A week on the road with Catalin Acatrini

Meet Catalin

Catalin Acatrini

Travelling from London to West Byfleet can be rather challenging especially when someone new to London such as myself, would not know the ins and outs of London. Yes, it was a little bit hard navigating the narrow streets of London and the cities outside of London, but while driving and at times being stuck in traffic, I got the chance to see other areas that again, I have not seen before.

This time, it has been my pleasure to travel and learn new things from Catalin Acatrini. Allow me first to tell you a little bit about him. He started with Car Keys Solutions in April of 2017. The way he started with the company was rather hilarious but to no surprise, knowing George Stoica, the founder of OGS Mechanics and OGS Mechanics Keys – known as Car Keys Solutions. Catalin was no stranger to either company, as he was the go-to person when any computer issues arose. Before joining the team at Car Keys Solutions, Catalin worked as IT, masseur and farmer’s market organiser but none of these jobs offered the stability he would’ve wanted. And, “ in April, on a Friday I asked George if he ever needs someone to work in the car keys department to let me know,” he said. Then he went on to say “ and to that, he said, Ok. And then I said, ok let me know. To which George replied, no, we’ll see you Monday here. You start on Monday. And that is how I started with Car Keys Solutions”. “It was not easy in the beginning,” he said. “Cutting car keys, unlocking vehicles, programming new car keys, all took what it seemed at the time forever. There were just a few colleagues back then like Nardin Popa, Lorin Chirila and Florin Feraru, that were more experienced, but it was because of them that I was able to learn as much as I did and advance. Today I am doing the jobs in half the time or less compared to what it used to be in the beginning”.

Working at Car Keys Solutions and why

“Like most of my colleagues here, first is the passion for cars. Without passion, like in any other industry so to speak, you can’t do much. Besides passion, it was my vast knowledge in IT, which given how cars are nowadays built, it is a must. All that I had to do was put the two together, and make them work. That was the “why” reason for working at Car Keys Solutions” said Catalin and he continued. “What can I say about working at Car Keys Solutions. We are a young team, where each one of us has the ability and all the right reasons to improve and most of all succeed. Being an auto locksmith is not an easy trade. There are so many cars, I am referring to many makes and models, where each comes with different options, different ways of doing things when it comes, for example, programming keys. When it comes to issues, it can happen that you do 10 of the same make and model and have no problem and then on the 11th one it can give you a hard time where you could end up spending more hours than originally thought. The advantage of working at Car Keys Solutions is the team. It is a big team and as we all have run at any one point in the past is an issue that we might have not known how to approach it at the time, but there was always someone that has dealt with the same issue in the past and through communication, we were able to solve all sorts of problems. This is a huge plus in this regard as it makes our job easier. The other plus is, the friendships we have created here over the years.

Some of the areas that we have covered this time

SW11- Battersea borough, is the site of the most famous power station in the world. More about it you can read the BBC article or watch the video of building the biggest power station in the world. A 2000 Peugeot Partner door lock was what brought us to Battersea, but will go into why a little bit later. Just stick with us a bit more. We think it will be worth it.

SW19- Merton borough, is most famous for the Gram Slam Wimbledon Championship that takes place every year, which brings an estimated 500K tourists to the area.

The Merton’s main centres:

  • Wimbledon
  • Morden
  • Raynes Park
  • Mitcham
  • Colliers Wood.

The Merton’s neighbouring boroughs:

  • Croydon
  • Lambeth
  • Wandsworth
  • Kingston
  • Richmond
  • Sutton

What brought us to Merton’s area was a 2014 Ford B-Max lost and spare car key.

CR0 – Croydon borough is famous for various things, but most notably for all the famous actors, politicians, singers and others with ties to Croydon or to have been passing through. Here I can include a few names like Charlie Chaplin, John Fitzgerald Kennedy the 35th US president. Winston Churchill took flying lessons here and Amy Johnson, which is the first woman to fly solo in May of 1930 from England to Australia took off from Croydon as well. More about fun and yet surprising facts about Croydon you can read on croydonurbanedge.com article. Another interesting fact about Croydon is the common connection that Sir Michael Cain, David Bowie and Charlie Chaplin have had with Croydon. The connection is related to the relatives of each celebrity being treated at different times but at the same Cane Hill Hospital, in Coulsdon. What brought us to Croydon was a 2013 Audi Q5 lost car key.

SE15 – Southwark. Within the borough of Southwark, South Bank is the home of London Bridge terminal station. The biggest venues of the borough are the attractions of Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market and The Shard. Most notable famous faces of the borough of Southwark are Enid Blyton, Robert Browning, Sir Charlie Chaplin, Florence Welch, Rio Ferdinand, David Haye. What brought us to Southwark, was a 2015 VW Up for a spare car key

RH19 – East Grinstead is the headquarters of the Caravan Club for UK and Ireland, The town is the site of Queen Victoria Hospital where the famous plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe treated the burns on the victims of WWII and formed the Guinea Pig Club. What brought us to East Grinstead was a 2013 Nissan Juke for a car key repair and a spare car key.

KT17 – Epsom a small town of Surrey, is known for the Epsom Downs Racecourse, that holds the Derby, every year in the first Saturday of the month of June. The Derby is the most prestigious racehorses out of the Classic Five. Another fact about Epsom. Remember Epsom salt? My guess is that you do, and if you were wondering if its name comes from Epsom, the town in Surrey, then you are right again. Epsom, Surrey is where it was first discovered. The salt has in its composition magnesium, sulfur and oxygen and is known for its therapeutic benefits. I personally haven’t tried it, have you? What brought us to Epsom, a 2011 Audi A7 for vehicle unlocking.

The highlight of the most important job

The 2000 Peugeot Partner door lock repair in  SW11 – Battersea was important not because there was something special about it because there was nothing. What was important about the car and is important to tell you is that, if your vehicle comes equipped with a remote, fob for keyless you would have to make use of that all the time. I mean, there are situations where the key fob may stop working to unlock or lock the vehicle but still good enough to start the car. So, the only way to gain entry is by using the key itself or the emergency blade that your fob comes with, to open the car and this is meant to be a temporary solution until the fob key is repaired. Here is why. The door locks are not made to be used every day and for long periods of time with a key.

2000 Peugeot Partner unlocking

The locks are not heavy-duty built and in time the wafers inside the lock will get damaged, to a point, it will need to be repaired or replaced as those will stop working as well. In this case, what we had to do, we first had to open the vehicle, then, have the lock removed and proceed with the repair.

2000 Peugeot Partner door lock repair

I did say earlier, that all makes and models that come equipped with a remote, key fob should be used as such because the locks can get damaged. Here is a photo of such damage caused by an extended key usage to unlock the door.

2000 Peugeot Partner waffle damaged

Other jobs that we covered

In SE15 we had a 2015 VW Up for a spare key. Here the situation was a little different. Technically, a spare key means a second key, but in this case, the vehicle is part of a rental fleet of vehicles where the last renter took the key and the original car key was with the owner.

VW Up 2015 unlocking

The only way to get access to the vehicle was by unlocking first the vehicle, then read the code from the lock itself. Lastly cut a new car key using the code previously obtained, program the new key with the vehicle and disable the non-present keys.

VW Up 2015 car key programming

Last but not least, lost and spare car key for 2014 Ford B-max in SW19-Merton. We have heard it once too many times, where customers wished they had a spare car key done, long before they needed one. That was the case here as well, except the second time around, the customer chose to have a spare car key done as well at the same time with the replacement car key. The process of having the lost key replaced, it is pretty standard here. Unlock the vehicle, read and obtain the code necessary to cut the car key, cut the key and lastly, programming the new car keys. While this case was a fortunate one for our customer, there are other makes and models that are not that straightforward, involves a lot more work and possible parts that need to be replaced and of course, all of it can drive the price up as well.

Final thought

It is being said that we learn every day, whether through our own experiences and from others. I for one can say that I did both and I thought that I should share with you this experience and what I have learned from it. About Catalin, what can I say, he is a guy that is very thorough in what he does, pays attention to every detail in other words he is the guy that you would want to be working on your car. And when he does work on your car, you can rest assured that it will be taken care of.

Have you worked with Car Keys Solutions before? Do you know anyone that did? We would love to hear about the experience you had. In any case, if you ever have any car keys problems, call Car Keys Solutions. Call us on 0203 393-5669 or you can visit us at one of our locations

On a side note, we are currently working on a database with How-To tutorials with respect to car keys. Be sure to check back regularly as in this section you will find valuable information that can definitely help save some money. Until next time please Be Safe, Wear a Mask, Save Lives.