Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car ignition won't turn when the key is in the ignition

asked by on

How do i get my ignition to turn so i can turn my car on ?

My car has 136924 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: There are several factors that can be stopp...

There are several factors that can be stopping the ignition cylinder from turning. The first place to start is checking if the steering wheel is locked. If this is the situation, you will feel the wheel will not turn in one direction, and will feel "springy" in the other direction. Turn the wheel in the direction that feels "springy" and hold it there while you attempt to turn the key and start the vehicle. If a locked steering wheel is not the issue, the cylinder may have dirt and debris inside of it that is stopping the key from turning.

There is also a neutral safety switch that will stop the vehicle from being started unless the shifter registers as being in neutral or park. These sensors can also fail, and one of the best ways to test if it is an electrical issue, is to disconnect the battery and attempt to turn the key without power to the vehicle. If the key turns, you know a sensor is failing.

If you’re unable to pinpoint the issue yourself, have a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, diagnose the issue with your ignition key and help you fix it accordingly.

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: Fuel pressure low - 1991 Plymouth Voyager

Hi there. If the fuel pump pressure is lower than it should be, it may impact the vehicle's ability to start and run efficiently. However, 3 lbs. shouldn't be the only item that may be faulty on your Voyager. You...

Q: After changing the steering column, I cannot get the truck to stay running.

Hi there. Bypassing the anti-theft system is not recommended. The passlock sensor is attached to the lock cylinder housing. Exchanging the passlock sensor from the original steering column may resolve the no start issue. A scanner capable of programming may...

Q: My alarm has been going off when I open my door. When I try to turn car the car on it doesn't start.

You did not mention replacing the battery, but the behavior you describe is fairly common for many vehicles after installing a new battery. You can usually reset this by: closing all doors, locking the driver door with the key....

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
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...