why won't my car key come out

Why Won’t My Car Key Come Out? Reasons & Solutions

You may be able to pull your key out of the ignition even if it won’t turn. Whatever you do, avoid attempting to extract the key by brute force as you might end up completely breaking it off. To get your key out, there are a few options. You can discover how to remove your key by reading this article.

Reasons A Car Key Gets Stuck In The Ignition

Your car key won’t come out for a number of different reasons. Some of these explanations might have something to do with a particular issue with a certain make and model of a car. However, the majority of key sticking causes are universal and can occur in any make or model of vehicle.

Parking Gear Not Set

To remove a car key from the ignition, the transmission’s gear must always be in the “Park” position. The key won’t come out of an automatic transmission if the gear is in drive, neutral, or any other available gear. Make sure the gear shifter in a manual transmission is in “Neutral” and not any other gear.

Occasionally, people will try to shift into the park, but the gear may not move all the way over. Check to see if the “P” is highlighted on the digital screen in your car, which shows the gear settings.

Steering Wheel Lock

The steering wheel lock will engage if you turn off your car while still moving the wheel a little bit. You won’t be able to pull the key out of the ignition or turn the steering wheel as a result of this.

This is a result of the ignition cylinder locking concurrently with the steering wheel lock. Try turning the key while turning the steering wheel to attempt to unlock both locks simultaneously. You should be able to start the car or remove the key right now.

Debris On Key

With their car key, some people enjoy opening boxes and packages. While doing so might be successful in tearing through the box tape, it might also cause tape fragments to adhere to the key.

It will be more difficult for the key to engage the ignition cylinder’s pins if you insert the key into the ignition of your car while the tape is still attached to it.

Dead Battery

The battery’s power is required for the ignition system to operate properly. In the event of a dead battery, the ignition system is probably going to lock up. The key won’t come out of the ignition at that point.

Waiting for a new battery or a jump start is the best course of action in this situation. Either that or lightly tap the cylinder with a tack hammer.

Worn Or Damaged Key

Over time, car keys are subject to a lot of abuse. The ignition key is slightly worn each time it is inserted and turned. When not in use, you can either keep your car key in your pocket or place it on a desk with a hard surface. Your car key will slowly become damaged as a result of this abuse.

why won't my car key come out

It will be more difficult to remove it from the ignition if it ever bends or develops a tiny crack somewhere. If you start noticing this damage, replace the key right away.

Damaged Ignition Cylinder

Your key may not turn in an ignition lock cylinder that is about to fail. This is so that when your key is inserted, one of the rows of spring-loaded pins in the ignition lock will line up with the shape of your key.

The key may not be able to be removed (or even inserted in the first place) if these pins are just slightly out of alignment.

Manufacturer Recall Or Tsb

Although extremely unlikely, it is possible that the technical service bulletin (TSB) or recall that applies to your specific vehicle’s year, make, and model is focused on the ignition lock cylinder.

By entering your VIN number into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, you can see if your car is affected. Even if it isn’t, it’s a good idea to find out the status of any other unfinished recalls or TSBs.

How To Get A Stuck Key Out Of The Ignition

Unlock The Steering Wheel

Many automobiles have a locking mechanism that engages if the steering wheel is turned too far to the left or right. You can’t take your key out either because of the mechanism. Once you feel that the wheel is no longer locked in place, try turning your key to release the locking mechanism.

Jiggle Your Key

Push down on your key cylinder with your left index finger. Your right hand should be shaking as you jiggle your key. By doing this, you might be able to slide your key out of the cylinder by loosening the springs and pins inside.

Shake The Gear Selector

Before removing your key, make sure your car is in the park or neutral. However, there may be times when your vehicle fails to recognize that you are parked or in neutral. Shake the gear selector a little bit in these circumstances. Alternately, try resetting your gear so that it is in the parking position.

Call a seasoned locksmith if none of these solutions work.

What To Do If Your Key Breaks In The Ignition

The worst-case scenario is a broken key in the ignition. You have two choices if your key breaks: use a key extractor tool or hire a professional locksmith.

To get the piece of broken key stuck in the ignition out, use a key extractor tool. Working with a professional locksmith, in contrast, guarantees that your broken key is properly extracted.

Lastly, check your key before inserting it into the ignition. The likelihood that your key will break off inside the ignition increases if it is damaged or filthy.


Even though having a key stuck in the ignition is not ideal, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there is always something or someone that can assist you. Prior to calling a locksmith, please try the aforementioned techniques.

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