A week on the road with Lorin Andrei Chirila

London not as I thought I knew

London traffic

My second week in the field was with Lorin, and yet again, I got to see parts of London and outside of London, as far as Ipswitch, that I have not yet seen. I must say that driving through, and outside London, it is just excellent, and it is nothing like what I have known or thought that I learned about London to be like. I do have to admit that the traffic in London can be excruciating at times depending on what part of the day one would choose to go by car. Once you are out of London or somewhat outside London, it gets a little better. Also, I found London to be a combination of modern and historical. England’s capital history extends to over 2000 years and during all this time it has become the world’s most significant financial capital city of course after it has withstood plaque, a devastating fire, wars and in recent years terrorist attacks. Did you know that in London today, there are over 300 languages which makes it the most multicultural city in the world or that The Millennium Dome is the most prominent structure of the kind in the world and is an exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millennium? A fun fact about The Dome is that its structure represents a calendar year. The diameter of The Dome is 365 meters( one meter for each day), 52m high( 1 meter for each week of the year) and 12 yellow support towers( one for each month of the year). About London, there is a lot to be said. And I will in due time. With every article that I will be writing from now on, I will try to include some fun stuff or fun facts about London. But if I forget about it, I am counting on you to send me a reminder. I am just kidding. It wouldn’t be professional if I would forget, right? Anyway, that’s it about London.

Lorin the auto locksmith you can count on

Steering column lock technician Lorin Chirila

Lorin is the guy I’m supposed to say something about, so here it goes. Lorin joined Car Keys Solutions in July of 2016 as a  steering column lock technician and locks and ignition switch repair technician. “ My prior experience as an auto mechanic helped and still helps me in understanding how any given components that I work or come in contact with, work, assessing the faults and coming up with solutions and of course proceeding with the repair. In this line of work, I have had the pleasure of meeting people from all walks of life. While many of them knew not to get involved in a DIY kind of repair, others did and only  made it worse for themselves.” Lorin is a person that takes pride in his work, and that includes always trying new things and learning everything there is to learn to make his job as easy as possible. There is a saying that goes like this; practice makes perfect, and Lorin is well on his way to achieving just that. When asked about working at Car Keys Solutions, Lorin said “ I enjoy it very much. I like the fact that we have a young team of technicians, all eager to succeed therefore we all can learn from one another to better ourselves as each one of us has our own experiences and our difficulties sometimes that we solve on a daily basis” And Lorin continues “ I had gotten far now as far as the knowledge I have now, compared to, you know, back to when I started, and that is of great achievement as it is to all of our colleagues and hope that one day, to our newest colleagues as well.” In my observation, while in the field with Lorin and Vasile, the jobs they have to attend to are not always straightforward ones, and then you add to it the weather which can be either hot, cold or rainy. While with Lorin, it happened that the days were scorching. Some of the jobs that we attended to – just don’t get any ideas that I have touched anything because if I did, our days could’ve been much longer, but anyway, given the environment, we found ourselves in, Lorin has acted in a very professional manner and showed the human side where is not always about business when coming across people in need that needed help. And that makes him a valuable person of high moral character that Car Keys Solutions is proud to have him as a team member. 

A glimpse at the Lorin’s jobs

While travelling with Lorin for the past week has been a real pleasure that also gave me the chance to learn – ok I am probably getting ahead of myself here, can’t say that I have learned much but I got to see what steering column lock looks like or that the ignition switch is for the most part nowadays an electronic component and not a mechanical component. Of course, the mechanical ignition switch is for those car keys that have a metal blade and the electronic ignition switch is for those vehicles that use in-dash fob keys.  So here are a few of the jobs that Lorin and I attended to in the past week.

Audi A3 2008 – Lost car key

In itself when mentioning a lost car key, that means no other key is available for immediate use. Which is why Car Keys Solutions always suggests that a spare key should not be looked at as an option but as a must. It will come in handy one day. Have you ever that expression ” I never lost anything before” or “ that never happened to me before”? To something like that I would say, there is a first for everything. Not only that it may come in handy, but when it comes to making a new key, and no working key is present things will get interesting. Depending on the vehicle, the process of getting a new car key can be costly, and the work needed to be done is going to be extensive. 

Audi A3 2008 decoding the lock

In this case, our customer has misplaced his key after locking up the vehicle, somewhere at his workplace and has not driven the car for a week in the hope of finding the key. Since he couldn’t find it anywhere and thanks to CCTV cameras he eliminated the possibility of locking up the keys inside the vehicle by tracing his steps from the time he got out of the car to the moment he went inside the building and of course locking the vehicle up in between by using his own keys. The point here is, no matter where you are, we are,  and because our brain is processing a million things per second at any given time, it is not hard to not remember the basic thing like where we have left our car key, wallet or anything else for that matter. Anyway, fortunately for our customer, we, I mean Lorin was able to cut and program a new car key even when a working car key was not present and keep the price lower. Now the price would’ve even lower for a spare, but that’s another story. Have I mentioned that this customer decided to keep betting on not misplacing or worse losing his key again since he still doesn’t have a spare?

Audi A3 2008 car key programming

The next jobs…

Mercedes C-class And Mercedes E-class

Mercedes C and E class steering wheel removal

The next jobs involved steering column locks for various Mercedes C- class and E- class. The steering column locks for the Mercedes C and E class is a common issue, and you can read more about it in the Common fault fixing page. The symptoms of a car that is not starting and steering column lock is at fault can be mistakenly believed that among other components the ignition switch may be at fault.

Mercedes C and E class steering column lock removal

One piece of advice here and only because we have seen it happening with the ignition switch. Never attempt to do any work on an electronic ignition switch much less trying to lubricate. Yes, we have seen the circuit board well lubricated which rendered the ignition switch unusable. Something like that can not only expand the work that needs to be done, but it gets costly as well. Later I will talk about such instances, where the customer attempted to “repair” the ignition switch when instead the steering column lock was at fault and now both had to be replaced. Please, keep reading.

Mercedes C and E class steering column lock

MERCEDES-BENZ SPRINTER 2015 – Stolen Ignition Switch

MERCEDES BENZ SPRINTER 2015 stolen ignition switch

Having the MERCEDES-BENZ SPRINTER’s ignition switch stolen is the most common way of eventually getting the entire vehicle stolen. The idea behind is, by stealing the ignition switch, the thieves, if they’re moving fast enough, they’ll try to make a key for that ignition switch, come back, reinstall it, program the key and drive away, with the van. As it can be seen in the photo above, the thieves will stop at nothing to get what they want. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Car Keys Solutions we have solutions that will protect your van by increasing its security and you can read more about it in our van security and safety page. 

MERCEDES BENZ SPRINTER 2015 ignition switch with ignition guard installed

Porsche Boxster 2001- Remote not working

Rindt Vehicle Design Porsche Repair and Restoration service

My favourite one so far is the Porsche Boxster 2001 and not because there was anything special about this car but because of all the Porsches waiting in the lot of the Rindt Vehicle Design lot waiting for their turn to be either serviced or restored. All or most of their repairs are Porsches related. So, if you ever need you Porsche serviced, restored or anything else for that matter, give them a call. There is a very good chance that may be able to help out. You can call them on 01628 825067 or 07535 987911

Porsche 912

The service call here for us was for a non-working remote for the 2001 Porsche Boxster. The repair which in a sense was more of a replacement, was straightforward, of course,  when you know what you do. That was the case for Lorin as 1-2-3  and before I got to look at all the Porsches in the lot, the job was over. All there was to do, was to cut a new key, program the key. 

Porsche Boxster 2001 car key

Other jobs that Lorin and I have gone to

Mercedes Sprinter 2007 immobiliser

This one is a special case that will be talked about in a different article along with another van as each has their particularities but, both have the same problem.  Both our customers attempted to repair the car on their own only to make it harder on themselves. We are not saying that vehicles cannot be fixed DIY, because sometimes it can be, but to do that it also requires some knowledge, equipment and most of all patience and be aware that there might be a possibility of something to go wrong. When that happens, that would be the moment when someone qualified will be more suitable to finish the job. The scenario for these two vans was that the steering column lock being at fault was mistaken for a bad ignition switch initially which in the end it proved to be unworthy of trying to repair it instead of having an auto locksmith addressing the issue. 

The Summary of the week

Having travelled with Lorin for the past week, gave me the chance to see parts of London and outside of London that I have never seen before. More than that, I got the chance of learning what steering column locks are about or look like what they do and how they work. I also have learned a little bit about ignition switches. My takeaway from this past week experience is that: 

  1. Never lubricate electronic ignition switches. If not sure what kind of ignition switch you may have, call us and we can advise you further.
  2. Steering column locks. These are the most common issues for Mercedes C-class And E-class and as well the Mercedes Sprinter that will cause the vehicle to not start. The symptoms of a faulty steering column lock  can sometimes mistakenly be associated with other components that may be believed to be at fault, 
  3. For any car repair or car key repair, always consider a qualified professional such as an auto mechanic or an auto locksmith. There might be times when one might get lucky with guessing about what could be wrong and then try to repair it, but definitely there could be times where the guesses could and would cost money that wouldn’t have to be paid in the first place. 

Final Thought

When you have Lorin working on your vehicle, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. The work will be carried out as promised and at the highest standard possible. If you have any car key issues, do not hesitate to Call Car Keys Solutions at 0203 393 5669 or visit us at one of the two locations we currently have.