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Old 06-15-2008, 10:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Geo Key Ignition - Graphite Okay?

The key-ignition in my metro is starting to stick a bit. I'm assuming something like a liquid spray lube would not be okay? That said, can I shoot a bit of graphite in there? Or is that not okay either?

Thanks for the help gents!

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Old 06-15-2008, 11:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The pins may be hanging up inside the cylinder, most spray lubes are O.K. I use WD40 myself, they sell a small one now with the tiny tube permanently attached. (which is good, cause the push in ones always shoot out on me), That said.
Spray or powdered graphite is also good. You just need to free up the pins and keep them smooth.
Put some lube on your key first and run it in & out 2 or 3 times. Repeat this process until everything inside feels smooth. Keep a rag handy, if you need to repeat more than a couple times, lube is going to drip from the cylinder. Then let it drain and in a week put in the graphite.
Hope it comes out good for you.
The alternate method is to drive to a locksmith who does auto work. They will usually R&R the cylinder, clean it and replace any worn parts for a very small fee. The guy near my house charges me $25.00 for the service.I use him a lot cause I sell so many cars.(I'm behind this year).
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
The key-ignition in my metro is starting to stick a bit. I'm assuming something like a liquid spray lube would not be okay? That said, can I shoot a bit of graphite in there? Or is that not okay either?
It is starting to stick because of all the muck/goo that the key deposits in there after many years. The muck/goo FILLS IN the clearances between moving parts. You can certainly spray all kinds of things in it, and they will soften the muck/goo and it will work for a while.

I got tired of the "for a while" part, so I take the lock cylinder out (push pin under the lock when in accesory position, remove lock). Disassemble it completely (keep track of which tumbler goes where). Do not lose any of the mosquito sized springs. Clean all the parts with a tooth brush and solvent. THAT fixes it for good.

Graphite is slippery, but again, the problem is that the clearances between the parts are filled in. If you are OK with the removal part but scared of the "disassemble" part, you could soak the removed cylinder in solvent for a day, and then work the key in and out (turn it as well) as you do so. Clouds of dirt will blow out of it. In the meantime you can start your car with a tool in the lock cylinder hole.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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lock de-icer might help because it has graphite in it with a solvent to losen the goo, liquid lubes are often advised agenst for locks because the tend to attract dust and those gum the lock even more, I've had lock smiths tell me to use LPS 1 on locks to free them up, but that graphite is normally the best as it will not attract dust.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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lock de-icer might help because it has graphite in it with a solvent to losen the goo, liquid lubes are often advised agenst for locks because the tend to attract dust and those gum the lock even more, I've had lock smiths tell me to use LPS 1 on locks to free them up, but that graphite is normally the best as it will not attract dust.
I agree that is the standard advice. The locks I have taken apart and fixed have been packed with black muck (maybe someone elses graphite?) and there is no free space between the parts, so they stick. The method I have used on multiple car locks and a medeco door lock are the take apart to clean method. That fixes it 100%.

Last edited by ttoyoda; 06-15-2008 at 02:29 PM.. Reason: changed used to method
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would never us graphite in a lock tumbler, it just plugs them up. I worked as a locksmith for 8 years, and we used Tri-Flow Teflon spray. WD-40 will work well for flushing the cylinder, but it evaporates and leaves nothing behind to lubricate for normal use.

You can try to clear out some of the gunk by spraying quite a bit of teflon in and working the key in and out with out turning the cylinder. Keep spraying in more oil to flush out the gunk, you will need lots of rags to catch the blackend oil. You can keep repeating that process till the oil comes out clearer. If your key doesn't have cuts that are alternating high and low, it won't work the pins or wafers as well while cleaning. You can use any of the same type of key that might have better cuts to do this.

Also if your key is almost wore in half (GM) .. get a new one! It will save you some headaches. The sticking may not be the gunk at all .. it could be a copy that is not cut accurate. Always make copies from the original key, not a copy of a copy.

If flushing doesn't work, it will need to be removed and cleaned like ttoyoda described. Always regularly oil lock cylinders, especially the doors in road salt conditions.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've used powdered graphite in the Paseo with excellent results. It was starting to get gummy about a year ago. A few shots of powered graphite and I haven't had any problems since, smooth as glass.

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