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.

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?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Does graphite lube work well for the ignition switch cylinder? Will it still need to be replaced if it does work?

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: How do I keep my car doors from locking automatically?

If your vehicle is equipped with an LCD display, then while the car is parked and with the ENGINE START/STOP button in the ON position or with the engine running, press the TRIP button for more than 2 seconds. The...

Q: won't go over 40 mph

This is a sign of a faulty throttle position sensor. This is a sensor that monitors the position of your foot on the gas pedal and relays this info to the car's computer which then tells it how much fuel...

Q: Transmission jerks like you have been rear ended when accelerating. Also right before coming to stop, clunks into gear.

Below is a process to follow after reprogramming transmission module or disconnecting battery so the TCM can relearn shift points. If after following the below service then seek a mechanic like one from Your Mechanic to continue further diagnosis of...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.