It’s the worst-case scenario that could possibly happen, and it always seems to occur at the wrong time. You walk out to your car and insert your key, but the ignition won’t turn. What should you do now? The simple fixes listed below can be used to fix a key that won’t turn in your ignition.
Why Won’t My Ignition Turn
A Safety Feature Of The Car Is Preventing The Key
There are many safety features now installed in cars that will stop the key from turning the ignition as they become more electronic and complex. The most typical ones will be covered below.
Your Wafers Are Damaged
Auto locks employ a wafer-based system, in contrast to standard locks, which use cylinder-shaped, round pins. For the key to slide in, the wafer is typically split down the middle.
Ignition wafers can come in one piece or two pieces (a split wafer). Despite being divided down the middle, a two-piece wafer looks very similar to the one in the illustration. Split wafers can get stuck in the cylinder. Either wafer style has a chance of deteriorating over time.
Your Key Is Worn
Another frequent reason a key won’t turn an ignition isn’t even related to the ignition. The key has become worn, which is why. Car keys deteriorate over time along their edges.
The edges of the car key are compressed with each turn of the ignition to force the wafers into the proper alignment. This gradually wears down the edge until one day it cannot turn the ignition.
While older keys have soft, rounded edges, new keys that were cut by code have sharp, crisp edges.
Tips To Fix Key That Won’t Turn In The Ignition
Turn The Steering Wheel
The most frequent cause of a car key that won’t turn is a locked steering wheel. This will occur if the steering wheel is turned after the ignition cylinder has been unlocked.
- Turn the steering wheel both left and right.
- Keep track of which side the wheel cannot be turned on and the direction it has given.
- The steering wheel should be pulled and held in the give-way direction.
- Maintaining the steering wheel rotation, turn the key to the accessory position.
- Turn the key, and if nothing happens, wiggle the wheel.
- In the event that this is unsuccessful, jiggle the key in the ignition while rocking the steering wheel.
The wheel-turning and key-moving techniques can be combined in different ways. The steering wheel will unlock when the key is turned, and the vehicle should then begin. You may have a more serious problem if the key won’t turn.
Lubricate The Lock
The ignition cylinder’s keyway being a little bit jammed up is a very frequent cause of a car key not turning in the ignition. Your problem might only need some lock lubrication.
You’ll say that WD40 is frequently cited as an example of lubrication of any kind, but in this instance, I would not advise it.
If you intend to replace the ignition cylinder after turning the key successfully, you may use WD40. It doesn’t matter if it gets gunkier over time because you’re going to replace it anyhow.
- assemble your lubricant, key, and cloth.
- Inject the lubricant into the ignition cylinder’s keyway.
- Remove any overspray or leaky materials from the keyhole.
- Turn the key after inserting it.
- If that doesn’t work, try shaking the key.
- Add more lubricant and try again if this is unsuccessful.
Rapping The Key
You might need to try something more drastic to unjam your lock if lubrication doesn’t work. While it’s true that bump keys don’t work on cars, you might be able to fix your problem by using a hammer or a vibrating device along with your broken car key.
Small components inside the lock’s interior, such as springs, may disappear or become stuck. You can shake things into positions temporarily when lubrication fails to unstick or get them to move correctly, giving you just enough time to turn the key in the right direction.
You don’t necessarily need to use a hammer as your tool. Anything that can apply a noticeable vibration to the key and/or the cylinder is acceptable. Simply moving the inside of the lock more than you could by shaking your key, car, or dashboard is the idea.
- Put the ignition of your car on and insert your car key.
- To strike or vibrate the key, gather a hammer or other tool.
- As you try to turn the key, use your tool on the key.
- If that doesn’t work, try using your tool on the ignition cylinder.
Fix The Key
When the ignition key won’t turn, there may be a problem with the key you are using, and resolving that specific point of failure is the only solution. There is still hope if the key is broken.
A broken key might occasionally be repairable. It’s not always the case, but it can happen.
The most crucial step in this procedure is determining the cause of your car key’s malfunction.
You’ll be able to learn how the various complications can be resolved in a wide range of ways as a result. When your car key won’t turn in the ignition, you should be able to investigate the car key as long as you can get your key out.
- See if a different key will work by trying a spare car key.
- Think of a car key that won’t turn in the ignition.
- Check the bitting on the key’s blade for any wear.
- Check for any breaks, bends, or twists.
Replace The Key
Simply replacing your car key is the easiest solution when something is wrong with it. A broken key can almost always be duplicated. There is a solution, regardless of how the key is broken or whether you handle this task in-house or with a third party.
You can approach this process in a number of ways:
- Locate an aftermarket electronic car key, decide how to cut it, and possibly have the transponder chip programmed.
- The lock and key department of your local hardware store are where you can purchase your supplies and receive your service.
- Contact a locksmith.
- Make contact with the car dealership.
Replace The Ignition Cylinder
Your car key may not turn in the ignition if the issue isn’t with your key, which suggests that the ignition cylinder may be broken. The entire ignition assembly may not need to be replaced.
And you won’t even need to replace the ignition switch unless your car won’t start when the key is turned.
Ignition cylinder replacement doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you buy the right one. Ensure that the product you are purchasing is appropriate for the make and model of your car.
Recognize that after completing this process, you will have an ignition key that is distinct from your car door/trunk key. To fix this problem, rekeying will be required.
- Turn your key to the accessory position
- On your ignition assembly, look for the locking pin.
- To depress the lock pin, use a tool of the proper size.
- Remove the outdated ignition cylinder.
- A new ignition cylinder should receive your new key.
- Incorporate the new ignition cylinder into the housing.
- Give it time to lock into place.
- Remove your key.
- Try starting the car while turning the key in the ignition to see if it works.
Call A Locksmith
My key won’t turn in the ignition is a common starting point for a sentence that could end with “I need a locksmith,” according to some people. Any problem where a car key won’t turn in the ignition can be solved by a locksmith.
If you’re concerned about the price of a locksmith, rest assured that it will be lower than that of other professional assistance options.
Your ignition key not turning is caused by three main factors, and we’ll discuss how a locksmith can help below.