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Car Key Stuck In The Ignition
5 Fixes For A Car Key Stuck In The Ignition

5 Fixes For A Car Key Stuck In The Ignition

If you have your car key stuck in the ignition, don’t worry. There are several fixes that you can try before taking it to a mechanic. In this blog post, we will outline five of the most common methods for removing your car key stuck in the ignition.

Keep in mind that some of these methods may not work with all vehicle models and will require you to call Locksmith Tacoma for expert assistance.

Let’s dive in!


5 Steps For Removing A Car Key Stuck In The Ignition

1. Try to wiggle the key

  • Any car owner knows that there are various things to do if you might have a car key stuck in the ignition. If your car key won’t turn, your first instinct to wiggle the key is a good one. Wiggle the key back and forth to see if it will come loose. If that doesn’t work, try moving the steering wheel back and forth while you wiggle the key. A locked steering wheel will also cause problems turning and removing your key when you have a car key stuck in the ignition. You may also need to turn the car off and on several times before the car key will come loose. With a little patience and some perseverance, you may be able to remove a car key stuck in the ignition.

2. Apply lubricant

  • You can try applying some lubricant to help you turn a car key stuck in the ignition. If the ignition cylinder hasn’t been well maintained it could be that it’s become rusty or you’ve got stiff, stuck pins. Use a spray lubricant or a drop of oil on a rag and apply it to the key and the area around the ignition. Then, try turning the key again. If it still doesn’t help with a car key stuck in the ignition, then you can try using needle-nose pliers or wire cutters to grip the key with a bit more force and pull it out.

3. Gently tap the ignition key

  • In most cases, you can simply remove a car key stuck in the ignition by gently tapping it with a small tool. Start by inserting the tool into the gap between the key and the ignition. Then, apply pressure to the top of the key while gently tapping it with the tool. You may need to tap quite hard, but be careful not to break the key or bend it. A bent key will only cause you more problems and you’ll need to use a spare key until you can source a replacement key. If the car key stuck in the ignition doesn’t come loose after a few taps, try wiggling it back and forth while you continue tapping. With a little patience, you should be able to remove the key and get back on the road.

4. Pry the key out with a screwdriver

  • With a little patience and a screwdriver, you can remove the car key stuck in the ignition yourself. Insert the screwdriver into the keyhole and try pushing or pulling on the key. You may need to experiment with different positions of the screwdriver in the ignition lock cylinder before you find one that works. Once you’ve managed to loosen a car key stuck in the ignition in the barrel, you should be able to turn the key and remove it from the ignition.

5. Call a locksmith

  • Having a car key stuck in the ignition has happened to almost everyone at some point – once you’ve tried all the methods listed, it’s about time to call in the experts. If you find yourself with a car key stuck in the ignition or any other ignition lock cylinder problems, simply call a locksmith. A trained professional will be able to quickly remove a car key stuck in the ignition and get you back on the road. In addition, they may be able to identify the cause of the problem and make repairs as necessary. So next time your key gets stuck, don’t panic. Just pick up the phone and call a locksmith. They’ll have you back on the road in no time. If you’re not sure how to choose a car locksmith, we gathered up for you 8 ways to identify a locksmith scam to help you avoid tragic mistakes!


Reasons Why You Have A Car Key Stuck In The Ignition

1. A build-up of dirt

Over time it’s really common for dirt and debris to build up and clog the inside of the ignition lock cylinder. You’ll probably start to notice an increase in resistance to insert the key, and not long thereafter you will start to have difficulty removing the key. It’s best not to ignore this sign.

2. The key is damaged

The reason you have a car key stuck in the ignition could be because your car key is damaged. Any major damage or bend should be clear to the eye, but more minor wear may not be so obvious.

An obvious bend in the key can be straightened out with a pair of pliers, but worn teeth or a major bend in the key will warrant replacement.

3. The ignition cylinder is worn or damaged

If your car ignition cylinder is worn or damaged, it can be difficult to start your car or insert and remove the key. If the cylinder is damaged, the key may not stay in place and the car may not start. There are a few things you can do to repair a damaged ignition cylinder. You can try replacing the cylinder. If it’s required you might need to replace the entire ignition system. If you need to replace the ignition system, it is important to have it done as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your car.




5 Fixes For A Car Key Stuck In The Ignition


How To Prevent A Car Key Stuck In The Ignition

A stuck key is a common problem, and there are a few things you can do to prevent it from happening. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that your keys will always turn smoothly in the ignition cylinder.

1. Maintain the ignition cylinder with regular lubrication and cleaning

First, make sure to maintain and clean the ignition cylinder. Regular lubrication and cleaning will help to keep it in good condition. If the cylinder gets dirty or starts to rust, it can cause the key to get stuck. You can clean the key cylinder using compressed air, an electrical cleaner, or some rubbing alcohol. Once clean don’t forget to follow up with an appropriate automotive lubricant.

2. Repair and replace early

Never wait for a problem to get worse. Everyone knows the old saying ‘prevention is better than a cure’, the same applies to car keys and car maintenance. If you notice a problem get it fixed or have the parts replaced early, before it becomes a bigger, more expensive problem or leaves you stranded somewhere.

A persistent problem with a key that won’t turn might mean it’s time to get an expert opinion. Be sure to have a professional locksmith from Locksmith Tacoma double-check everything so you can be sure the problems aren’t major enough to warrant a new ignition cylinder. They’ll also be able to answer any related questions you might have.

3. Get a new key

Another thing to keep in mind is the condition of your keys. If they’re bent or damaged, they’re more likely to get stuck in the ignition, thereby causing preventable damage. Make sure to check your keys regularly and replace them if necessary.

To make your keys last longer, don’t keep too many heavy items on your key ring. Once your key is in the key cylinder this extra weight will contribute to gradually bending the key, and eventually the tumblers in the ignition cylinder will get misaligned over time. You can source a replacement car key from your local locksmith, from your car dealership, or from a specialist hardware store.





All of this information may leave you with many more questions.

Here are three of the most common follow-up questions we receive.


If my key gets stuck in the ignition once, will it continue to happen?


If your key gets stuck in the ignition once, it’s likely that it will continue to happen unless you deal with it. It can be a sign of a larger issue. It’s best to have the problem diagnosed by a professional to ensure that your car is running smoothly.


What do you do if the key is stuck in the ignition and won’t turn off?


If the key is stuck in the ignition and won’t turn off, there are a few things that can be done. First, check to see if the key turns to the “off” position. If it can, then gently turn it back and forth until it comes loose. If the key cannot be turned to the “off” position, then try turning the steering wheel back and forth while holding the key in place. This may loosen the key enough to allow it to be turned to the “off” position. If neither of these methods work, then the next step is to remove the battery cable from the negative terminal. This will disable the electrical system and allow the key to be removed. Finally, if all else fails, then the ignition switch will need to be replaced.


What would cause a key to get stuck in the ignition of a car with automatic transmission?


A car with automatic transmission can have all the same ignition problems as any other car. The key or cylinder could be worn or damaged or it could be dirty causing the key to get stuck. However, another possibility which is solely seen in cars with automatic transmission, is that the shift interlock solenoid is not working properly. This solenoid is responsible for keeping the key from being turned when the car is in gear, and if it fails, the key can become stuck. Sometimes the shifter gets stuck in between gears and your won’t allow the key to be released.


Is WD-40 a good lubricant to use in my car’s ignition cylinder?


While WD-40 is often praised as a versatile lubricant, it is not recommended for use in car ignition cylinders. WD-40 is designed to displace water, and while this can help to prevent rust, it can also interfere with the electrical components in an ignition cylinder. If WD-40 is used in an ignition cylinder, it can cause problems with starting the engine, and it may also damage the cylinder itself. For these reasons, it is best to stick to products that are specifically designed for use in car ignitions. There are many high-quality lubricants on the market that will not cause any damage to your car’s ignition system.

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