Q: Key is stuck in the ignition and won't turn all the way back into the lock position

asked by on November 01, 2016

My key has been stuck in the ignition for a few weeks now and it's still been cranking up until yesterday. Turn the key and nothing. From what I've read it could be the ignition switch gone bad but I just noticed also that the gear shift does not totally lock into park. What I mean is you can change the gears without pushing the button on the side of the gear shifter so I didn't know if this may be the problem since the key won't cut off or come out if the car is not in park.

My car has 999999 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Car is not starting Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

It is either the ignition switch electrical or the ignition lock cylinder. The key slides into the ignition lock cylinder. These two components mate together and essentially become one. So if either of them break, they will both be affected. In addition, there are many other small moving parts inside your steering column that are activated when you insert the key and turn it. Any of these parts could be the culprit.

One of the mechanism that is activated when you insert and turn the key is the shift interlock system. This system locks the shifter when you put it into park. When you turn the ignition key and step on the brake, it releases the shift interlock system.

The steering column will need to be disassembled to see what has broken. At that point a replacement part can be ordered and the appropriate repair can be done.

In order to avoid any unnecessary repairs, consider getting the car’s no start condition inspected by a certified mobile technician, such as one from YourMechanic.

Good luck!

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

What others are asking

Truck will not start, but lights still work - 1979 Ford F-100

Considering the loud clicking, have the battery tested and charged just to be sure. A loud clicking from the engine bay is a symptom of a failed or weak starter, low charge on the battery or a grounding problem in...

My car makes a hissing sound when i accelerate.

Hi Jesus. What you are describing sounds like you have a vacuum leak present with your Altima. When a vacuum leak is present in an engine, this causes an excessive imbalance in the air/fuel ratio which creates a loss of...

Van is not Starting

This may be related to many different possibilities, some of which may be related to a lack of spark and some of which may be related to a fuel delivery problem or a combination of both. For example, if the...

No dash lights or gauges

Hello. The existence of so many non-functioning items would seem to indicate that a main control fuse, and junction box, are not working. Check to see if there are any electrical components that may have been disturbed during the timing...

When do breaks and rotars have to be replaced???

Hello Walt, thank you for writing in. To begin, know that the lifespan of the brakes, as well as most components on the vehicle, will vary depending on your driving habits. With that being said, they can last anywhere from...

Car cut off and ran out of gas - I put gas in it but the car still won't turn over

Running out of gas can damage the fuel pump. Gasoline acts to lubricate and cool the fuel pump as it runs. Running it dry can overheat and damage the pump. Have a certified technician check and/or replace the fuel pump...

Bad sounding engine noise, something is loose

The rattle is most likely coming from a faulty motor mount on the passenger side. The motor mount allows the engine to vibrate and hit metal to metal. Your vehicle should be put up on a lift while in park,...

Got an oil change at Walmart, now car won't moves and stalls after stalling.

Hello and thank you for contacting Your Mechanic. What seems to happen is the technician from Wal-Mart did not put any oil in the engine. This is common occurrence with Wal-Mart. When you pulled the dipstick and there was no...

cleaning the idle air control valve on a 01 nissan altima 2.4l

If you are having problems with the idle air control valve you may have to replace it. If you just want to clean it you would need to have it removed or use an induction cleaner tool to pull cleaner...

Related articles

What Is the Difference Between Conventional, Electronic and Distributor-less Ignition Systems?
If If you’re like many people, you know that when you turn the key in your ignition, the engine cranks and you’re able to drive your car. However, you might not know how that ignition system works. For that matter,...
What Does the Ignition Switch Warning Light Mean?
The ignition switch warning light could mean there's an issue with the ignition system or the car key. It could be due to a glitch or worn out key.
What Does Ignition Timing Mean?
Timing Timing – it has a couple of different meanings when applied to your car’s engine. One of the most critical is ignition timing (not to be confused with engine timing). Ignition timing refers to when spark is created during...