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Q: Key won't turn

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My key won't turn past the accessory point. My stereo turns on but my dashboard lights or other lights won't come on. I've tried unlocking the steering wheel several times without success. I've tried gently tapping it and being gentle with it. I'm not sure if it's just really locked up, my battery or if my ignition is busted.

My car has 150000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. It sounds like you either have the steering in a bind or the ignition cylinder has failed. If you parked with the wheels turned to the lock position while on an incline or decline or against a curb, you’re in for a challenge to get the steering lock to release.

Don’t try to force it or you may create more problems than desired. Have a friend assist with turning the steering wheel to remove the resistance to the steering, lock and try to turn the key to release it and start the vehicle. If this does not work, the ignition cylinder may need to be replaced. The cylinder comes with a new key or can be rekeyed by a locksmith for your old key, your decision. Alternatively, you could have a local expert, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the key turning problem and guide you through repairs.

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