There is nothing worse than stopping your car and realizing that the key is stuck in the ignition, especially if you were in a rush to get somewhere. The key could be stuck for a variety of different reasons, and some of them are easier to fix than others.
The first thing that most people do when the key is stuck in the ignition is panic and try to yank it out, but this is actually one of the worst things that you can do. Trying to force the key out will only cause more damage, and it might be simpler to solve than you thought.
To help you get through this situation, we are going to tell you exactly how you can free your key from the ignition in this article. Some methods are much easier and less costly than others, but you should have your key out in no time.
What To Do If Your Key Is Stuck In The Ignition
If you find that your key is stuck in the ignition, not all hope is lost. There are a few reasons why this could happen, and we will explain what you need to do in this situation below.
Before you panic, try out these different methods to see if you can release the key.
Check the Position of the Key
Check to make sure that the key is in the lock position on the ignition switch. As the cylinder gets older, it starts to become easier to be able to turn them beyond the normal point.
This is more likely if the key has been attached to heavier objects as it will gradually put even more pressure on the cylinder, making it more likely to wear.
Move the Steering Wheel
You should also try to move the steering wheel back and forth while gently trying to remove the key from the lock position.
The steering wheel can lock, and if this does happen, the ignition switch will hold onto the key until it has been unlocked again. Don’t pull hard on the key. Instead, you should focus on getting movement from the steering wheel.
The entire reason that the wheel lock exists is to prevent movement when there is no key inside. This is an easy fix, and you should apply light pressure to the key while turning the wheel.
If you don’t hear a click sound, then try moving the wheel in the other direction. Avoid turning the key too hard at all costs, as it could snap off, which will bring a whole new series of problems.
Additionally, you should test the parking position, as it is possible for the car to not lock into the park position. If you can still move the gearstick out of park when the vehicle is off, the linkage might be out of adjustment or worn out. It must always be locked in park to remove the key.
Check for a Dead Battery
Another source to the problem could be the battery. If the battery is dead, you might not be able to remove the key as the chip in the key cannot be correctly identified by the vehicles’ theft-deterrent system.
This is more likely to be the case with modern cars. The ignition system will require power to operate, and if the battery is completely dead, it can stop you from being able to remove the key,
If you turn the key and you hear a repeated clicking sound, then it is highly likely that you have a dead battery. You will need to jump start your car to get it working again. If the clicking sound persists, then the battery may need to be replaced.
Why is My Key Stuck in the Ignition?
There could be a few different reasons that can explain why your key is stuck in the ignition, and we will explain some of these things below.
This knowledge will help you to prevent the same thing happening in the future.
Dirt and Debris
One of the reasons why your key might not be working is because there is dirt or debris on the key that is stopping it from turning inside the ignition cylinder.
Some people tend to use their keys for other things, like to open a drink or scratch something. Unfortunately, doing so can add to the wear of the key and even alter the original shape of it.
In order to fix this problem, you can use a small amount of rubbing alcohol and a cloth to wipe your key clean, and this should get rid of any debris on the key.
Faulty Ignition Cylinder
Another thing that could be the problem is a faulty ignition cylinder. Over time, the cylinder will age, which is more likely to happen with older cars, and this can cause the internal mechanisms to fail. If this happens when the key is inserted, then you might not be able to get it out again.
If this is the case for you, then you will likely need to have your ignition cylinder replaced, and this can become quite costly. If you want to make sure that your ignition cylinder lasts for as long as possible, you should only use minimal keyrings.
The motion of them swinging back and forth in the ignition can actually cause them to wear faster, making it more likely for your keys to get stuck.
Finally, your key might be worn or damaged, which could explain why it has gotten stuck in the ignition. Most people don’t think to take good care of their car keys, and this can lead to damage that doesn’t allow your key to work as it should.
Make sure that you only use your key for its designed purpose and that you look after it well. Otherwise, you could be dealing with some expensive problems.
Don’t Force It
One of the most important things to be aware of if your key gets stuck in the ignition is to take care with it. If you apply too much pressure or try to force the key out, you are probably only going to do more damage rather than good.
You should always double-check all of the solutions that we have listed here before going to drastic measures, as it could be a really simple fix.