Toyota Sienna: Key Wear

And it came to pass in the Christmas Season that our ignition keys began jamming in the lock, rather than just starting the van. It seems Toyota used split wafers in their locks up through the early part of this millennium, with the result that the delicate wafer edges tend to wear out both themselves and the edges of the keys.

I can’t vouch for the wafers, but the keys definitely aren’t in good shape:

Ignition keys - worn vs new
Ignition keys – worn vs new

Given that picture, someone can probably conjure up a shiny new key and drive away with our 14-year-old Sienna van. It just rolled over 90 k miles and is in pretty good condition. New battery and hood prop pivot, too.

Being that type of guy, the first thing I did with the new van was to get duplicate keys and drop the OEM keys into the “2000 Sienna” file folder. The middle key in that photo has had maybe a dozen uses and is in pristine condition.

Rumor has it that one can cannibalize a set of split wafers from the glove box lock:

Glove box latch
Glove box latch

Or, according to different sources, you can simply discard the split wafers and be done with it.

The trick to removing the lock cylinder lies in turning the key to the Accessory position, then poking a pointy object into a small hole to depress an internal spring-loaded pin. Of course, one must disable the air bags, dismantle the steering wheel, and remove half a dozen trim panels to reveal the small hole.

Fortunately, the two “new” keys from the file folder work perfectly and we’ll run with them for a while. I suppose I should get another set of duplicates, but …