You can twist and turn the car key all you want, but it’s not budging an inch. In most cases, the ignition key is not usually at fault when this happens.
Before you begin to worry that something may be faulty or broken, here are some simple checks you can perform:
Check the key position: On the ignition switch, check to make sure that they key is in the lock position. As cylinders age, it gets easier to turn them beyond that point. This is especially true if the key has been attached to a variety of heavy objects, which gradually put added pressure on the cylinder and promote excessive wear.
Move the steering wheel: Try to move the steering wheel back and forth while gently removing the key from the lock position. Sometimes the steering wheel will lock, and when this happens, the ignition switch will keep your key locked in place until the steering system is unlocked. Don’t pull hard on the key at all. Just focus on getting movement from the steering wheel.
Test the parking position: Sometimes your car won’t lock into the park position. If you can still move the gearshift lever out of park after turning the vehicle off, your linkage may be out of adjustment or worn out. The shifter must always be locked in park to remove the key.
Check for a dead battery: Did the dashboard light up when the key was in the ‘on’ position? For many modern cars, a dead battery will keep you from removing the key since the chip in your key can’t be correctly identified by your vehicle’s theft-deterrent system.
After completing those checks, if your key is still stuck, book a mechanic for a thorough inspection.
In the meantime, we recommend you do the following:
- Use a spare key so that you can manually lock the vehicle.
- Make sure your stuck key is kept is in the lock position to avoid depleting the battery.
Common reasons for this to happen:
Wheel lock cylinder is worn: Every time you insert that key or fob into the wheel lock cylinder, there is one less turn for it to go in its lifetime.
Battery is dead: On modern cars, a dead battery will result in the key remaining stuck in the ignition.
Loose cables: A loose cable that is either located inside the dashboard or behind the ignition needs to be replaced.
Car is not in park: Even if your gearshift lever seems to be in park, your car’s shift lock solenoid or another related mechanism may need to be replaced.
What to expect:
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to diagnose the stuck key, paying careful attention to the battery, the ignition switch, and movement on the gearshift lever.
After the inspection, the mechanic will provide a detailed report that describes the source and cause of the issue with the stuck key, along with the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
How important is this service?
A vehicle with a key stuck in the ignition is inoperable. Enlist the help of one of our mechanics as soon as possible after basic troubleshooting.