Well, today has been a car day. After getting the insurance thing straightened out, I stopped to fill up with gas. While doing so, I placed my keys on the trunk of the car. The temperature was of course quite cold… After filling up I got back in the car and stuck my key in the ignition. When I did the plastic shroud that forms the hole for the keyring shattered. It has been in bad shape for quite some time, so I wasn’t terribly surprised.
After work, I stopped at Wal-Mart to get a key made. The woman at the desk looked at the key, and said “Oh, we can’t do that, it has a chip.” I responded, “No, it doesn’t. It’s from 1995, they didn’t chip the keys then.” “Uh huh… sure… Let me show you, I’ll put it in our detector.” I just smiled and nodded. She stuck the key into their detector, and it didn’t light up. She removed it and tried it again. “Huh, I guess you are in luck, there doesn’t seem to be a chip.” “Oh, Huh… Who knew…” So then she struggled a bit with the machine trying to figure out what blank to use. Once she got the key made, I paid for it, and took it to my car. It opened the door just fine. I stuck it in the ignition, and it wouldn’t turn. So, back I went, she made another key and this one suffered the same problem. I kept it after I noticed what I assumed was the problem. Their machine left a square edge at the hilt of the key, when the original key had that spot at a 30 degree angle.
I then stopped at ACE Hardware thinking they might be better at it. The man took a look at the key, asked me “What year” “1995” “Make and Model?” “Ford Tarus” He then pulled out a book, and looked up the key and selected the right blank in seconds. (A far difference form the Wal-Mart idiot method of sticking the key in a bunch of holes to find the proper fit) He made the key, and I paid for it. I took it to my car, and found that it opened the door just fine also. I stuck it in the ignition and it wouldn’t turn. At that moment of despair a little voice in my head said “hey, flip it over”. Not one to ignore the little voices in my head when they get loud, I did and the key turned just fine.
I drove home using the new key, confident that I could easily fix the other side of the key so it would work correctly. When I got home the little voice chimed in again with, “hey try flipping over the Wal-Mart key too”. I did, and that one also worked when inserted one way, but not the other. I went inside and took a good look at the keys, in both cases there was the square improperly cut spot at the hilt of the key on one side. I got out the Dremel, and ground down the square point, and brushed the rough sharp points off, I then went out to the car, and the keys both worked.
So, it would seem that Ford’s key design is really just two keys stuck together in one, and there is only one set of tumblers in the ignition afterall.
The only point in the key looking the way it does is so that it will work either way you put it in. Who knew… (yeah, all you car people out there knew already didn’t you?)