Key stuck in ignition…. you find yourself in such a situation like this in your vehicle, there may a number of issues that cause the problem. While some issues are specific to years, or models of the transport vehicle, many of them are generally universal and can be taken care off in the driveway.
The issue can arise thru the key, the ignition cylinder, or manual error. Narrowing down to the cause of the matter by checking it before getting the vehicle towed to a repair facility, is a must, otherwise you might feel helpless while paying a huge bill for repairs that you have not tried it yourself.
Let’s check some of the concerned aspects when key stuck in ignition.
- Checking for General Issues
- Resolving Issues of the Key
- Getting Over with Issues of the Ignition Cylinder
Method 1 : Checking for General Issues
Ensure the vehicle is in neutral. Vehicles those are equipped with an automatic transmission does not start if the transmission is not in neutral park. When you try to start a car in drive, result can be highly damaging or even can injure someone. Check shift lever to ensure it is completely in neutral, then again turn the key.
Inspect the key for damage. If key won’t turn while inserting it into the ignition, then it might be a case where key has been damaged. That is why it is not engaging the correct pins to the depth required and thereby not spinning the cylinder. Examine the key for signs any excessive wear and tear, broken or rounding of teeth. Try to get a new one from the showroom, if that’s the case.
Ensure nothing is stuck to the key. Just like damaged or rounded teeth prevent the key from turning, anything sticking to the key will also lead to improperly engagement of the pins in the ignition cylinder and preventing it from working. Clean the dirt off the key, then re-insert the keys to try again.
Check whether the steering wheel is locked. If you were applying some pressure to the steering wheel while you turned the car off, it may lock the wheel. Try to turn the wheel little bit in the opposite direction to unlock it.
Move back and forth the wheel to turn the key. Insert the key into the ignition and attempt to turn it to unlock the steering wheel. Wiggle the steering wheel back and forth while applying light pressure to the key, until the lock disengages to allow the vehicle to engage the key properly.
Method 2 : Resolving Issues of the Key
Before turning the key, pull it out slightly. If the key is wearing, you can engage the pins required for starting the vehicle by inserting the key, then pulling it back out slowly. You must try to replace the key as soon as you can before it completely stops working.
Wiggle the key back and forth as you turn it. Insert the key into the ignition and attempt to turn it to unlock the steering wheel. Wiggle the steering wheel back and forth while applying light pressure to the key, until the lock disengages to allow the vehicle to engage the key properly.
Flatten a bent key using a wooden or rubber mallet. It is impossible to insert it completely or turn the ignition cylinder when the key is bent. Lay the key down on a flat, sturdy surface to strike the key from above to flatten it against the table. You may strike multiple times in order to flatten it entirely. Do not use pliers or it will bend it too far.
Gently slide the key in and out a number of times. Insert the key completely, then slide it back out. Repeat the process a few times to try to remove debris that may be caught in the cylinder.
Have a new key cut to the original numbers. You will be unable to have it copied when the key is too damaged to work. You will definitely require to have a new key cut by a dealership that services make and model vehicle. The dealer will ask you to produce an ID to get a new key using your vehicle’s VIN number depending on the vehicle.
Method 3 : Getting Over with Issues of the Ignition Cylinder
Use canned air to clean the ignition port. If there is any debris caught in the ignition cylinder, it may not help engage the pins properly to turn. Purchase canned air and insert the straw from the nozzle directly into the key hole. Spray the canned air into the key hole in short spurts. Give few short sprays to clean out any debris.
Use electrical cleaner in the key hole. Spraying a small amount of electrical cleaner into the key hole may lubricate it enough to turn when the ignition cylinder has seized.
Have the ignition cylinder replaced. When everything else fails, you will be required to replace ignition cylinder. Tow the vehicle to a nearby repair shop/facility specializing in vehicle make and model to get the issue redressed.
After going through the article, you now might be able to handle the situation wherein, key stuck in ignition… and you are supposed to do the assessment quickly.