Ziptide September 2018

Sept. 4, 2018

NASTF Changes

Do you have any pull regarding NASTF cutting off hundreds of locksmith LSID numbers? NASTF was created (in part) to help locksmiths get codes and pins directly from VIN numbers. I have not been able to access GM codes since they cut off my LSID number. I've contacted them so many times that they probably know me by name. Cutting off everyone's LSID is basically telling us that we're all selling codes or stealing cars. What an insult!

My question is: who can I complain to about the NASTF?

Michael Tritel

Owner, Lively Locks & Dead Bolts

NASTF was formed primarily because private auto repair dealers were being deprived of electronic servicing information for tuning engines. Most car manufacturers grudgingly added VIN/key code information but GM has tightened  their  willingness to provide key code information several times over the years.  Locksmith Ledger does not have any connection to NASTF. An alternative would be to obtain decoding tools such as Lishi which can decode GM locks without disassembly.  

-- Editor-in-Chief Gale Johnson

Making Lost Car Keys

We are only interested in making automotive keys for people who have lost theirs. We are not interested in any other aspect of locksmithing other than generating/making keys to replace a lost key. That said, briefly what is a round figure needed as an investment for hard/software? Thank you in advance.

IGT Roadside Service

We shared this question with some distributors and manufacturers. Their general answers were that an approximate $15,000 investment would be required. The largest costs would be for an automatic key cutting machine to originate keys ($6000) and at least one programing tool ($2500) to program transponder keys to each individual vehicle. For the last 15 years most vehicles have used keys with a milled groove called sidewinder keys. A company called Lishi dominates the market with reader/picks which can decode sidewinder locks. There are approximately 100 Lishi tools and each one costs approximately $50. A stock of transponder keys for popular cars sold in your area an additional cost but cannot be approximated.

There is a service called NASTF which can provide key codes by VIN numbers. This solves key making but key programming varies widely by vehicle make, model and year. Proper training is essential. Purchase of the above supplies will have no value unless you have a technician who understands how to use them.

-- Editor-in-Chief Gale Johnson

Questions? Visit Discussion Forums

Got a challenging question about a recent installation? Our online discussion forums might just have the answer you need. 

Post your questions at and see if your colleagues or our editors can provide an answer.  Forum topics include Ask An Expert (moderated by editor in chief Gale Johnson), General Locksmithing, Electronic Access Control, Safe Servicing and Automotive Locksmithing. 

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