Scoping a automotive door lock

Calgary Locksmith scoping a 2013 Nissan panel van

Today we have a set of 4-part YouTube “short” videos showing how we gather lock information by using locksmith scoping, cut a new key, and set the key to the specific lock on a 2013 Nissan Panel Van.

In a world where automobiles play a pivotal role in our daily lives, encountering issues with car locks and keys is not uncommon. Whether it’s locking your keys inside the car or dealing with a malfunctioning ignition, these situations can be frustrating and inconvenient. This is where Calgary Rekey Lockworks comes into play, offering a specialized set of skills to address these problems effectively.

Using Locksmith Scoping to Decode Door Locks

The tumblers inside a wafer-tumbler lock that is in the rest position protrude into the keyway by varying amounts depending on the depth of the cut for that particular tumbler.  If you could see clearly into the lock, you could cut a key simply by looking at the tumblers.  Many professional locksmiths use that technique with great success, but it doesn’t come without practice.

Visual observation of a key or lock allows for various forms of decoding.

  • Key bitting pattern. This process is known as “sight-reading” a key.
  • Key codes on the bow. Can also be used to identify the key-way of a lock.
  • Presence and position of secondary locking mechanisms such as sidebars.

In the case of colored lock components, a bore scope or similar tool may be used to look inside the lock and determine component positions. Many pin-tumbler re-keying kits use colors to symbolize different bottom pin sizes. In wafer locks, a bore scope or similar tool can be used to look at the position of each wafer as it rests in the lock. In lever locks, a bore scope or similar tool can be used to look at the shape of each lever but requires that a secondary tool (called a “setup key”) be used to move other levers out of the way.

Thinking about becoming a Journeyman Locksmith in Alberta? Visit the Locksmith License department of