Q: Key will insert and remove but won't turn. Already eliminated steering wheel lock by wiggling and turning key.

asked by on November 20, 2016

Upon trying to start my 06 scion XA today my key would not turn. I wiggled it, wiggled steering wheel to ensure it was not steering locked. It finally became unstuck and started fine. Turned car off. Attempted again. Was fine a few times them wouldn't budge again. Repeated this a few times. Picked up some electric cleaner hoping maybe it was just stuck with gunk. Returned home. Sprayed it. It started. Then is stuck again once I turned off, removed key, reinserted. The steering wheel is locked. Key won't turn. Can only be put into ignition and pulled out. Have wiggled and turned to no avail. The only significant things that have happened since yesterday before this occurred is the following:

1) I have one key, its fairly worn. Got a spare made. Used the spare all day with no troubles. 2) I had battery neg terminal unhooked, ecu out and u plugged, cleaning my blower motor and filter. Returned everything to its place and car ran and started fine

No problems until this.

My car has 130000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Hi there. It sounds like the ignition cylinder may be worn. The cylinder can become worn just as the key. Over time, the metal inside the cylinder of the tumblers can become worn and stick or not provide the correct depth for the key to make proper contact. The tumblers inside the cylinder are moved upwards by the key to predetermined points that allow the cylinder to rotate; if any of these do not move enough, the cylinder will not turn. When you wiggled the key, all of the tumblers were eventually "bumped" into position that allowed the cylinder to turn. It sounds like there is sufficient wear in the cylinder to the point that bumping no longer works. I suggest having a qualified technician perform an inspection to avoid replacing unnecessary parts. Your Mechanic has several technicians available that can assist you with a key does not turn in the ignition inspection.

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