If your key doesn’t turn in the ignition, you may still be able to remove it. Understandably, you’ll be panicking as you attempt to figure out what to do since you can’t simply leave it in the ignition with the doors open while you go to work, home, or somewhere else you need to go.
Whatever you do, DO NOT try to extract the key by using brute force since you may break the key off altogether. Afterward, you’ll be dealing with a far more serious situation.
The key should easily slip out of the ignition once you have twisted it entirely counterclockwise and (if appropriate) press the key release button on the key ring. The first important thing to do if your key won’t come out of the ignition is to figure out what could be causing the issue.
Causes of a Car Key Getting Stuck in the Ignition
When you can’t get your car key to turn, there are a number of possible causes. A unique problem with a certain automobile type or brand might explain some of these ideas. The majority of sticking points are generic and may exist in any vehicle.
You only need to comprehend these factors to find a solution to the issue. The top seven reasons for a key stuck in the ignition are listed below.
1. Inadequate Parking Gear
Before removing a vehicle key from the ignition, always put the gear to “Park”. The key won’t come out of the ignition with an automatic gearbox as long as the gear is in drive, neutral, or any other possible position. Make sure the gear changer on a manual gearbox is set to “Neutral” and not any other gear.
When users try to move the gear to P mode, the gear does not always shift over to it. If your car has a digital display that shows the gear settings, make sure the “Park” is highlighted.
2. Steering Wheel Tightening
The steering lock gets activated when you switch off your car in between. You will be unable to spin the steering wheel, but you will also be unable to remove the key.
That’s because the cylinder and steering wheel are both locked. Turn the key while wriggling the wheel to disengage both locks simultaneously. You should be able to take out the key and re-start the engine.
3. Dirt on the Key
Some folks like opening parcels and presents with their vehicle keys. While this may help rip through the tape, it may also cause the tape to get stuck on the key.
If you insert the key into your car’s ignition while the tape still adheres to it, the key will have a more difficult time engaging the ignition cylinder’s pins.
4. Dead Battery
To work correctly, the ignition mechanism is powered by the battery. If the battery fails, the ignition will automatically get locked up. Then you won’t be able to pull the key out of the ignition.
In this situation, the best thing to do is to wait for the battery to start itself or for a new battery to be fitted. Either that or use a tack hammer to tap the cylinder lightly.
5. Worn or Damaged Key
Car keys are very robust and can withstand almost anything. Each time you turn the key in the ignition, it wears the key a little bit. When you’re not using your vehicle key, you may store it in your pocket or throw it on a hard surface. This mistreatment will gradually deteriorate your automobile key.
If it ever bends or develops a slight fracture, it won’t be easy to remove it from the ignition. If you notice this damage, replace the key as soon as possible.
6. Damaged Ignition Cylinder
If your ignition lock cylinder is on the brink of failing, it may prevent your key from ejecting. This is because the ignition lock has many rows of spring-loaded pins that, when inserted, match the form of your key. If these pins are slightly misaligned, you may be unable to remove the key (or even insert it in the first place).
What should I do next?
If your key becomes stuck in the ignition, here are three things you should do:
1. Remove the Steering Wheel Lock
In many automobiles, the locking mechanism is engaged when the steering wheel is rotated too far to either the left or the right. You can’t even take your key out of the lock because of the mechanism. Once you feel that the wheel is no longer locked in place, try twisting your key in the other direction to disengage the locking mechanism.
2. Move Your Keys Around a Bit
To depress the key cylinder, press down with your left index finger. Using your right hand, jiggle your key. This may allow you to slip your key out of the cylinder by loosening the springs and pins.
3. It’s time to shift into third gear
Before removing your key, make sure your vehicle is neutral or in the park. It’s possible that your automobile isn’t aware that you’ve parked or put it in neutral. If this occurs, use a little shake of the selection. Try putting your gears back in the park if it doesn’t work.
A locksmith should be contacted if none of the above solutions work.
What to Do if Your Ignition Key Breaks?
The worst-case situation is a broken ignition key. A key extraction tool or hiring a professional locksmith is your two alternatives if your key breaks.
To remove the damaged key piece from the ignition, you need a key extractor tool. If your damaged key isn’t correctly removed, hiring a professional locksmith is better.
Before you start the car, take one last check at your key. If your key is broken or unclean, it increases the likelihood that it may fall out of the ignition and become stuck.