Why Won't My Key Unlock My Car

Why Won’t My Key Unlock My Car: How To Solve It?

For the safety of their valuables and to prevent vehicle theft, the majority of car owners prefer to keep their car doors locked. The car door lock might not open even though the key turns, leaving you stranded. 

Your car key turning but not unlocking the car door could be caused by a few different issues. Some of these include frozen car locks, broken car keys, damaged car locks, lack of lubrication, or dead batteries in car key fobs.

Reasons That Your Key Can’t Unlock The Car

Damaged Lock

If your car key can turn in the lock when inserted, but the door lock won’t open, it’s very likely that you have a damaged car lock. Non-frequent key use is one of the factors that can cause damage to car locks.

Perhaps you were using your remote or key fob to open your car door too frequently. 

The lock’s obstruction by dirt and debris is another potential cause of damage.

Additionally, in extremely cold temperatures, the door lock may also freeze. The lock may have been harmed by impact if you’ve recently been in an accident.

Additionally, two components of a car lock may have been damaged: the car lock cylinder and the lock assembly. The lock cylinder is most likely damaged if the key turns but does not unlock the car door. 


You must fix or replace your car lock if it has been damaged. This article will show you how to fix your car door lock on your own. If you believe the lock was frozen, try lubricating it and thawing it.

Without a professional locksmith’s help, you won’t be able to fix your car door lock or get a new one installed.

Why Won't My Key Unlock My Car

Damaged Key

Your car key turning but not unlocking the door could be due to something as simple as the key being damaged. This does not necessarily imply that your car key needs to be cut into pieces.

Although it may not be clearly broken, the key’s grooves may have worn out. 

The key won’t work with the door lock’s internal mechanism if the depth of one or more of these grooves is off. As a result of constant use and poor maintenance, keys are prone to wear and tear and are likely to become damaged.


You need a locksmith to make a new car key using the key code stored in your vehicle if the physical damage to your car key is present. Your damaged key will be replicated if you make a copy of your current car key.

The new replacement key needs to be programmed to unlock your car’s lock if you have a transponder car key.

Battery Problem

Your car’s key fob may have dead batteries, which is a very real possibility. The reason the keys are turning but failing to function is that their battery is dead. It’s not uncommon for batteries to run out, so this is a pretty frequent problem. 

It’s very likely that the batteries are worn out if your car hasn’t been responding to commands or signals sent from the key fob.

Furthermore, the car key fob might not function when used remotely, the buttons on the fob require a lot of pressure, and the key fob may only function occasionally. The fact that your key isn’t working, though, might not be the only factor. 


Replace the car key fob batteries if you’re certain they’re dead or worn out. The specific battery type that your key fob uses can be found in the car’s manual. Additionally, there may be instructions in the manual on how to replace the key fob batteries. 

Worn Buttons

The key fob’s inconsistent operation is one of the signs of worn buttons. This might be the case, for instance, when a key fob won’t unlock doors unless you press the button repeatedly or firmly.

You might also discover that some buttons are functional while others are not.

Therefore, the door locks but not the remote start button on your car or the key fob on your car. The limited or mixed malfunctioning is one of the most obvious symptoms of worn key fob buttons.

Visible wear or damage is a reliable sign of this problem. The worst-case scenarios might have seen one or more buttons completely detached. Despite being a straightforward fix, replacing your car remote is not always necessary for this damage.


Although purchasing a new remote will be simpler, keeping your current circuit board and replacing the housing will cost less.

As demonstrated in this video overview, all you need to replace the button contacts is the right replacement housing, a small pry tool, and soldering supplies.


Deprogramming will closely resemble a key fob battery that is dead. Simply put, your fob won’t operate.

However, you should be aware of certain protocols on older vehicles that enable you to unpair an existing remote control without gaining access to the onboard computer before you go out and purchase a smart key for your car.


If your car key fob has been deprogrammed, you should be able to perform a similar re-pairing procedure on your own.

For information on your particular self-programming protocols, consult your owner’s manual or the internet. Call an auto locksmith if you require any assistance.

Other Ways To Unlock Your Car Doors If The Key Won’t Turn


Getting help from a professional is the first step. A slim jim, which slides inside the window pane and manually unlocks the door, is most likely to be used by a locksmith or police officer.

If a locksmith is used, there will be a charge for this service even though it is a quick fix that will work especially well on older cars.

Thawing The Lock

In colder climates, a frozen lock may occasionally stop working. It can be defrosted using a product called de-icer, which comes with clear instructions. In the absence of a de-icer, a blow dryer can also be used on a lock.


Perhaps all an old lock needs to turn smoothly is a little lubrication. In this case, lubricate the gears using a professional product, such as W-D 40, before attempting the key once more. A lubricant will take care of any rust or debris that was the issue.

Keyless Entry

Keyless entry is also a common feature of more recent cars. The key not turning won’t be an issue if your car has a keyless entry system. Just use this different device to unlock your car.

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