Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

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.

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!

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Key is stuck in the ignition and won't turn all the way back into the lock position

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: My car ran hot and now it won't start

Hi there. An overheated engine is not a good thing. A severely overheated engine could mean catastrophic damage has occurred. Assuming the engine does not turn over, this would lead me to believe the engine has seized or the head...

Q: Ignition lock damaged

You may need to replace the entire steering column, or just the key cylinder; only a visual inspection can verify the extent of the damage, and what parts would be needed for repair. I would recommend having a certified technician,...

Q: What causes an ignition relay to go bad?

Hi, thanks for your question. If the relay is not making a good contact inside the relay socket, I suggest inspecting the old relays that came out and see if one or more of the pins look like they got...

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 Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
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.