24/7 +1 250-383-6899
815 Fort Street, Victoria, BC

IJS Acme Safe Ltd - Locksmiths

We believe in honesty, integrity, and quality workmanship.

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Professional Vehicle Locksmith in Victoria

Professional Vehicle Locksmith in Victoria

We cover all sorts of automotive services!

  • Automotive lock work - making keys, copying keys, re-keying, repairing & replacing auto locks
  • Automotive keys cut including transponder (chip) keys and GM Vats keys
  • We have mobile service vehicles so we can originate keys wherever you are
We are a Member of Canadian Vehicle Security Professionals

We carry a full line of automotive key blanks in stock, including most common transponder keys for late model cars. Some late model cars and trucks have transponder keys that are available through the dealer only, so we do not stock those ones.

As well as cutting and programming transponder keys are our shop, we have the ability to come on site to you to originate lost keys for many makes of vehicles including some of the type that use "sidewinder" keys. We can duplicate most makes of sidewinder-type keys in our shop.

Left: A typical sidewinder type key showing embedded side cuts. Some sidewinder keys have the embedded side cuts on the outer edge of the key rather than inside. We also stock both OEM and aftermarket replacement lock cylinders for many makes of cars that have had locks vandalized or w out. Please call us for pricing before you call a dealer to do the same job. We can supply and install a new lock and re-key it to match your original key.


We also specialize in rebuilding, keying and re-keying vintage automotive locks which can be mailed to us for service. We stock a large selection of key blanks for older vehicles.

See some of our vintage auto lock projects

Why Choose Professional Vehicle Locksmith Service?

Some of the benefits of hiring our vehicle locksmith service in Victoria are:

  • You will get prompt assistance as we are available 24/7
  • We have the latest tools
  • Professional locksmiths are insured, which means that the company will be held liable in an event of damage to the vehicle


We've found that many keys bought from online retailers such as Ebay and Amazon tend to be of poor quality and may be missing important features like the transponder. We can't guarantee any key provided to us will work, but we will continute to guarantee our own keys.

The cost to cut a Sidewinder key you have purchased on Ebay is $60.00, which is the price of a new cutter for our sidewinder machine. This is because some Ebay keys are built from an extremely hard alloy unlike the keys we stock, which can ruin our cutter. We will also take no responsibility for programming if the key will not program; there is still a minimum charge of $30.00 if the key will not program.

Automotive Transponder Keys

If you purchase a new, or newer used car these days, chances are the ignition will be an Anti-Theft Transponder System. They have been in use since 1996. This page is to make you aware of the consequences of losing keys to these cars. It can be a big hassle, both in time and cost for most makes of cars to replace these keys once they have been lost. If you are on vacation, you may find your trip is interrupted for close to a day or more unless you can find someone to service this type of lost key situation. It is IMPERATIVE that you carry spare keys with you while traveling anywhere.

So, if you lose all the keys, unless you find a locksmith with a field programmer like ours (the cost of programming tools runs into the thousands of dollars and not all locksmiths own one), and the correct transponder blanks in stock, you may have to have the car towed to the dealer for key fitting and programming. Costs can run hundreds of dollars for the service, and a whole lot more if its an emergency situation and after hours. Since Sept. 1, 2007 all new cars sold in Canada have had a transponder equipped ignition lock / key.

What is a Transponder Key?

Transponder is a word taken from the words transmitter and responder. The key has a "transponder" chip embedded into the plastic head of the key. Basically it is a radio transmitter / receiver device that is programmed into your car's computer at the factory. If the vehicle's computer does not receive the correct key identification response when the key is turned to the on position, you won't be going anywhere. So getting duplicate keys made with non-transponder blanks will do you no good other than they may open the doors and trunk but will not start the car. Some cars will not even crank the starter without the correct transponder, others will crank the engine and not start, and others will start and run for several seconds and then shut down. Simply put, you need a key with the correct transponder that has been programmed to your car's on board computer.

Ford transponder keys are relatively easy to identify. Chrysler Transponder keys often have a large gray plastic head, but some are black with multi-function remotes also built into the head. These are considerably more expensive than non remote transponder keys. GM Transponder Keys are black and look similar to non-transponder keys. Below are photos of a few typical transponder keys. Some vehicles now can be started simply by pressing a "START" button on the dash board, while the correct proximity key fob is in your pocket. This "key" fob has a transponder in it but is not a key in the typical sense. These proximity fobs generally have an emergency door key within the plastic head that can be removed to gain access to the car if the unlock buttons fail.

G.M. Chrysler Ford Ford

transponder out
Ford key with transponder
removed ( item at left )

Left : Chrysler Transponder key with Remote head

Right: Chrysler FOBIK Integrated Fob-Key with transponder

Below: Ford Proximity Fob.

Above: Ford Transponder key

with remote function head

Honda Sidewinder Transponder Key blank

with Remotes built in.

Lexus / Toyota Sidewinder Transponder Key blank

As well, European, Japanese and Korean auto manufacturers use Transponder technology in many of their ignition lock systems. The early Toyota Transponder ignitions were designed with the feature that if all keys are lost, the procedure must include replacing the vehicle's on-board computer. You are looking at approximately $2000.00 for costs from a Toyota / Lexus dealer when you lose all the keys for one of these.

The good news is that we can duplicate most transponder keys at our store.

The programming procedure involves plugging in our programmer to the on-board data port of the vehicle with the newly cut transponder key inserted into the ignition lock and turned to the on position. This procedure can take anywhere from about a minute to more than half an hour depending on the vehicle.

One other note - every new vehicle comes with a factory key code. If you purchase a new car be sure to record these codes in a safe place. If you don't get the codes ask your dealer for them. Keys can be made quickly and accurately at a locksmith shop if you have these codes. Many newer cars with transponder keys require a PIN code (Chrysler, Nissan, and others) to program the key. This is often, but not always, only available from the car dealer. Make sure you ask for your PIN code when you ask for your key code, if a PIN is required. Remember, if you lose keys on a weekend, you may be STUCK until Monday if there is no dealer open to get your PIN code. We can program some vehicles without a supplied factory pin code - our programmer has the ability to "dig it out" of the system but there is an added cost.

We can cut and program transponder keys for most popular makes of vehicles. However, here in Canada and the USA there is no aftermarket programming software for the following makes:

  • BMW
  • Volvo
  • most Mercedes

Unforunately, you are stuck with getting keys from the dealer.

General Motors VATS Keys

On a similar note, General Motors VATS key systems use a resistor chip embedded in the shank of the key. This was the first type of electronic technology to go into automotive keys. There are 15 different resistor chips and the proper resistor chip key must be inserted into the ignition for the car to start. Of course the key must also have the proper mechanical cuts. These keys also range in price from about $30.00 each for duplicates. They come in single sided and double sided versions depending on the year and make. Again, if all keys are lost for these it can be quite expensive to replace them.


GM VATS key with resistor chip.
Single sided.

Lock Failures in Honda sidewinder and Toyota ignition locks.

We know that in general, Toyota and Honda products are reliable vehicles, but they do have issues with failures of ignition, door and trunk locks in Honda and ignition locks on Toyota vehicles. The failures are caused by the use of split wafers (tumblers) in these locks. As with any mechanical item, the weakest link will fail first and split wafers are a very weak component. Most wafer locks have a full wafer tumbler surrounding the key which is generally quite strong by design. While the failures are caused by different problems in the two manufacturers, the failure is always with the split wafers.

Toyota failures can be caused by worn keys and cutting new keys by code every few years will lessen the failure. Having the key copied will not help! Duplicating only transfers the wear on to the new key. Make sure a Locksmith or dealer originates the key on a computerized Code Key cutting machine from the key code, which will give you a key as good as the original key when the car was new. Toyota has apparently realized the problem as the newest locks do not contain split wafers.

Honda ignition, door and trunk lock failures occur due to wear on the split wafers. A very small protrusion on the split wafer makes contact with the side cuts on the key and this protrusion becomes worn down or off very easily, causing the wafer to slip past the stop point on the key when it is inserted. Also, a worn key will hasten a failure but these locks also need regular lubrication with a very good silicon or Teflon lube. Do not use a solvent based lubricant (it dries out) or graphite - graphite can make a nasty black mess.

When these locks fail, they can be repaired by a Professional Automotive Locksmith, or a dealer that is willing to do the repair correctly. Automotive Locksmiths have the skill and the service kits to service these locks properly and many dealerships and repair shops just cannot be bothered to do this. The dealers generally just replace the complete lock with a new one that operates with a different key. There is nothing wrong with a new lock, but there is nothing correct about using a different key for the ignition, and in most cases, this will cost many many dollars more than repairing the original lock. Even if it is determined that a new lock is required because of excessive wear in the lock itself, the new lock can and should be re-keyed to the original key code.

These cars were designed to operate with one key for all locks. The factory has the code for the original keys on file against the VIN# in case they are lost . Registered locksmiths with security clearances can access these codes. If the lock has been replaced by a dealer or another repair shop, the factory original key code is now no good, and therefore if a locksmith gets a call from a customer with a lost key situation, and then accesses the original key code from the VIN# and then cuts a key by the code, it will not work. This means a very expensive disassembly of the lock and hand-fitting of keys to the lock, on top of the charge for the code access and cutting that has already been done. When replacing the lock with a new one the solution is simple, have a Professional Locksmith rekey the new lock to match the existing keys. As most of these vehicles also have transponder keys, replacing the keys and reprogramming the new ones adds even more cost to the vehicle owner.

Looking for professional vehicle locksmith services?

We service all of Victoria and the Lower Island.

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