CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Need ideas for lubing a lock cylinder

I have a 2000 Ford Ranger, 2WD, Roughly 175,000 miles on it.

The Lock Cylinder sticks very bad and frankly im very tight on cash right now so i just cant buy a replacement and i was wondering if anyone has any suggestions are far as using a lube to loosen it up a bit. When i pulled it out there seemed to be some very old grease on/it it and im also wondering about the best way to clean that out.

When my ignition cylinder was sticking I removed it, took it to a locksmith, who told me not to use spray-lube such as WD-40. I figure he knows better than I do. You can find lock lubes for a few bucks at the hardware/auto/Walmart… They can’t hurt and may help. If it’s really gunked up, take it out, soak it in mineral spirits for a day, shake it around, let it dry, add graphite.

Its not horrifically gunked up as far as i can tell but i guess it cant hurt to do the mineral spirit soak anyways to clean it out if its sticking at all.

Do you have any recommendation or will any graphite be alright?

Try spraying contact cleaner, it will not leave a residue, then put a little graphite in. As @random troll says, keep oils like wd-40 out of the lock

Something like this:
https://m.lowes.com/pd/3-IN-ONE-3-in-One-2-oz-Lock-Lube/50370408

I’m no expert. I buy the tiny tube in the key-making section at the Mart of Wal. As far as I know any made for the purpose will do as well. I don’t know why graphite for any purpose wouldn’t work, but maybe there’s something special about the stuff that says it’s for locks.

After you use graphite, put an old rag in your car for wiping off the key after you take it out for a while. Otherwise you might end up with graphite on your clothing.

Graphite always has worked for me, either by puffing it in or applying directly to the key. If cylinder is gummed up from lubricants or solvents that left a residue you first may need to wash or leach it out with a solvent that evaporates completely (maybe methyl alcohol or brake cleaner, but check on an unconspicous place that it doesn’t harm the car’s finish). Don’t use WD40 or oils in locks as in time they get gummy.

Make sure its the lock cylinder and not something else in the linkages. Plastic bushings tend to wear out and the linkage gets difficult to operate. Move the linkage by hand with cylinder disconnected to isolate cause…

Do you have a less worn (or less bent) key to try?

also, you can try a new key, cut from your code, or use the VIN to get the code and have a key cut from that by providing truck owner verification.


"Factor 2: Worn out key . Keys that are worn out are actually very common, particularly on older vehicles. If your vehicle key is worn out, this will not allow the pins inside of the cylinder to drop correctly and start the car. If you have a spare key, try to use that first. If you do not, you can obtain a spare key by writing down your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is found on the driver’s side windshield or inside the door jamb. You will then want to contact your dealership to get a new key made.

* Some newer cars have key codes attached to a set of keys. If your key is worn out and you need a new one, you can give this code to your dealership instead of the VIN."
CSA
:palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree: