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Key won’t turn in the car: how to find and fix the problem

There are many reasons why your keys might get stuck in the ignition. Either something is wrong with the ignition or with the key itself. Good old mechanical keys may be resistant to water, heat, or electricity but are vulnerable to physical damage. Sometimes we don’t realize that the key is damaged or broken until we try to use it. However, it can be easily replaced. If there is a problem with the ignition, people might need a lot of time to try and fix it, especially if they don’t have the required knowledge and skills. Topical guides and articles might give you the required information, but there is no guarantee that without prior knowledge and experience, you can actually fix it. That’s when Sure Lock & Key is ready to assist you. As a coast-to-coast company with extensive experience and an excellent reputation, we assist our customers with services and valuable information hundreds of times, every day

Why won't the key turn in the ignition

As we mentioned above, there could be many reasons why your car key is stuck in the ignition and you can’t turn it. Here below we’ll go through the most common situations.
  • Wafers are damaged. There is a difference between the standard lock and the ignition car lock. The first one consists of cylindrical pins, while the second one consists of wafers. The wafer splits down the center, so you can slide the key in. There are two types of these details – one piece or two pieces. Two-piece wafers, also known as split wafers, can easily get jammed in the cylinder. Both mechanisms can break over time.
  • The key is damaged. A broken key in the ignition is one of the most common problems car owners may face. When you’re turning it in the ignition, the key puts pressure on the wafers to put them in the correct position. Over time, the key gets worn out. When you look at a new key, you can see sharp, crisp edges, while the old one has soft and rounded edges. This happens because of thousands and thousands of turns, and one day you could simply find your car key stuck in the ignition.
key in the ignition
  • The steering wheel locking mechanism is activated. This feature helps drivers prevent theft. However, this mechanism also blocks the key in the ignition, so you can’t remove it. Some people may not be aware of this function. So, ensure that you get the key out of the ignition carefully, and only then lock the steering wheel if needed.
  • Problems with the ignition cylinder. This issue could appear if you keep too many items on the key holder, so they will sway back and forth, damaging the key and the cylinder. It could be problematic if you have your keys locked in the ignition when you’re in a rush. The best option here is to call an automotive locksmith. As a trained and skilled professional, the locksmith will be able to solve the problem for you painlessly and quickly.
key in the ignition

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What to do when the key won’t turn the ignition

So, what is the best thing you can do if your key won’t turn in the ignition? Calling a locksmith is no doubt the best option to resolve the problem. Sometimes people want to do everything by themselves. This is commendable. however, make sure you’re really prepared to go the distance. You’ll need the tools and hopefully the experience and knowledge. Before you start, it’s vital to read through the verified information and then follow each step carefully. Below we put together a short guide on how to get a key out of a lock if it is stuck.
  • Check the battery. You might not believe it, but one of the reasons why the key won’t turn is because the battery is dead. If you have an advanced ignition system, it will stop the key from turning when the battery runs out of power. Some vehicles have unique signals that inform drivers about low battery levels.
  • Get yourself a spare key. Your main key might be damaged, and you may not even see it (a small scratch or a crack). You will only find out about this problem while trying to activate the ignition. So, in a situation like that, you may need a car key replacement.
  • Jiggle the key if it is stuck. Do it carefully. You don’t want to break it, so try not to make any sudden movements. Turn it clockwise and then counterclockwise. It may not work immediately, so repeat the process a few times, slowly and carefully.
  • Try the silicon-based spray. That’s another way to get out the keys locked in the ignition. This may clean the dirt inside the ignition and help you get the key out. Avoid oil-based elements as they will only complicate the situation.

Can a locksmith fix an ignition switch

Ignition repair is one of the most popular services among locksmiths. Professional locksmiths have several benefits that you might consider. These technicians use special techniques and tools to fix locksmith issues quickly and efficiently. If you have a broken key in the ignition, it’s not the end of the world. Even if it happens in the middle of nowhere, late at night, these technicians will be able to reach you and help you resolve this issue with emergency 24-hour locksmith services.

Summing up

The moment the car key is stuck in the ignition may seem critical, but keep in mind that there is no problem that is impossible to resolve. You can always try dealing with this situation by yourself, but if you’re unsure you can do everything accurately, then it’s time to call a professional locksmith. Sure Lock & Key might be an excellent option. Each member of our team is fully trained and skilled in all aspects of Locksmithing and Security. Our technicians use hi-tech, state-of-the-art mobile service vans to reach you as quickly as possible so that you won't have to deal with the problem alone. So, if you are having problems with your car keys or ignition? Give us a call!