If your car key is stuck in the ignition, don’t panic! It can be a very frustrating experience, but it’s usually an easy fix. In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons why your key might be stuck and how to remove it safely and efficiently. We will also provide some tips on how to prevent this from happening in the future. Keep reading for more information!
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14 Reasons a Car Key Gets Stuck in the Ignition
When it comes to driving, nothing is more frustrating than when your car key gets stuck in the ignition. While it can be a major hassle and take away from enjoying your time on the road, understanding the reasons why your car key won’t come out can help you figure out how to get it unstuck.
The most common causes of a key getting stuck in the ignition are universal and not limited to any specific make or model. Read on for the top fourteen reasons that your car key may be stuck:
Faulty Ignition Cylinder
The ignition lock cylinder is one of the most important components in a car. It is responsible for turning the engine on and off, as well as unlocking the doors when you insert your key. However, with time and regular use, this component can wear down and fail. In some cases, when the cylinder fails, the key can become stuck in the ignition. This often occurs when there are too many items on a key ring that cause it to sway back and forth. This extra movement increases the chances of premature aging and wear. Ultimately, this leads to a car key being stuck in the ignition, preventing it from starting or turning off.
Damaged Ignition Lock cylinder Housing
In some cases, the actual housing of the ignition lock cylinder can become damaged. This often occurs after a car has been in an accident or due to corrosion caused by moisture and road salt. When this happens, the ignition will not be able to properly recognize the key and will keep it stuck inside. If this is the case, you may need to replace the entire ignition cylinder in order to get the key out.
Dirt or Debris
Dirt and debris can also work their way into the ignition lock cylinder, preventing your car key from coming out. This is because dirt and debris can cause the lock cylinder to become sticky or jammed. If you are having difficulty removing your key, it is important to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the surface of the lock cylinder.
Malfunctioning Ignition Switch
In some cases, the ignition switch itself can cause a car key to become stuck in the ignition. This is because a malfunctioning or worn-out ignition switch can prevent your vehicle from recognizing the key. When this happens, it will not allow you to turn off your engine and subsequently remove the key from the ignition. If you suspect that this is the case, it is important to have your ignition switch serviced as soon as possible.
Parking Gear Not Set
Most automatic cars have a “Park” gear that must be activated before the car will turn off and the key can be removed. Without this gear engaged, the key cannot be removed from the ignition and will remain stuck in place. To correct this issue, simply make sure that your car is properly shifted into “Park” before attempting to remove your key.
Corroded or Rusty Ignition
If your car has been exposed to water or moisture, then the key may become stuck in the ignition due to corrosion and rust. Rust can cause parts of the ignition lock cylinder to wear down or get stuck, making it difficult to remove the key. If you notice that your key is becoming harder to turn or is stuck in the ignition, then it may be time to have a professional examine the issue and take the necessary steps to fix it.
Corroded Wires or Connectors
If you have an older car, then the wires and connectors in your ignition may have become corroded or damaged over time. This can result in your key becoming stuck in the ignition as it can prevent the vehicle from recognizing the key. To fix this issue, a professional will need to examine the wiring and connectors in the ignition and make any necessary repairs.
Misaligned Ignition Lock
Over time, the components of an ignition lock can become misaligned due to wear and tear. If this happens, it can prevent your car key from coming out of the ignition as it will not be able to engage with the components properly. It is important to have a professional inspect your ignition lock cylinder to ensure that all of the components are properly aligned. If not, they can make any necessary adjustments or replacements.
Worn or Broken Key
Another common cause of a car key becoming stuck in the ignition is when the actual key itself has become worn or broken. Over time, keys can be exposed to extreme temperatures and humidity which can make them brittle or warped. If this occurs, your key may not fit as snugly in the lock cylinder as it used to and consequently will not want to come out. To prevent this from happening, it is important to keep a spare key in case of emergencies and to make sure that you do not overload your keys on the key ring.
Without the crucial energy from a battery, the ignition system will not be able to operate properly. If your battery dies, it could cause your ignition to lock up; leaving you stuck with an uncooperative key in an immobilized vehicle. To fix this issue, you will need to jumpstart your car or replace the battery. Once you have done this, try to turn the key again and it should come out of the ignition with ease.
Broken Key Fob
Another common cause of a car key getting stuck in the ignition is a broken key fob. This is because a broken key fob will not be able to communicate properly with your vehicle and therefore, will not allow you to remove the key from the ignition. If you are experiencing this issue, it is important to have your key fob serviced or replaced as soon as possible.
Steering Wheel Lock
If you’re operating your car and turn it off while shifting the steering wheel, the steering lock will be engaged. Not only will this obstruct you from turning the wheel any further, but even if you attempt to take out your key from its slot in the engine – nothing happens!
When the steering wheel lock and ignition cylinder simultaneously fasten, you may find yourself locked out of your vehicle. To quickly unlock both, turn the key while moving the steering wheel slightly from side to side until the locks disengage. Afterward, either remove your key or start up your engine with ease!
Improperly Installed Parts or Components
Misalignment or improper installation of parts and components such as the ignition cylinder assembly can also cause your car key to get stuck in the ignition. It is important to have any aftermarket parts that are installed on your vehicle inspected to ensure that they are properly aligned and functioning correctly. If not, it is best to have them serviced or replaced as soon as possible.
Manufacturer Recall or TSB
Despite its rarity, your car or truck’s model year and make may be exposed to a recall due to ignition lock cylinder-related issues. Moreover, this might also involve Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs).
By entering your VIN on the NHTSA website, you can easily find out if your vehicle has been affected by a recall. Even when it hasn’t, make sure to stay informed on other potential recalls or technical service bulletins – this will help ensure that your car remains safe and reliable!
In conclusion, there are many possible causes for a car key becoming stuck in the ignition. It is important to take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening by regularly servicing and maintaining your car. If your key does become stuck, it is best to have a professional inspect the issue and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible. By doing so, you will be able to get back on the road in no time!
How To Remove A Stuck Car Key Safely & Efficiently?
There is no single cause for a car key being stuck in the ignition, but luckily, there are several instructions to getting it out safely. Let’s take a look at some of these helpful instructions below!
Recharge your car battery
If a car key is stuck in the ignition, it could be due to a dead battery. Recharging the battery will likely unlock and free your key from its jammed position. If you believe your car battery has insufficient voltage or hear a repeating clicking noise when you turn the key, recharge it to see if this is causing the issue. If not, jump-start your vehicle with another battery or ask for help from someone that could lend their own car’s power source.
Shift the gear lever to park
Most vehicles have a lock-out mechanism that prevents the key from being removed when the car is not in Park. This could be what’s causing your key to be stuck in the ignition. If this is the case, make sure to switch the shifter firmly into Park. To do so, wiggle it between Park and neutral positions while pressing down on the brake pedal, turning off your vehicle by switching back the ignition key until you hear a click sound before pulling out of it completely.
Unlock the steering wheel by jiggling
Sometimes, a car key may get stuck in the ignition due to the steering wheel being locked. To solve this problem, try jiggling the wheel from side to side while pressing down on the brake pedal and turning off your vehicle by switching back the ignition key until you hear a click sound before pulling out of it completely. Additionally, you could try turning the wheel counterclockwise and pulling out the key at the same time.
Spray lubricant in the ignition cylinder
If the key is stuck due to debris, dirt, or other buildups in the ignition cylinder, try spraying some lubricant such as WD-40 into it. Wait for about five minutes then use a cloth to clean and remove any remaining residue. After this, try turning the key and removing it from the ignition cylinder.
Try every angle possible
Sometimes, all you need to do is try every angle possible with the key until it finally comes out. Try turning it from side to side and applying a bit of pressure while doing so. Sometimes this will help the key come loose from its stuck position.
Read fault codes
If none of the above methods work, you may need to read car fault codes. Invest in a powerful OBD2 scanner to extract all the trouble codes from relevant units, and determine whether you are facing an issue with your fuse or shifter. Furthermore, scan for error messages originating from the ignition switch and immobilizer if you have access to a more advanced model of scanner.
Check the safety key
Japanese and American vehicles are often fitted with an additional ignition lock switch that requires a key to be inserted, then pressed down before the key can rotate freely enough to remove it. Carefully examine your owner’s manual so you don’t overlook any vital details.
Consult your mechanic
If you’ve exhausted all of your other options and still can’t resolve the issue, it’s time to bring in a mechanic. With limited choices remaining, let an expert take a look – there may be something wrong with your ignition lock that requires replacement or if the immobilizer is connected to your ignition switch, reprogramming might be necessary after replacing the component.
Getting a car key out of the ignition is not always an easy task, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. However, with the help of these instructions, you should be able to free your stuck key and get back on the road safely!
Key KEEPS Getting Stuck in the Ignition
If you have been finding it more and more difficult to insert or remove your key from the ignition, then don’t worry as this is a common problem. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to try and resolve the issue without having to visit a mechanic or locksmith.
First of all, try using WD-40 spray. This should be used very sparingly – only a small amount – and should be applied through the thin straw that will most likely come with the can of WD-40. This should allow for the lubrication to get into the ignition lock space between your key and its slot, making it easier for your key to be removed by gently wiggling it out. It is important, however, that you inspect your key for any damage or signs of being bent once it has been removed before attempting to reinsert it. If so, you will need to have your key replaced by a professional.
In addition, if there appears to be some dirt or gunk on the key itself then you can use either rubbing alcohol or adhesive remover (for example Goo Gone) and thoroughly clean it off with some cotton wool/cloth etc.
Finally, if neither of these methods proves successful then chances are that your issue lies within the ignition lock itself and you may need a replacement cylinder installed by an experienced mechanic or locksmith – inspections should always take place before installation to assess any further damage or problems that could cause further issues down the line.
What To Do If Your Key Breaks In The Ignition?
If your key breaks in the ignition, it can be a frustrating and alarming experience. You should never attempt to force the broken pieces of the key out or try to start the vehicle without a working key; both could cause damage to your car’s ignition switch. Here are a few ways to get the broken pieces of your key safely removed and a new key made:
Use a Broken Key Extractor Tool
The use of a broken key extractor tool is the best option for removing a broken key from a lock or ignition. If you can see the broken pieces of your key, use a key extractor tool to carefully remove them. This type of tool has been specifically designed for the task and requires some additional items such as lubricant and needle-nose pliers.
Here’s what you need to do:
- To get started, make sure the engine is off and the car is in the park with the emergency brake engaged.
- Next, apply some lubricant to the lock cylinder to help loosen up any debris that may be stuck in there.
- Once the lock cylinder is greased up, use a key extractor tool to slide into it until you reach the end of the cylinder. This tool has a hook on one end which should be pointed upwards in order to catch onto any part of the broken key that may be inside.
- Turn the extractor tool slightly and continue pulling until part of the broken key has been removed from the cylinder. It may take multiple attempts to get this right, so pull slowly and carefully while attempting to catch onto any teeth of the broken key that may still be inside.
- Once you have removed as much as possible with your extractor tool, use tweezers or pliers to remove any smaller pieces that may remain in the cylinder.
- Make sure you’re gentle with this as applying too much pressure can damage both your tools and your vehicle’s lock mechanism. Once all pieces have been extracted from within, you can feel free to insert a new key into your vehicle’s ignition!
While you can use needle-nose pliers to pull the broken key out of the cylinder, this must be done cautiously in order to prevent any damage from occurring. If you would prefer not to take on such a risky task yourself, consider reaching out to an expert team – like Express Locksmith – for assistance. With their guidance and expertise, removing a broken key should become much simpler!
Use a Jigsaw Blade
Using a jigsaw blade is one of the best ways to remove a key from a lock. If you cannot see the broken pieces of your key, you can use a jigsaw blade as an alternative method to remove it. It is important to take caution when completing this task, as haste can lead to irreparable damage to the lock.
- In order to begin the process, it is necessary to lubricate the lock cylinder with an appropriate lubricant. This will make it easier for the blade to move around and reach its destination inside the lock.
- The next step is to insert the jigsaw blade carefully into the cylinder of the lock. Make sure that it is sharp enough; using a dull blade can increase your chances of getting injured during this process. As you push it further in, you will eventually reach its endpoint.
- Once there, make sure not to force anything further in or you may damage or break something within the mechanism of the lock.
- Once you have reached this point, take hold of your jigsaw blade and turn it towards the key until you catch several teeth from it with your tool.
- Then, you should be able to pull out the key slowly while using steady pressure on your jigsaw blade.
If done correctly and with care, success should be imminent! However, if you are unsure about any part of this process or fear that mistakes could happen then you should ask for help from a professional locksmith rather than risk damaging your lockset beyond repair.
Use a Thin Wire
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have a jigsaw blade or broken key extractor tool, one possible solution is to use a thin wire. It is important to select a wire that is sturdy enough to not bend or lose its shape when inserted into and pulled out of the lock cylinder.
To execute this technique, you’ll need a few tools: some lubricant, needle nose pliers, and your wire. Before attempting anything else, ensure that the lock is adequately lubricated with an ample amount of oil or grease.
After this has been completed, needle nose pliers can be used to create a small hook on one end of the wire. This hooked end should then be inserted into the lock cylinder and pushed back until it reaches the rear compartment.
Carefully bring out the wire while attempting to catch onto any teeth left in the broken key. Continue pulling gently until enough force has been applied, causing the hooked end of the wire to attach itself to any remaining parts of the broken key.
At this point, using steady yet firm pressure will allow you to extract the broken piece from the inside of the lock cylinder.
Call a Locksmith
If all else fails, the best option is to call a locksmith. Professional locksmiths are equipped with specialized tools and years of experience that will allow them to safely and quickly remove the broken pieces of your key from the ignition. Once they’ve removed it, they can also make a new key for your car.
No matter which option you choose, make sure to keep safety in mind and take the necessary precautions when trying to remove the broken pieces of your key. With the right knowledge and tools, you can get your car running again in no time!
How to prevent the key from getting stuck in the ignition?
There are several ways to prevent your car key from getting stuck in the ignition. Here is the list:
Properly lubricate your key
Regularly applying some light machine oil, such as 3-in-1 oil or WD-40, to the key can help prevent it from getting stuck. Put a few drops of oil on the key, and then wiggle it in your lock mechanism several times to ensure that the oil has dispersed throughout. Doing this every few months can help keep your car key working well for years to come.
Avoid exposing your car keys to extreme temperatures
Extreme temperatures can affect the metal components of your car key, making it more likely to get stuck. Keep your keys in a cool, dry place when not in use, and avoid exposing them to extremely hot or cold environments, such as leaving them on a sunny windowsill on a hot day or putting them in the freezer.
Use only genuine car keys
Using a copy of your car key, or generic aftermarket keys can increase the chances of the key getting stuck in the lock. These types of keys often don’t fit as securely into the lock mechanism as genuine car keys, leading to problems like sticking. Make sure to only use genuine car keys that are designed specifically for your make and model of vehicle.
Clean your car key regularly
Dirt, debris, and moisture can accumulate on the surface of your car key, making it more likely to get stuck in the lock mechanism. Regularly wipe your car key with a soft cloth or brush to remove any dirt and grime that may have built up over time. Additionally, use a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean out any moisture that may have gotten inside the keyhole. Doing this will help keep your car keys working properly for many years to come.
Consider keeping an extra set of car keys
Having an extra set of car keys can be very beneficial in preventing your car key from getting stuck. If you find that your main set of keys is beginning to get stuck, having a backup can help prevent any major issues while you take the time to repair or replace the faulty key. Additionally, storing an extra set of car keys in a safe place can be very helpful if you lose your primary set.
Make sure the ignition system is installed correctly
The various components of your car’s ignition system are all essential to the proper functioning of your car key. If any of these parts become worn or damaged, they can cause your car key to get stuck in the lock mechanism. Regularly inspect and maintain all of the components in this system, such as spark plugs, coils, and battery cables, to ensure that they are in good condition. Additionally, make sure they have been installed correctly and are functioning as expected. Doing this can help keep your car key from getting stuck.
Have your car inspected regularly by a professional mechanic
Having your car inspected regularly by a qualified professional can help you to identify any potential issues with your key or lock mechanism before they become major problems. A mechanic can easily determine if any underlying issues may be contributing to the sticking of your car key, and they will be able to recommend the appropriate repairs or replacements. Additionally, they can provide valuable advice on how to keep your car keys in good working order.
Overall, following these prevention tips can help you keep your car key from getting stuck again. Taking the time to properly care for and maintain both your keys and your vehicle’s ignition system will ensure that your car key works as it should for many years to come.
What are the risks of leaving the key stuck in the car?
Leaving your key stuck in the car poses several risks. Here are some of the potential hazards:
One of the most obvious risks is that your car may be stolen if someone finds it with the key still in the ignition. This is especially relevant if your vehicle has a keyless entry system and unlocking it doesn’t require physically entering the car to remove the key.
Thieves can also use other methods of accessing your cars, such as using a tow truck or breaking into your car through a window or door.
Damage to Your Vehicle
Leaving the key in the car can also cause damage to your vehicle. This typically happens when someone tries to remove the key without taking proper precautions. Forcing or prying open a stuck ignition may cause damage to wires and connections inside, leading to expensive repairs or replacements.
Damage to Your Ignition
If you’ve left your key in the car for an extended period, it may get stuck in the ignition. This can cause permanent damage to your ignition system, resulting in costly repairs or replacement.
Vulnerability to Carjacking
Leaving your key in the car also makes it more vulnerable to carjacking. A thief may attempt to steal your vehicle by using force or threatening you with a weapon.
In conclusion, leaving the key stuck in the car can not only put your vehicle at risk of theft but also cause damage to both the vehicle and the ignition system. Taking these steps will help protect your vehicle from potential theft or damage. If your key is stuck in the ignition, it’s best to call a locksmith or auto repair shop as soon as possible to avoid further issues.
How much does it cost to get the key out of the ignition?
The cost of getting your key out of the ignition will depend on several factors, including the type of car you have, the type of key that is stuck in the lock, and how difficult it is to access. Generally speaking, most locksmiths will charge at least $100 for a basic extraction service. In some cases, the cost may be higher, depending on the complexity of the job. Additionally, some locksmiths may also charge a fee for travel or additional services such as programming new keys and/or remotes.
However, if the key is a transponder one, it will cost more since its complexity requires it to be able to send and receive signals from the vehicle’s security system.
Incorporated with microchips, these keys sense any disturbances and then emit signals to the car’s anti-theft sensors. However, this means that extracting them from your ignition will require more complex work and a larger fee than usual. Should you need help removing broken transponder keys, it would cost approximately $250 per key.
How do you test an ignition lock cylinder?
Testing an ignition lock cylinder is a simple process that can help you determine whether or not your switch is working correctly. If you think something may be wrong, you’ll want to carry out a few tests to confirm its condition.
To start the testing process, you’ll need to open up the fuse box beneath the steering wheel and pull out the starter signal fuse. Have a look at the metal strip on the fuse and make sure it hasn’t been burnt or damaged in any way. If it has, replaces it with another one of equal amps.
Next, take your voltmeter and set the dial to volts. Connect one probe (the red one) to the positive terminal of the battery, and then connect the other probe (the black) to either the chassis or frame of your car. The reading should most likely be around 12.6 volts; if it’s lower than that, then charging or replacing your battery may be necessary.
At this point, you should be ready for some further testing. Insert your key into the ignition and attempt to turnover/crank your engine – if it does so successfully, then congrats – you have a working ignition lock cylinder!
If your car does not turn over when you attempt to start it but instead makes a clicking sound, this may indicate that the ignition lock switch is functional but there could be other issues within the vehicle that are preventing it from starting up. If neither of these occurs, then there may be an issue with either the connection or wiring between the switch and starter motor, which would require immediate replacement.
There are many reasons why a car key may get stuck in the ignition. Some of these reasons include dirt and debris build-up, damaged or bent keys, and faulty ignitions. However, there are some things that you can do to prevent your car key from getting stuck in the ignition. You can have a professional remove the key for you, or you can try one of the following methods: use WD-40 or soapy water to lubricate the key, use tools such as pliers or tweezers to remove the key, insert the key into the ignition and turn it back and forth until it is loose enough to be removed. If none of these methods work, then you may need to replace your ignition switch.
Whether the key you have is a standard or transponder type, if it breaks inside your ignition lock cylinder, an experienced and knowledgeable locksmith can retrieve it easily.
With the right expertise and all needed parts on hand, installing a new ignition lock switch should only take between 30 to 45 minutes.
If something is amiss with your car’s electrical and mechanical systems, it will likely begin to exhibit signs of trouble. If the ignition lock cylinder (or assembly) should become faulty, you may experience several indicators, these include:
Difficulty turning the key in the ignition
The key sticking or not fitting into the ignition completely
Inability to turn over the engine
Unusual sounds when trying to start the engine, such as grinding or clicking
Security warning lights on the dashboard
Unusual odors from the ignition area
If any of these issues present themselves, it’s important to take your car to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible to diagnose and repair the problem.