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Car Key Stuck in Ignition Solutions

Car key stuck in ignition - locksmith LionHaving your car key stuck in the ignition it’s common problem. when the unexpected problem occurs. Most car keys are made from soft metal and since we use them daily they can easily wear out, especially because we tend to use them as can opener and much more. But in all means, this is a case in which with all the understandable frustration, you have to be very gentle. Any use of force or the wrong tools can cause a much bigger damage that will cost more time and money to fix.

Now, there are a few things you can try before you have to call a professional locksmith technician to help you, of course if you see visible damage to the car key or ignition call a professional immediately in order to avoid further damage. At Naples Locksmith Lion we have professional technicians who will arrive at your location ASAP. Call us 24/7 at 239-849-4979.

Reasons & Solutions

Car is not turned off

I know it sounds silly, but you will be surprised to hear that this is the most common reason for keys getting stuck in the ignition. This only stands for cars with keyed ignitions (not fobs or push to start keys) cars with a keyed ignition. So always first thing to do is make sure your car is completely turned off before you try remove your key.  most cars today are programed and won’t turn off if the car’s gear shift is not on “parking” or if the key is not turned all the way in the ignition cylinder.

What to do?

After you ruled this reason out you can keep searching for the the problem.

Wear & Tear

Sometimes in old car models we see a lot of wear and tear in the ignition and keyway itself. Also the car key is made out of soft metal that with time and use gets weaker.

What to do?

If your key is stuck in the ignition, the first thing you can try is applying lubricant/oil spray to the stuck key and in the ignition switch. If the problem is old, worn out mechanism then it might help pull the key out. See for example the WD-40.


Steering Wheel Locking system

In cases where the steering wheel is not stuck, you can move it, but you can’t move the key, it usually has to do with the steering wheel’s locking system. Most common reason for this to occur is when we turn of our car with the wheels locked in different directions, applying pressure on the steering column.

What to do?

Try moving the steering wheel back and forth while trying to pull out the key. But remember to be gentle, so you won’t break the key in the ignition, making it worse. You should here a click when the system is unlocked and you can easily free your key.  If that didn’t work, and you still can’t call a professional who has the right tools try using a jack to lift the front of your car just a little bit, to relieve the pressure on the steering column. Then try again moving your wheel back and forth until the key can be pulled out.

Key broke in the ignition

This is probably the worst case of them all. If your key broke inside the ignition it obviously means it is stuck. This unpleasant situation can occur due to many circumstances. One of them is not paying much attention to our car keys, we toss them in the drawer or in our bag, without noticing that they are bent, scraped or damage in any other way. With using a key in this condition to begin with you risk having it stuck in the ignition and even a higher risk of breaking in it. But what if our key was perfect? Unfortunately, a key can break in the ignition even if it is not faulty to begin with. It can occur due to wrong angle, excessive use of force or just bad luck.

What to do?

In this case we recommends using the services of a professional. That is because even if it is not the worst case and you are able to pull the key out yourself, you will want a professional to assess and make sure no damage was caused to the ignition in order to prevent having it malfunction or getting stuck again in the future. Plus, you will need a new car key made. At Locksmith Lion we provide professional, 24/7, Car Locksmith Services.

Obstruction in the ignition cylinder

In some cases the keyway can be blocked. Blockage can be caused from many reasons for example:  food/ drinks we spill, dust, debris build up with time and much more. Once in a while make sure your keyway is clean and free of any debris.  In this case, a good thing to try before calling a professional will be cooling down the key.

What to do?

It might sounds funny but soft metal tend to expand when warm, so after all the wiggling and pulling it might help. A bag of frozen veggies from the freezer or a ziplock bag with ice in it will do the job.  Of course if that still didn’t work we at Locksmith Lion we here for you 24/7.


When a problem with your car key or ignition occurs it is not something to take lightly. As we explained above, Those problems will be a lot easier to tackle sooner than later. If you notice your key is not turning like it use to, if it takes too long to start the car, if you’re having a problem extracting the key once you have parked or any other related problem you have to diagnose it in order to understand if it has to do with the key, the ignition or both.Using a faulty part will make the damage worse. We hope this guide was helpful. For more information or assistance in extracting a car key call us 24/7 at 239-849-4979.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. jay c.

    Thank you for the sharing the knowledge Here very helpful.

  2. Sara

    Like!! Thank you so mush for publishing this awesome article very helpful.

  3. jonny Jason

    Thank you so much for the helpful info. Very well written. I will definitely be back to read more.

  4. Ken

    Thank you for this valuable information, I hope one of your solutions works for me. My truck had been parked for a long time but I had been starting it without moving it. One day the truck didn’t start (battery) but I couldn’t remove the key.

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