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Ignition Won’t Turn Key – There Are Several Reasons Why This Happens

Ignition Won’t Turn Key – A Surprise When It Happens

ignition won't turn key - Stus EZ Auto RemotesFrustrating isn’t it?  You’ve jumped in your car, you have somewhere to go, you put your key in the ignition and…IT’S STUCK (darn it).

You know you can’t force it, ‘cuz you’re going to break something.  What do you do?

Ignition Won’t Turn Key – Don’t Panic

There are several reasons why the ignition won’t turn, here are some suggestions and recommendations, some simple, some more complex:

Locked Steering Wheel

Most newer cars have built-in safety features that “lock” the steering wheel if the car is not operating.  Here’s a very brief video done by NelksTV on YouTube that describes how to resolve the steering wheel lock problem when the ignition won’t turn key:

Dirt or Debris

Remove the key a look for any obstructions.  Lint, dirt, foods all contribute to a problem where the ignition won’t turn key.

If there are obstructions, see if you can clear them by hand or gently blow the cylinder clean.   DO NOT SPRAY CLEANING FLUID INTO THE CYLINDER…some vehicles have extra security features that will be damaged by cleaning chemicals.

If you have a can of compressed air handy (some people do, they use them for cleaning computer keyboards) blast the cylinder clean with the compressed air.

Damaged Key

Inspect you key for wear, damage or bent areas.  Car keys are pretty durable, but are not indestructible.  If the key needs to be replaced, give me a call, I probably have what you need in stock.

Worn, damaged or failed ignition lock cylinder

If the ignition cylinder is damaged, then you’ll need to have a professional replace it.  You can do it yourself, but have a look at this video which explains the process.  If you think you are going to “get into the weeds” even after watching the video, definitely call a professional to have the lock cylinder replaced.  The video is supplied courtesy of our friends at 1159 Videos:

Ignition Won’t Turn Key – Easy to fix, not costly, just inconvenient

Do you have a problem because your ignition won’t turn key?  Need some help?

Call me…I’m EZ.

20 thoughts on “Ignition Won’t Turn Key – There Are Several Reasons Why This Happens”

  1. Thank you so much. I have a 2005 Ram 1500 and I called the dealer for an estimate and they told me it would cost $410. But your trick worked, thanks again. I was lucky to be in my drive way stranded for hours and not out and about.

    Reply
  2. When I realized my ignition key would not turn in my Hummer H2 this afternoon, I knew I had a problem. One call to Stu and his team at Stu’s EZ Auto Remote, and help was on the way. An hour later, Stu was at my house working on the problem. He was professional, thorough, and super knowledgable. Great job. You saved the day! Thanks much, -Jim Wagner

    Reply
    • yes you have to program the new lock cylinder
      1. Turn ignition on.
      2. Attempt to start the engine, and then release the key to the “ON” position.
      3. Observe the “SECURITY” indicator light. After 10 minutes the “SECURITY” indicator light will turn off.
      4. Turn ignition to the “OFF” position, and wait 10 seconds.
      5. Attempt to start the engine, and then release the key to the “ON” position.
      6. Observe the “SECURITY” indicator light. After 10 minutes the “SECURITY” indicator light will turn off.
      7. Turn ignition to the “OFF” position, and wait 10 seconds.
      8. Attempt to start the engine, and then release the key to the “ON” position.
      9. Observe the “SECURITY” indicator light. After 10 minutes the “SECURITY” indicator light will turn off.
      10. Turn ignition to the “OFF” position, and wait 10 seconds.
      11. Vehicle has now learned the new password. Start the engine.
      12. With a scan tool, clear any trouble codes.
      NOTE: For most cars, one 10-minute cycle will be enough for the vehicle to learn the new password. Perform all 3 cycles if the car will not start after 1 cycle. Most trucks will require all
      3 cycles for learning the password.

      Reply
  3. 2002 dodge durango. My ignition is stuck
    I tried forcing it out…it wont budge. My steering wheel is upside down but tires straight…. Help please

    Reply
    • heavily lube the cylinder with wd40….. slide the key in/out 10 times…. try turning the ignition… if it won’t turn….. LIGHTLY tap on the end of the key with a hammer…. VERY lightly….. try turning the key… if it turns get it repaired quickly… you may not get another turn out of it…. one other thing you may try is electrical cleaner spray. Tap the end of the key lightly… you want to free up a stuck wafer….
      Thanks,
      Stu

      Reply
  4. 1999 GMC Sierra 1500, well my truck was broken into and they just messed up the ignition cylinder to where my key couldn’t go in at all so I had to force it to turn so I could take out the cylinder but I bought a new one and put it in now it turns only half way but I can’t get the engine to turn on or crank. The steering wheel is not locked everything is normal it just won’t fully turn.

    Reply
  5. My 2000 Lincoln navi ignition is stuck but when you stick the key in it makes the dink dink noise.How or what am I suppose to do? I have an interview today,please help.

    Reply
    • heavily lube the cylinder with wd40….. slide the key in/out 10 times…. try turning the ignition… if it won’t turn….. LIGHTLY tap on the end of the key with a hammer…. VERY lightly….. try turning the key… if it turns get it repaired quickly… you may not get another turn out of it…. one other thing you may try is electrical cleaner spray. Tap the end of the key lightly… you want to free up a stuck wafer….
      Thanks,
      Stu

      Reply
  6. I have a 2006E350 Mercedes that I put the key in and will not turn. The steering wheel appears to be locked and turning the key while turning wheel has not worked for me yet. I heard there might be a code that needs to be used? Any ideas?

    Reply
  7. I have a 2002 BMW 325ci and my key won’t turn I messed with it for about 20 minutes and got it to turn. As soon as I take it out it’s.back to trying to get it to turn what could be the problem

    Reply
    • heavily lube the cylinder with wd40….. slide the key in/out 10 times…. try turning the ignition… if it won’t turn….. LIGHTLY tap on the end of the key with a hammer…. VERY lightly….. try turning the key… if it turns get it repaired quickly… you may not get another turn out of it…. one other thing you may try is electrical cleaner spray. Tap the end of the key lightly… you want to free up a stuck wafer….

      Use only the dealer and replace the ignition.
      Thanks,
      Stu

      Reply
  8. Thank you for the video that showed the locked steering wheel. It helped me out of a jam in this freezing cold morning!!!!!! Quick and easy fix!

    Reply
  9. Hi,

    The key broke in my 2002 Pontiac Sunfire, got the key out but now the key will not turn! Checked the battery seems to be good but the radio won’t turn on but the lights and blinkers work! Help!

    Reply
  10. Thanks for your video. My 2016 Camry has been driving me nuts. I’m going to pay attention now when I get in to see if I’m moving my steering wheel.

    Reply

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