Thursday, January 14, 2010

98 Toyota Avensis - Spinning Key / Central Locking problem

So in the hope that the wonders of blogger's high google search rankings might bring someone knowledgeable to stumble on this... I've got a problem with an Irish 98 Toyota Avensis.

The issue seems to be that the key is spinning endlessly in the drivers door, without ever 'catching' the mechanism to lock or unlock the car. It's been getting progressively worse over the course of months, and it's finally refusing to actually lock the car full-stop today - it just won't catch the locking mechanism or engage the central locking at all. It either spins endlessly, or if it ever does 'catch', then it jams and won't turn the mechanism.

Has any wonderful person out in internet land ever come across this problem, and a solution? It has been degenerative, so it's gotten slowly worse and worse over time, but it's just suddenly jumped from really bad to totally broken today. The garage (who are normally very very good) have said it can be fixed but it's the barrel in the door that needs to be replaced, and that's the thick end of €900... could it really be that?

The key will start the car perfectly, so there's no problem whatsoever using the key in the ignition chamber - but it just will not work now in the drivers door, which is the only way to get in/out of the car and lock it. The car was 2nd hand, and never had an electronic key fob for remote central locking, so there's no way to try that. (Though that'd be a great solution if there was a way to get a fob for the car and program it to work with this specific 98 Avensis... is there any way to do that?)

Anyone? Is there a reasonable cheap solution to whatever this problem actually is?


Einar said...

i have similar problem. have you tried to reset the remote lock (see manual) if i remember it worked... now i have bigger problem though... the lock mechanism is broken and no way to open the door...

divot said...

Hiya - no - I actually don't have a remote fob key as it was 2nd hand and didn't come with one! So have been relying on the physical key to open the door, but that's almost impossible now.

I was considering trying to buy a fob and then 'program' the car to recognise the fob (there are some instructions on this around the net) - but I'm a bit afraid of going tinkering with a programming mode in the car, incase I cripple the computer that controls central locking completely.. I'd love just to get the physical key working again without spending an absolute fortune!

Unknown said...

how about walking around to the passenger-door side to lock your car?? it sounds crazy but it might work.....seriously though, ive been centrally locking my car from the passenger side for years since the drivers door gave up. The first few times after you change over is so deeply satisfying. Abandoning all the edgey, delicate, desperate twiddlings of the drivers side lock for the stout, firm, immediate response from your passenger side lock will bring a smile to your face for months to come. Enjoy!

Ger said...

have the same problem, cl dont work on remote key, so was doing the locking with the door key.. now it happened only once. but i found that i had to turn the key all the way back one turn to get it to work again ... now fingers crossed it is still working.. tried all the sites for the combo to get the remote keys working but no luck,, i will have to try new batteries. although they are coming up on meter as good.. let us know how you get on.. thanks

divot said...

Ok, solved it (sort of). Turned out in the end it was the barrel in the door that had gone. Some sort of progressive physical wear I'm guessing from the way the symptoms seemed to be progressive.

Anwyay, the garage must have had the pricing wrong or something - it turned out to be €80 to change the barrel, plus labour. Well worth it - it had gotten to the stage where the drivers door would intermittently be able to unlock the car from the outside, but would never be able to lock the door. And you couldn't fire the central locking using the inside-door button, and then shut the drivers door - it would auto-unlock as a safety measure when you tried.

So we were having to shut drivers door, walk around, get in passengers door, reach across, lock central locking from inside, then get out and shut passenger door to lock the car.

It was only going to be a matter of time before we locked a key in the car that way - or the drivers door (only barrel) failed completely and left us locked out somewhere remote.

So if you can verify with your local garage that the barrel is the problem, I'd probably recommend ordering a replacement one before you get to this stage - quite stressful once you're not ever sure you'll be able to get in to your car every time you need to go to work!

Anonymous said...

did you have any further problems after you replaced the barrel..
seem to be having the same problem, but the car alarm is also intermittant so reluctant to use just the fob

Anonymous said...

This is really counter-intuitive, but the solution is oil!! The deadbolts are not falling down into the key grooves so the car doesn't recognise the key. when this happens the key just spins round loosely. The same thing happens if you put in the wrong key. I found this out because I put my key into a car parked next to mine (same coulour - model). It's probably not a problem with the barrel.

I squirted a little WD40 and all's ticketyboo!