Previous sessions covered the difficult situations of the emergency
lockout business, where this session covers the easy day to day call.
Build good habits at the job site and the easy calls won’t turn into
It’s a good idea to grab two wedges and the assigned tool while leaving
all other items in your vehicle. If later you need to go to a second
method assigned, return to the carry case to make the swap. Doing this
will help prevent the loss of tooling which often you won’t miss until
the next job assigns that lost equipment.
Discovering the loss of equipment at the next job site can cause you
to lose a job you have already traveled to thus wasting your time and
the customers, who waited for you in their time of trauma. They then
have to call around in hopes there is another lockout technician available,
only to wait once again.
Inventory your kit from time to time,
you would be surprised how many lost tool orders we ship every
day. If the lost item happens to be a Z-Tool or an Inverted Z-Tool,
our customers often request next day air delivery due to the high
volume of vehicles these tools open.
As you learned from lesson #3, first do
your precheck walk around, follow your manual and execute the
opening method(s) as assigned.
First open the door and sit
in the seat, as you must claim the keys. I say claim the keys
because you need them to complete the job before turning them
over to your customer. With keys in hand, remove any tooling or
accessories used and put the tools back in the carry case, or
you may later find they drove down the road atop the roof or still
in the door cavity.
It is easier to remove most any lockout tool from a door cavity by
rolling the window down 3-4 inches. Doing so relieves the pressure between
the glass and the weatherstripping due to the bow in the glass. This
is an especially useful hint when there is a steel or plastic anti-theft
guard attached to the window glass bottom. By the way, the factory engineers
would not call those strips anti-theft guards, but to us, they are an
obstruction we must work around every time they are present.
With all equipment stowed the keys are now used to show the customer
and yourself all is operating properly. Reach over and unlock the other
door before beginning the following tests.
Problems to look for are: No linkages have been knocked off or a linkage
shortened by bending it during the opening procedure. Most manufactures
install high quality hardened steel for linkages, although there are
many with the inferior soft type which unavoidably become bent from
time to time. Do not close the door until the lock system is confirmed
in working order.
Confirm a shorten linkage by observing the manual lock button throw.
If it does not make a full normal travel to its locked and unlocked
positions, then it was shortened. If you are not sure the linkage is
shorten, watch the travel of the opposite door. The lock system will
often have trouble locking and unlocking. It is easy to fix without
removing the door panel. Simply reinsert a Z-Tool or Inverted Z-Tool
to lift up from under the linkage, or to push down on top of the linkage
to restore it’s original shape and length.
Cycle the electric lock system a few times. Now, manually lock and close
the door. Use the key to unlock and relock the door while it is open.
Finish by closing the door, locking it, and once again opening with the
key one last time. Encourage the customer to observe the test process.
There is one inspection that needs to be done, but cannot be tested.
That is checking for cracked linkage clips. Plastic linkage clips become
brittle with age after years of being in the weathered hot and cold
door cavities. Days or months after the opening was completed, sometimes
the repeated closing of the door causes the linkage to fall off due
to a broken or cracked clip. The customer may or may not remember you
as the cause when it happens, either way, they still have a trip for
The primary reason a clip becomes cracked or broken is due to direct
contact with the clip or excessive up or down pressure applied during
Be careful not to push down to hard on the target mechanism unless
instructed to do so, especially when working with older vehicles. This
situation is avoidable when using the Z-Tool and its sister, Inverted
Z-Tool. They both have the patented mini box hook which requires no
heavy pressure in order to lock onto the targets.
Excessive pressure can cause another problem that spoils many openings
which otherwise would have been an easy opening. Commonly, bell cranks
are shaped as a cam. When at the step in the instructions where asked
to move the linkage to its opened position, the technician pushes down
hard so to help lock onto the linkage while moving the linkage to it’s
opened position. Often, the linkage is connected to a bell crank which
must travel slightly up hill to the top of the cam before it’s free
to continue full travel to the opened position. That slight uphill travel
and use of down pressure will stop the normal throw needed to allow
the lock system to move to its opened position.
A perfect example is working with the Chevrolet Astro and it’s sister
GMC Safari. These popular vans were first introduced in 1985, and are still
produced. That is over 16 years in production and you can expect
to be up against them more than once. I would say half who open these
vehicles and run into trouble is for this very reason. Simply to much
pressure. Again, the sister Z-Tools do not require down or upwards pressure
to lock onto the targets. Therefore, learn to use as little pressure
as possible. Keep it simple, simply twist to bind onto linkage and move
it to it’s opened position.
Side Air Bags should also be tested in front of the customer.
Most every model has the side air bags installed in the seats,
is away from the work area. For those few models with the air bag installed
in the door cavity, there is a clear comment in the manual’s index concerning
that model. The problem is the power harness, and/or its end clip, which
may be exposed to contact. Most vehicles now have the harness routed
within the rocker panel and enclosed body skin. There has never been
a side air bag incident called into our technical support line.
To fire an air bag in the first place, you would have to strip insulation
off the fire wire, and/or the second wire with voltage, and then touch
the two together. There are no sharp edged tools in this kit that could
skin a wire. Therefore, we have little to no concern about side air
bags in the emergency auto lockout industry. The fabricated hype will
continue to come from those companies who produced products starting
back in 1986, when it was first thought there would be a problem. Ignore
the continued hype from advertisers as best as you can until they stop
the scare tactic sales. The truth will eventually put those products
out of business.
After the vehicle is opened, start
the vehicle and note the air bag system ready light to
ensure system is functioning properly. Why test the A.B.S. if
they are not a problem? So to prevent being accused later in the
event of deployment failure and to avoid having to educate some
lawyer on the side air bag misunderstandings. Again folks, the
side air bags are in the seat backs, away from the area we are
A.B.S. TEST PROCEDURE: Soon after starting the vehicle the ready light
should appear and then go out, if the light does not appear or stays
on longer than a few seconds, the system may not be operating properly.
Test the air bag every time and have the customer observe the ready
light. Most cars only need the ignitiion turned to the accessory position
for this test.
When the air bag ready light is confirmed
operative, you only need to be paid. That is when you turn over
the keys to your relieved and thankful customer who is now out
of this stranded situation and back on the road again, only a
little behind in their plans for that day.
End Session 4
here for more information about side air bags
With this fourth session
completed, you should now be armed with plenty of knowledge
to keep from having to learn this business the hard
way. Again, the manual, (researched and written by us),
will guide you on each vehicle you come up against.
It works wonders and works every day for 10’s of thousands
of users. The #1 advice we preach over and over, is
to simply look up the vehicle each and every time, even
if you think you opened the identical vehicle that very
Thank you for joining
our free online seminars, as it has been our pleasure
making the information available to your company. We
learn something new most every day involving this vast
industry and hope to provide additional class material
in the future.
The Slide Lock Tools Team