Q: Ignition won't turn, steering wheel lock not engaged.

asked by on September 30, 2016

My key will not turn in my ignition, I have checked dozens of times to be sure it is fully in park, battery is charged, key is not obstructed, etc. The strange part is that the steering wheel lock that usually stops you from turning your wheels when the key is off, is not engaged. It normally is, but I can turn my wheel freely with the key out now. Is it possible that the steering wheel lock has broken and is permanently stopping the key from turning?

My car has 200000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi, thanks for writing in. I’d be happy to provide my insight. It is possible the ignition mechanism is broken inside the steering column. I suggest trying to turn over your car with a spare key, to see if the ignition turns with the different key. If you do not have an extra key, then look at the key you have to see if it shows signs of wear. If it is, then have a copy made to see if that works.

If you would like help looking at your ignition system, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to inspect and diagnose this issue for you, and make or suggest any repairs as needed.

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

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

I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5L 4 cylinder. I replaced the fuel pump, the engine coils, and the crankshaft sensor but the car sti

It is possible that there could be an issue with the timing on your vehicle. I would look into the timing belt maintenance to determine when the last time the timing belt was replaced. If the timing belt has skipped...

Pinging during acceleration

Hi There, Pinging is a result of pre-ignition which means the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder spontaneously explodes, slightly before the spark plug ignites it. There are several things that can cause this to happen. Installing the wrong spark plug...

Car overheating, rough idle, hard to start, coolant does not circulate.

Hi There, It sounds like you may have two separate issues going on here that may possibly be related via the coolant temperature sensor, which is what relays the temperature of the coolant back to the ECU which then controls...

Related articles

How Are High-Performance Ignition Systems Different from Standard Ones?
Once Once upon a time, there was only one type of ignition system. It used a distributor, points, a coil, and was subject to significant wear and tear. Then came the electronic ignition, which replaced the points with an electronic...
How Long Does a Door Lock Cylinder Last?
We We don't usually think about our door lock. It's just a part on our car that we expect to work at all times, so we can safely lock up our vehicle and the belongings we keep inside. Of course...
How Are High-Performance Ignition Systems Different from Standard Ones?
Once Once upon a time, there was only one type of ignition system. It used a distributor, points, a coil, and was subject to significant wear and tear. Then came the electronic ignition, which replaced the points with an electronic...