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Old 10-08-2011, 01:40 PM   #1
redwolf4k
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Default Can't get keys made that work...

Have a 2002 SL2. Great little car. We cannot seem to make a spare key for it that works in the ignition.

What gives?

It seems like a standard key.... I tried filing imperfections off the new key, but I still cannot get it to work in the ignition.

It works fine in the door.

This is the 5th spare key we have attempted to make in the last 10 years. They never work in the ignition. I feel like its a clearance thing, because even the original key needs a jiggle sometimes to work in the ignition.

Any ideas? Common?

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Old 10-08-2011, 01:44 PM   #2
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1997 SL2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

get a new key cut from the dealer?

...
97 SL2
DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

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Old 10-08-2011, 02:04 PM   #3
redwolf4k
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Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

I am going to have to...

I think I just figured out the problem actually...The key lines up in the ignition by getting stopped by the thick uncut part of the key....Well...on my copy that thick part by the plastic grip is actually SHORTER then the original, so if I line up both keys by where the uncut thick part starts...then one key is actually shorter then the other....which means its out of alignment in the ignition. When matching the keys from TIP to TIP, they are the exact same size and appear to be exactly the same. Funny right? Not to me....

My bet is this is what happened every single time and place I went to get a key made....they all must be using the wrong part number....

Junk.

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Old 10-08-2011, 04:26 PM   #4
FredM
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

You don't mention where you're getting your keys made, but I've had this same issue with keys made a Walmart. The keys are real cheap, but so are the China-sourced key blanks. They were a little too short.

A GM dealer will have a better quality China-sourced key blank (and you'll pay for it, too). But at least the key will work.

Call around and see if you can find a dealer close by that "punches" them using the VIN number instead of copying them on a grinder.

EDIT: STRATEC (sp?) was a good replacement key from a local dealer.

...
Neither a borrower nor a lender be... -- William Shakespeare

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Old 10-08-2011, 10:07 PM   #5
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1997 SL2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FredM View Post
You don't mention where you're getting your keys made, but I've had this same issue with keys made a Walmart. The keys are real cheap, but so are the China-sourced key blanks. They were a little too short.
Oh, key (no pun intended) statement there! I've had several keys made that didn't work. The most recent time, I went to a neighborhood old-time hardware store where the kid tried twice to cut one that didn't work. He finally called up the old timer for help and sure enough.. no problem!

...
1997 - SL2, barebones, 161k, Auto - Rebuild complete and.. burnt a valve 20k later Arrgh!
Purchased 114k 10/07
Added OEM CC

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Old 10-08-2011, 10:26 PM   #6
dj1111
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Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

I had keys cut many years ago at the local Menards store. They always worked fine. Then after some serious ignition cylinder issues that required towing (the key would no longer turn) I had 3 made from the GM dealer. Also had the cylinder rebuilt. All 3 of those keys work great. So I went to Menards and had a few more made cuz I wanted to keep one of the GM cut keys as my master and never use it in the car. All the keys made at Menards this time would not work. Same issue as other posts, the key widens out too soon and does not allow it to go in all the way. I returned them all and got my money back. So it seems you have to go to the dealer now if you want new keys.

...
When I was younger I drove a lifted 4x4 truck with over sized tires. Needed a ladder to get into it. Now at 55 I drive an SL2 and need a ladder to get out.

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Old 10-10-2011, 01:48 AM   #7
SkippyThorson
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2002 SL1
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

I've had the same problem on 2 Walmart blanks. One worked in the doors, but not the trunk or the ignition. I returned it thinking the kid messed it up. Nope. The second one worked in the trunk and doors, but still not the ignition. I gave it to my girlfriend. Now I know she can get in my car if need be, or when I lock my key in the car (I'm good at that) but she can't start it and steal it. They're very handy in that case, but I'd like a third key in case the ones I have decide they've gotten too worn.

I've also been advised to find a machine that will stamp them out as opposed to cutting based off my key - including all of it's wear. I'm afraid to ask Davidson Chevrolet here. Numerous bad experinces, so I'm not sure if I trust them with even a simple key. No box stores / hardware stores around here seem capable either, though.

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Old 10-10-2011, 03:18 AM   #8
macbox
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1997 SC2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

The last time I checked on keys made from the VIN at the Chevy dealer, they wanted something like $50 just to "access the information" from GM. Hopefully it is a few bucks less wherever you are.

...
#4, 1995 SC2m, 163K, 400 Miles per quart. Garage queen. Currently in 1000 pieces for a rebuild.
#5, 1998 SW2m, rebuilt at 126K, Totaled at 205K miles.
#6 1997 SC2a, 179K, Needs a new head.

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Old 10-10-2011, 03:28 AM   #9
tehSaturn
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Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

Interesting that Wal-Mart keys generally haven't worked. Only because my spare is a WM Key that was cut by a very nervous girl who was afraid it wasn't going to work.

Odd enough, it did work. Though the black tab part that the key is set in was tiny and didn't interfere with the ignition or anything. Works in my doors, hatch, and ignition.

...
2001 SW2: 60k Miles @ 8/11

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Old 10-10-2011, 07:59 PM   #10
dj1111
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Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

I think I could have gotten the keys I purchased at Menards to work if I would have done some very careful grinding. The problem I found was that the key suddenly widens too soon, like by about .040". This wider area prevents it from going all the way into the cylinder. I just wasn't in the mood to have to rework them so I returned them. When My keys would no longer start my car and I had to get it towed I had a local shop fix the ignition cylinder. You know how these cars can eat up keys. And mine were warn down so bad they were almost smooth. The shop that did the fix went to our local GM dealer for 3 new keys. They charged me $8. each.

...
When I was younger I drove a lifted 4x4 truck with over sized tires. Needed a ladder to get into it. Now at 55 I drive an SL2 and need a ladder to get out.

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Old 10-21-2011, 01:24 PM   #11
FredM
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

Quote:
Originally Posted by macbox View Post
The last time I checked on keys made from the VIN at the Chevy dealer, they wanted something like $50 just to "access the information" from GM. Hopefully it is a few bucks less wherever you are.
I think that fee depends on the make/model. It was $5 at Saturn of Denville (NJ) a few years back when I had a pair made for the old SL1 (out the door $25).

Good news, using the VIN, I went to Kelly Buick today (on the Lehigh Street Auto Mile here in the Lehigh Valley) to get keys made. Two keys, machine cut by the computer, $14. And, they say "Saturn" on them!

They work perfectly, no more jiggling the key in the ignition.

...
Neither a borrower nor a lender be... -- William Shakespeare

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Old 10-21-2011, 03:22 PM   #12
ssewall
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

The blank is an odd length. You can see that a key made at home depot will have a slightly higher or lower base. It seems the ignition uses that base like a groove in the key. GM style dealership forcing at work.

I ended up having to go to the dealer and get one. 6 dollars, not too bad. They even had some of the little Saturn Dongles left over!

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Old 10-21-2011, 03:56 PM   #13
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

I've been to three different Chevy dealers in town and all of them wanted to charge an arm and a leg to have a key made (over $75). Gonna try some different GM places, but not looking good.

...
2002 SL2 Manual - new in November, 2001
Sticker: $13,995 As of 09/30/17: 223,751 Miles - SOLD

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Old 10-21-2011, 04:34 PM   #14
FredM
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TXSaturn02 View Post
I've been to three different Chevy dealers in town and all of them wanted to charge an arm and a leg to have a key made (over $75). Gonna try some different GM places, but not looking good.
It's hit or miss. The dealer I bought the '00 from used to be a Saturn dealer, but they didn't have the key cutting equipment anymore. They referred me to the Buick/GMC dealer (also a former Saturn dealer) where I think the last remaining equipment may exist for a 50 mile radius.

I was shocked at how low the cost was. I expected to pay at least the $25 I did last time around.

I can get any kind of work done on the car at the Chevy dealer where my brother works, but they don't cut Saturn keys there. They were nice enough to program my eBay remote this morning free of charge (it's good to know someone at the dealer!).

Best shot is to find a former Saturn dealership that is currently hosting another GM brand.

...
Neither a borrower nor a lender be... -- William Shakespeare

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Old 10-21-2011, 05:00 PM   #15
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2002 SC2
Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

When I needed to do this 5 years ago, the dealer said they could simply look up the car's VIN and make the keys without seeing my old keys. They charged me $60.... for keys that were pretty much wrong. I ended up with $5 keys from Home Depot that worked better than the dealers'. All-around weird.

...
Black 2002 SC2 manual 1.9L DOHC - 210,000 miles (July 2017)

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Old 10-21-2011, 08:48 PM   #16
dj1111
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Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FredM View Post
And, they say "Saturn" on them!
I may have to order some, my brand new remote key fobs deserve it.

...
When I was younger I drove a lifted 4x4 truck with over sized tires. Needed a ladder to get into it. Now at 55 I drive an SL2 and need a ladder to get out.

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Old 10-21-2011, 08:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Can't get keys made that work...

always go to a locksmith or an old-school hardware store for keys.

they'll actually pay attention to what they're doing. make sure they use the side-by-side duplicator instead of the cartridge style you see at home depot and fred meyer.

my car was rekeyed by a previous owner, so saturn couldn't cut one off my VIN. the key i had was not working consistently, so i went to a little one-man operation locksmith and he made a working key out of my non-working key.

...
1995 SL, born 12/23/94, manual, WAI 190,500, "Doris"
(I'm Ben, the car is Doris)

you can't mulch at those speeds man, that's too fast

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