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Key Jammed In Ignition? Try These Steps

There are so many reasons why your key may have gotten stuck inside your car’s ignition. Here are a few tips that can help you deal with the issue on your own.


Key locked in ignition


Assessing Your Ignition Issues

It is no fun to get behind the wheel of a car on a really cold and snowy day, only to realize that the car just won’t start. If this happens to you, it is certainly no fun, but fixing it is not so hard to do, assuming you have access to a mechanic or jump start. Individuals who drive older model cars have times when their car key simply won’t turn in the ignition, or the key jams inside the lock. When this happens, a good locksmith such as those at Authorized Locksmiths will really come to the rescue. If your key is stuck in your car’s ignition, there are some things you can try before you have to call a tow truck or a mechanic.

  • First, check to make sure that your automatic transmission is in Park, or you have your parking brake on with your straight-drive transmission. Many cars are designed to prevent starting while in gear, and you don’t want your straight-drive car to roll while you’re trying to start it.
  • Apply a little pressure to the key and jiggle the steering wheel back and forth to try to find a free space for the key to turning. Most steering columns lock and are designed to activate the ignition only when the wheel is in the right position.
  • If you have liquid graphite, silicone spray or electrical contact cleaner handy, try spraying the ignition slot and cleaning the lock cylinder.

Fixing It on Your Own

Tap the key - not too hard - with a tack hammer or pair of pliers. On some lock cylinders, the tumbler gets locked into a position where the springs don’t work. A few light taps can free the key.

Pull it out - If the key won’t turn, but you can pull it out, try a spare key or alternate key. You should always have a spare key on your person, anyway. Also, inspect the key to see if it is bent. Sometimes you can tap it back into shape.

Fiddle around with the key - You can fiddle with the key, but don’t lose your temper and force it. Too much pressure can damage your ignition even more.

Of course, the best precaution to take when it comes to locks and keys is to have the number of Authorized Locksmiths handy. If you don’t have our number, write it down now, and keep it in your pocket. Emergency calls are what we do. We arrive promptly, provide trustworthy professional service, and get you on your way. When you have the number of a reliable professional, it gives you peace of mind for those emergencies down the road.