Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Does graphite lube work well for the ignition switch cylinder? Will it still need to be replaced if it does work?

asked by on

My steering wheel was locked initially but once it was unlocked my key still wouldn't turn. So I reached out to the local mechanics. One said to replace the ignition switch however the other used the graphite lube & the ignition switch unlocked & my car crank right up. He said it happens all the time at the shop. But I wonder if its a quick fix & still needs to be replaced. This is the first time I've had any trouble & I'm scared it may happen again.
My car's transmission is unknown to me.

A: Graphite lube is a great trick to unstick i...

Graphite lube is a great trick to unstick ignitions and door locks. Sometimes, when the steering wheel locks, you will have a hard time turning the key. In the heat of the moment frustrations take over and we can get a little rough turning the key and damage can occur. I too have been a victim of this, especially when you’re running late.

If something is bound up inside the key cylinder, graphite is the first thing to try when attempting to unstick whatever is keeping the key from moving. Once free, they key should work without issue. In most cases, if they key cylinder has been freed, a replacement is not necessary. If a pattern starts to arise and this happens more, then it is likely a ignition key cylinder replacement may be needed.

For some peace of mind, try carrying some graphite lube in your glove box and in the first sign of a stuck key, gently wiggle the steering wheel and key at the same time in attempt to make the key turn successfully. If you want a second opinion on this, feel free to reach out to a certified mechanic who can diagnose your ignition system first hand and fix any issues accordingly.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Can't get battery out of car

Hello. The most common cause of this is a failing battery. It sounds like your battery may be bad so it should be load tested. There is also a common issue with the ignition switch failing. If you cannot get...

Q: Car is idling at 1100 rpms

Hi, thanks for writing in. High engine idle can be caused by a number of different things. A stuck/binding throttle, vacuum leak, bad throttle position sensor, coolant or air flow sensor all can be the cause of a high idle...

Q: One of my front side lights won't turn on.

The front lights will have a dual filament light bulb that will use the same bulb for the running lights and for the turn signal light. If you notice the parking (running ) light does not work in one front...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...