Driving a car is a fulfilling experience until every process goes on smoothly. But sometimes you experience issues like the car breaking down midway on the road, break failure, or even the key getting stuck in the ignition. You don’t anticipate such troubles and you aren’t even accustomed to resolving them.

One of the frequent issues is that of the car key stuck in the ignition. You cannot even lock the car without retrieving the key. What can you do in such a situation? How to fix it when the key gets stuck in the ignition?

It is not complicated as it looks. You need to know the possible reasons and the relevant solution.

Is the car key stuck in the ignition? Here are some quick fixes! Read on.    

1. Gear is not in Park or Neutral

The keys come out of the ignition only when your car’s gear is in neutral or Park position. While this may not be much of a problem for automatic transmission mode, it may be the case for manual transmission. 

So, if your key is stuck in the ignition, make sure the gear shifter is in the Park position. Even if you feel you have shifted it to the neutral position, shake the gear selector a bit to put it firmly in place. Now, try turning the key and sliding it out of the ignition.

2. Steering lock is turned on

There are instances when your car turns off in the middle. In such cases, the steering lock is turned on for safety. You won’t be able to turn the wheel and it will also disable you from removing the key from the ignition. 

This has an easy fix. Try turning the key and jiggling the steering at the same time. There are chances that the key comes out from the ignition or at least you’ll be able to start the engine unlocking both the steering wheel and the key.

3. Key is worn out

Your car’s key gets worn out over a period of time of its use. It is universal and there’s nothing you can do to stop this process. Also, you have the key with you whenever you go out and there are chances you misuse it for other reasons such as opening a lid or scratching any surface. These tasks will make the key wear out faster. Even if it is minutely bent or chipped, it will make it hard to come out of the ignition. 

In such cases, it is better to go in for a car key replacement. Make a set of new keys so that you can easily turn on and switch off the ignition. Don’t forget to lubricate the ignition lock cylinder using a spray lubricant.  

Note: Stop using your car key as a pen knife if you don’t want it to get stuck in the ignition. 

4. Dirt on the key

The key is very sensitive to changes or imperfections as it changes the depth of the cuts. Dirt gets accumulated over a period of time on the key cut and this may affect its ability to rotate inside the keyhole. 

As a layman, you might not be able to comprehend the reason why your key got locked in the ignition. Try to turn it slowly and delicately. Once the key comes out, clean it with a soft damp cloth. Rub alcohol or adhesive remover to remove the dirt.

If the key isn’t coming out yet, hiring professional locksmith services is the best option. They’ll pull out the key from the ignition, clean the key, and ensure that it doesn’t get stuck inside the ignition again due to dirt.    

5. Key breaks and gets stuck

Sometimes, forcefully removing the key from the ignition may break the key. In such cases, the key blade gets stuck inside while only the bow remains in your hand. Or it is possible that most of the key comes out while some debris remains inside. No, don’t try to put any sharp objects inside to retrieve the debris. Leave it as it is and call the car locksmith service.

6. Faulty ignition cylinder

The ignition lock cylinder is subjected to wear and tear over time. It is also a mechanical part and just as the lock in your homes or offices gets damaged, the ignition lock cylinder may also be broken or internally damaged. 

In such cases, if it gets damaged after you insert the key, you’ll not be able to remove it. It is because the lock cylinder has a row of key pins that perfectly align with the key cuts. If the pins are misplaced, your key gets stuck inside and it is highly unlikely it’ll come out even if you try turning the key a bit. 

Don’t try too much. You may risk breaking the key. Instead of doubling the problem, call the car locksmith service. They have the skills and tools to get the key out from the ignition lock cylinder.   

7. Car battery is dead

Your vehicle’s ignition system runs on the battery. If your battery is completely discharged, the key won’t come out from the ignition. You can easily recognize this by the clicking sound when you try to turn on the key and the engine refuses to start. Such cases are very rare when you cannot take out the key because of a dead car battery. But if it happens, the option is to wait for the battery to be charged or jump-start your vehicle.   

Bottom Line

It’s not an ideal situation to be in when you have a key stuck in the ignition. But there’s always a way out. We have explained the reasons why a car key gets stuck in the ignition and the fixes for it. Whenever your key is stuck in the ignition, turn it gently. Don’t force the key out of the ignition. Rather call a trusted car locksmith service to do the job for you.

Desert Locksmith is a trusted car locksmith in Phoenix and surrounding areas of Arizona. We have expertise in car unlock services, car key replacement, and much more. If you ever have a problem with your car key stuck in the ignition, contact us. We’ll assist you in the best possible way. 

Remember, if you don’t feel comfortable performing the key removal procedures outlined above, call us and we’ll be right there anytime any day.