Our company logo

phone icon

What To Do If Your Car Key Doesn’t Work In The Ignition

At least once, every car owner has experienced difficulties when turning the key in the ignition. It may be just a temporary issue, it may be because of the lack of strength you put in, etc. But very often it means that you need professional help. Don’t worry. Ignition issues are pretty common, and here is what you need to know in such a situation!

Figure Out What Has Happened

If you can’t turn your key, then obviously something is wrong. At this point, people usually start to panic. But believe us, there’s no need to worry. You can diagnose what has happened by yourself just using our recommendations because Sure Lock & Key is here to help with all the locksmith issues you may experience. Generally speaking, there are three main reasons you should consider in the first place if your key doesn’t turn in the ignition.
The key itself
Sometimes the ignition doesn’t work because the key isn’t right for the car. You were in a hurry and accidentally took your partner’s keys, for example. Very often people call us because of ignition issues, but after our examination, it turns out that the key is the exact issue. It can be bent or worn out. Some latest car keys like smart keys and card keys may need reprogramming.
Ignition’s elements
Every ignition consists of lots of components, but there are at least three of them you can check to define the problem. First of all, you need to know whether your car allows turning the ignition when the gear selector is in neutral on park. If everything is alright here, let’s go further and check your car battery. In case it’s dead, you won’t be able to start the car.
Lock cylinder
The ignition lock cylinder is also known as the key cylinder. If the mentioned-above car parts work as they should, then most likely this may be a culprit. First of all, you need to check if nothing is stuck there. It could be dirt from your key or some detail of the ignition. To be more precise, you can use a flashlight to see if there’s something inside. Aggressive turning leads to lots of issues with pins or wafers (depending on what ignition type your car is equipped with).

DIY Or How To Fix The Car Ignition Issue By Yourself

We hope the previous paragraph was helpful, and you’ve found what is wrong with the ignition. So, now you can try and fix it using our recommendations. Depending on the reason for the issue, you may apply a few solutions.
If you’ve diagnosed that the gear selector doesn’t allow you to turn the key, then you need to shake the shifter to put it in the right position before trying to turn the key again. But take into consideration that you should do it carefully and gently. Also, this method isn’t suitable for every car model. You can try it if your car is equipped with automatic transmission.
If the car battery turns out to be dead, you probably won’t go anywhere for some time. You need to use a portable battery charger. And then you will be able to start the car again.
Lots of cars are equipped with steering wheels that get blocked when you remove the key. It might happen that such a steering wheel is simply stuck in the position that leads to ignition blocking. To solve this problem you should shake the steering wheel back and forth while carefully trying to turn the key.
If your key is bent, it is most likely to not fit the ignition. It’s better not to try to turn it because you may cause lots of damage, and the car won’t start anyway. If you need to go somewhere immediately, you can try to straighten it yourself by using a hammer. But here you have to be as careful as possible not to break the key completely.
man tries to start a car
man tries to start a car
Being used every day, your key can be worn out, especially if you have an old car. With every turning the key’s edges are under serious pressure. So bitings on the old key’s blade can become “invisible” for your ignition, they can’t turn the pins so the car doesn’t start. This issue is easy to solve. All you need to do is to use a spare key or to get one.
Are you sure you have the correct key? Keys can look pretty similar, so it’s not a wonder you can accidentally take the wrong key. To avoid such trouble you can use a keychain, so your key will be easy to recognize among others. There are lots of methods to avoid key issues of this kind. For example, you can get a key cabinet or board to store all your keys in order and in one place. However, choosing a keychain, make sure it won’t be too large and heavy. Because it will pull on the wafers in the ignition while you’re driving which will result in wafers damage.
A dirty car key can be a reason you can’t turn it into the ignition. You can clean it in five minutes, and all you need to do is to use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to clean even hard-to-reach parts of the key.
car keys stucked in the ignition
If you have spotted some obstruction in the ignition, or you can say that something is there while trying to insert the key, then you need to clean it using appropriate cleaning products and tools. The most secure way to clean the ignition is using compressed air. But be very careful, it’s better to put on safety glasses and read the instructions before you start, and not after the unsuccessful attempt.
How does the ignition work? Its pins and springs align with the key’s bitings to start the engine. If something is wrong with the ignition springs, the key may be hard or even impossible to turn. Please, don’t try to solve this issue by putting more pressure on the key. Some locksmiths recommend using a small tack hammer to knock the key ignition. But it’s better to call a professional automotive locksmith because consequences are likely to be very hard to solve. Except for standard locks with cylindrical pins, there also are auto locks that use wafers. In case you have such an ignition type, we still recommend you call a professional to get everything repaired quickly.
And last but not least suggestion to make your ignition work again is to lubricate the ignition socket. For this purpose, you should use silicone-based lubricant. After putting it into the ignition, wait until it dries and try to turn the key again.
Described above methods are going to work 9 out of 10 times if you diagnosed the issue correctly and followed our instructions. But if the key still doesn’t turn, don’t worry. Your best solution is to call a professional and get everything done quickly and effortlessly.
car keys stucked in the ignition

You may also like