One of the most common ignition problems is when the key won’t turn in the ignition and start the car. Here we will give the main reasons for why it happens, solutions, options and more.

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Key Inside Ignition Cylinder

Key Inside Ignition Cylinder

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not try to force the key to turn or put pressure on the key. This will not solve any problem and may only make things worse.

Main reasons why the ignition key won’t turn:

 

1. Pressure on the ignition switch by the steering wheel –

Usually happens when the car is parked uphill or downhill and the steering wheel is turned in either direction. There is a lot of pressure on the steering column and therefore the ignition switch is stuck.

Solution:

Release the pressure by turning the wheel into one direction, keep the wheel in this position while trying to turn the key. Alternatively, turn the wheel the opposite side and try again.

2. Worn out ignition cylinder or wafers –

 

The ignition cylinder has a lot of parts in it e.g. springs, wafers, sidebar, pins and more. Broken or stuck (dirt, sand etc.) part will cause a malfunction of the ignition.

Ignition Key Wont Turn - Broken Parts Inside the cylinder

Ignition Cylinder Parts

Solution:

Try lubricating the ignition with WD-40 or similar lubricants and then GENTLY try to jiggle the key up and down while turning the key.

 

Alternatively, in case you have a spare key, try using it. Sometimes a worn out key may not work “perfectly” on the ignition wafers, but a slightly different cut key may.

 

IMPORTANT: This is only a temporary solution and you must call an automotive locksmith to address the issue as it will probably happen again.

Worn out key –

Mostly relevant for older keys and models. The key must be in a certain shape to turn the ignition and therefore worn out key may not turn the ignition.

Worn Out Key - Wont Turn The Ignition

Worn Out Key – Won’t Turn The Ignition

Solution:

You will need to cut a new key by the original code. An automotive locksmith can do that or you can call the dealer for certain models. In addition, a duplicate will not be a solution.

Temporary solution: GENTLY try to jiggle the key up and down while turning the key.

IMPORTANT: This is only a temporary solution and you must call an automotive locksmith to address the issue as it will probably happen again.