Ignition Key Won’t Turn? Here’s What You Need to Do
God bless the Start/Stop button. With it, you no longer have to fumble for your keys, and starting your car is just a button push away. Not only that, it automates the entire system so that your engine automatically shuts off when idling, and turns on when you release the brake pedal. Nifty little piece of technology, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, not all cars come with a start/stop system, and if you’re vehicle still comes with the ol’ lock and key, then you have to contend with a lot of its inherent problems–one of which is your key refusing to turn.
So what’s the cause of an ignition key that won’t rotate? If you’re sure that there’s no issue with your key–meaning it’s not bent, in good condition, and works perfectly–then the problem may lie in related systems or the ignition lock cylinder itself. Here’s how to check for and solve these issues.
Steering column is locked
Most vehicles have a steering column that locks when the key is removed from the ignition. This problem is easily solved by turning the steering wheel at an angle or moving it back and forth until the key can turn.
Transmission is not in park or neutral
Your automatic transmission has a safety feature that doesn’t let you start the vehicle unless the gear is in Park or Neutral. That said, it’s a good idea to always check your gear before you turn the ignition on. You may have left the gear in Drive the last time you used the vehicle.
Ignition lock is stuck
It’s possible for the ignition lock to get stuck, especially if it’s old, or there’s debris inside. Try inserting the key in and out of the hole several times to dislodge any debris or pin. If this doesn’t work, spray WD-40 into the lock cylinder, then slide the key in and out again. If nothing works, it’s time to have a locksmith or mechanic take care of the problem.