If you tried turning on your car and the car key get stuck in the ignition, do not worry a we are going to explain the reasons why this happen and also show you how to remove the key from the ignition. Before we start, I want to advise that you should never try to use force to bring out the key that is stuck in ignition, this will cause further problems for your car ignition. Let’s look at the reasons your car key got stuck in the ignition.
Why Car Keys Get Stuck In Ignition
There are a number of reasons why your automobile key will not turn. Some of these factors may be related to a problem specific to a certain make and model of car. The majority of causes of key sticking, on the other hand, are universal and can occur in any make or model of car. here are the reasons why this happens:
Parking Gear Not Set
Before attempting to remove a car key from the ignition, the transmission gear must always be set to “Park.” If the gear is set to drive, neutral, or any other possible gear in an automatic transmission, the key will not come out. Make that the gear shifter in a manual transmission is set to “Neutral” and not any other gear.
People sometimes try to change the gear to park, but the gear does not shift all the way over. If your car has a digital display that shows the gear settings, double-check that the “P” is highlighted.
Steering Wheel Lock
The steering wheel lock will activate if you turn off your vehicle while rotating the steering wheel just a small bit. Not only will you be unable to turn the steering wheel, but you will also be unable to remove the key from the ignition.
This is because the ignition cylinder and the steering wheel lock at the same moment. Turn the key while wriggling the steering wheel around to release both locks at the same time. You should be able to remove the key or start the engine right now.
Debris On Key
Some people enjoy using their car key to open parcels and shipments. While this technique may be helpful at ripping through the box tape, it may also cause tape or particles to stick to the key. If you then insert the key into the ignition of your vehicle while the tape is still adhered to it, the key will have a tougher time engaging the pins of the ignition cylinder.
Dead Car Battery
The battery provides power to the ignition system, which allows it to function properly. The ignition mechanism will most likely lock up if the battery dies. You won’t be able to remove the key from the ignition then.
The best thing you can do right now is wait for a jump start or a new battery to arrive. Alternatively, tap the cylinder gently with a tack hammer.
Worn Or Damaged Key
Car keys are subjected to a great deal of wear and tear over time. Every time you turn the key in the ignition, it wears the key down slightly. You can keep your car key in your pocket or toss it onto a hard-surfaced desk when you aren’t using it. This type of mistreatment will gradually deteriorate your automobile key.
It will be more difficult to remove it from the ignition if it ever bends or develops a minor crack. If you see this damage, replace the key right away.
If your ignition lock cylinder is on the point of failing, your key may not be able to be removed. This is because the ignition lock has many rows of spring-loaded pins that, when inserted, match the shape of your key.
It’s possible that if these pins are slightly out of position, you won’t be able to remove the key (or even inserting it in the first place).
Manufacturer Recall Or TSB
While it’s unlikely, your automobile or truck’s specific year, make, and model may be subject to a recall or technical service bulletin (TSB) relating to the ignition lock cylinder.
Enter your VIN number into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website to determine if your vehicle is affected. Even if it isn’t, it’s a good idea to see if there are any other recalls or TSBs that need to be addressed.
Now, we have considered about 7 possible reasons your car key get stuck in ignition, let’s now look at what can be done to remedy the situation or how you can get the stuck key out of the ignition.
How To Remove Stuck Key From Ignition
The scenario determines whether or not you can get your automobile key out of the ignition. Is this the first time it hasn’t been released? Is your key often getting caught in the ignition? Have you tried to get the key out before and ended up breaking it? In each circumstance, here’s what you should do:
Key Stuck In Ignition For First Time
Set Parking Gear: The most common reason for not being able to pull the key out is because the parking gear on your vehicle is not set. Check if your automatic transmission’s gear selection is set to “P” or “Park,” or that your manual transmission’s shifter is set to “Neutral.”
Jiggle Steering Wheel: If the key still won’t come out after you’ve made sure you’ve adjusted the gear correctly, try carefully jiggling the steering wheel back and forth while gently pulling on the key. When the steering column locks (which is a safety and anti-theft function in most cars), it can exert extra pressure on the ignition lock mechanism, preventing the key from being removed. The pressure on the lock is released by slightly turning the steering wheel, and the key should slide out.
Key Keeps Getting Stuck
If you’ve found that getting your key in and out of the ignition has become slightly more difficult over time, or if the key keeps getting stuck in the ignition, here are a few things to try:
Spray WD-40 on ignition: Spray a little WD-40 into the ignition lock to see if it helps. A thin straw should be included in the can, which should fit (or almost fit) between your key and the ignition lock. This extra lubrication may be sufficient to allow the key to be extracted by gently wiggling it. Once the key is out, look for any signs of damage or bending. If that’s the case, you’ll need to replace the key.
Rub Alcohol or Adhesive: If the key is not damaged but there is some dirt or crud on it, wipe it thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or an adhesive remover (such as Goo Gone).
If WD-40 doesn’t work to remove the key and you’ve previously tried the two solutions in the previous section, you may have a problem with the ignition lock itself. You’ll need to confirm this with a locksmith or technician, but an ignition lock cylinder replacement could be in your near future.
Hope these tips will help you remove your car key when it’s stuck in the ignition. If after trying all these, your key is still stuck in ignition, kindly take your car to a mechanic who will help you fix the problem.