco and DL of North
America. In all instances we will supply the best keys we can find for
| What materials are your keys made of? |
steel or brass. Overall, we probably have more made of steel than
brass. Some of our keys are available in a choice of brass or steel,
sometimes it's only one or the other with no choice. See here for an explanation of the pros and cons of each material.
Generally high security (wave-cut and dimple keys) are made of soft material such as brass or nickel-silver.
All our keys, unless hard-to-get "new-old stock", are recently-manufactured of high grade materials with a bright nickel finish.
keys are available either as "all-metal" or "plastic-head". The plastic
head is usually black and molded on to the key, it's not a slip-on type
of head. Our key heads are not made of rubber (plastic is much more
| What is a master key? What is a Valet or Garage Attendant key? |
master key is *not* a key that will open anyone else's car. It's a key
that will operate all the locks on the one car, as opposed to a valet
or garage-attendant key that will open the door and start the engine,
but *not* open the vehicle's glovebox or trunk.
Only some cars have a valet key option.
| Why is it important to lubricate locks? |
contain many moving parts and they need lubrication to work well.
Modern lubricants include "dry" PTFE and "dry" silicone. Both are excellent for most uses. Apply liberally. Powdered graphite is good if the lock is clean inside.
Unlike oil, graphite is not sticky and doesn't help dirt to stick
inside the lock, but don't overuse it. You can buy a small tube of powdered graphite at most hardware
stores. Oil should be used only if no better lubricant is available.
| What is a cut-to-code key? |
key is an individual with its own pattern of cuts specific to the lock
it is designed to operate. The key code is a shorthand way of
describing that cut pattern, so that any locksmith or key cutter with
the appropriate code series information can cut new keys without
needing an existing key.
| How does cutting to code compare with copying, duplicating or tracing a key? |
the key code we can produce a new key that has the original factory
specifications for the pattern of its cuts. In other words, it takes
you back to a new key with no wear and no imperfections.
a key (such as at a shopping mall key cutter) involves tracing your
existing key on to a new blank. A good operator will produce a good
copy but a sloppy operator, or worn/cheap machinery etc, will produce a
Even a good copy will never
be as good as an original key was when new. Wear is copied.
Imperfections are copied. And each 'generation' of copying produces a
worse key. The widespread use of brass aftermarket keys also ensures
that copied keys wear fast and become unsuitable to act as patterns for
making further copies.
A code-cut key
that's kept in a safe place will still be perfect for many years to
come as a pattern for making duplicated copies.
| Where do I find my key code?|
for more detail see
is a big topic and suggestions for one make/model/year may not apply to
another. However here are some universal suggestions-
you have an original owner's manual or other documents look for a
notation, often hand-written, of the key codes. Sometimes the original
dealer or owner noted key codes there.
code-tag or card often came with the original keys, but unfortunately
they are not often retained with the vehicle documents, which would be
Some locks have the code
stamped on them. Visibly on the front rim, or not so visible under the
front face plate or surround plate, or on the body of the lock... the
location varies. Door locks are easier to access to have a look, but
it's not an easy option for most vehicles, and often the code is not
For more recent years, try an
authorized dealer. Some makes keep a database so by telling them your
VIN or chassis number the dealer can tell you your key code. For older
British classic cars, and some others, there are archives that can help
(for a fee).
Finally there is our own
decoding service. We can decode most keys from an emailed photo of your
existing key (a small fee applies). Decoding is available only in
conjuction with an order for code-cut keys.
| How do you decode or "read" keys from an emailed photo? |
a combination of skill, experience, our own techniques, and good key
code references. All keys with code series available to the key cutting
industry have a known geometry of the number of cuts and their spacing
along the key, and the depth of each cut. With that knowledge we
interpret a key and deduce its original specifications.
| Can you decode a worn or broken key? |
depends on whether the key is an original or a copy (or a copy of a
copy...), and how worn it is. For a broken key, as long as all the
pieces can be included in a photo, we can probably resurrect its key
| Can you decode a hand-made key? |
hand-made key (filed or cut by hand to fit a lock) is more a work of
"art" than "science" and is not always able to be decoded within a
reasonable time (or at a reasonable cost).
| I have my key code, will it be correct (and will a key cut to that code operate my locks?) |
99% of the time the answer is yes.
cutting keys we ensure that the code you provide to us is valid for the
key type, make, model and year. However we cannot say 100% that it is
correct for your lock without seeing a photo of an existing key that
works well in the locks.
why key codes may not be correct: locks have been replaced or re-keyed;
dealer records are incorrect; handwriting or stamped numbers cannot be
read clearly; etc.
A photo of an
existing key is the only sure way for us to know that a key code is
correct for that key. If the key in your photo works your locks, then
our keys will also (that's our money-back guarantee).
| What is our Warranty for cut keys? |
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 (*there is no fee for checking*) are fully guaranteed
to work in your locks
3. Keys cut to a
code which we derive by decoding your key from a photo (*a fee may
apply for decoding*) are fully guaranteed to work in your locks.