Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Key won't turn shift

asked by on

I went out to the garage like usual to start my car, and I put the key in the ignition. I tried to turn the key, but it wouldn’t turn. I tried to put my car from park to neutral and it wouldn’t shift or go anywhere. It's stuck! Can you please help me? What could be wrong with my car?

A: Greetings. Thanks for writing in about your...

Greetings. Thanks for writing in about your 1998 Saab 900. It sounds like your ignition cylinder may have seized up. This can happen over time due to key tumblers inside the ignition cylinder itself becoming out-of-shape and unable to make the proper pattern when the key is inside it.

I suggest trying to use another ignition key if you have it, in order to attempt starting the vehicle. Your steering wheel could be locked, which locks the ignition cylinder in place. To unlock the steering wheel. Wiggle the steering wheel left and right as you are trying to turn the key.

This should unlock the steering wheel and the ignition key if the steering wheel is locked. If that does not make much of a difference, then you will likely need a new ignition cylinder. I suggest that a technician come out and diagnose your ignition condition, and if necessary, replace the cylinder.

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!

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: Shifter independently shifts to 1st and car jerks forward

Hi there, thanks for writing in about your 2010 Audi S5. There are a number of Audi service bulletins on this issue. If your local dealer has not been a satisfying experience, you might contact another Audi dealer, or Audi...

Q: Clutch stuck first reverse

It definitely sounds like a clutch hydraulic issue where fluid is leaking by a seal on the master or slave cylinder until the cylinder heats up and the seal is restored. The clutch slave cylinder housing is closest to the...

Q: Igniting acuator?

Thanks for writing in about your Chevrolet Uplander. From what you've described the issue may be with your ignition switch that connects to the key cylinder. You should have the ignition switch checked and replaced if it is not holding...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...