Getting a car key stuck in the ignition is not a typical problem but whenever it happens to you, it puts you in a tough situation. And when you try to get it out and nothing happens, you easily get panic and frustrated. Sometimes, in frustration, you also apply excess force to get the key out from the ignition that can create a much bigger problem for you.
It is always better to not take any harsh attempt to get the key out as you may end up either breaking the key into the ignition or you may cause some internal damage to the locking system.
So, in the end, you will cause additional damage that will only add to your repair expenses.
The first and the best thing you can do is try to rotate the key in the ignition counterclockwise and see if the key can come out of it smoothly without causing any internal damage. If despite trying out this method several times and still, your key is stuck there, find out possible reasons for this problem.
Here’re some possible reasons that you should understand because these reasons will help you find out the solution to the problem.
Reasons Car Key Stuck in the Ignition
#1 – Dirt on Key or Ignition
The dirt or debris on your key may affect the shape of your key and make it harder to insert in the ignition. And it is also possible that there is dirt and debris in the ignition that can make things more complicated especially when you try to engage the key into it. In such condition, there are chances to get your car key stuck in the ignition. Keeping your ignition clean and dust-free with regular maintenance is the way to save you from such a difficult situation.
#2 – Rusted Key
A rusted key has a rough surface that easily causes the key to getting stuck in the ignition. However, generally, the keys are made up of stainless steel so there is no chance to get rust on it but with a duplicate key, this may happen. If you’re using a duplicate key that is rusted, make sure you replace it with a new key.
#3 – Locked Steering Wheel
Do you have a car with a steering wheel lock system? If yes, this can also cause car key stuck in the ignition. See how, if you have turned your car off and the steering wheel is not in the right position, this can cause steering wheel lock to get activated. And this situation directly leads to the locking of the ignition system. And in such a situation, if your car key is left there in the ignition, it will get stuck there. But don’t worry, you can overcome this problem if you keep little patience and try to wiggle around the key in the ignition. While wiggling around the key, you can bring the steering wheel back in its right position and thus you can solve this problem yourself.
#4 – Broken Key
It is common to get angry especially when your car key doesn’t come out of the ignition easily. And in anger, you may jerk on the key too forcefully that can cause the key to get broken inside the ignition.
Therefore, it is important you treat your car and its parts with great care no matter how angry you’re. In such a situation when your car key has broken, it might be easier for you to get it out from the ignition but don’t try it out yourself unless you know it well. Any wrong attempt can cause internal damage. It is better you call an expert or professional to get it fixed safely.
#5 – Wrong Key
If you have more than one car, you are likely to take the wrong key in a hurry. However, you may be able to insert it into the ignition but because this is a wrong key, so it will not align with the ignition pins and cause it to get stuck there. In such a situation, first of all, you should ensure that you have the right key before looking out for any solution.
#6 – A Dead Car Battery
This is not so common but if you have a car with the latest safety features that the key can automatically lock up if the battery is not giving out enough power to the car. In such a situation, you should ensure the battery has run out by switching on the headlights of the car. If the light doesn’t come, it means your car battery is out and this is only causing the key stuck.
Once you’re sure about this cause, don’t try to take the key out with force. You should either take help from someone to jumpstart the car or get the battery replaced.
How to Get Stuck Key Out of Ignition
There are a number of things you can try out to get your stuck key out from the ignition. However, some of them require specific tools to deal with them and some situations are so complicated that you may need the help of a professional. But still, there are a lot of things that you can do yourself to save the expensive repair cost.
# 1 – Make Your Car Battery Fully Charged
If your car battery is dead or low on voltage, there are changes to get your car key stuck in the ignition, not allowing you to start the car. If this happens, before you try out any other solution or put out unnecessarily too much force on the key, check the battery level and get it fully charged. By doing so, you would be able to take your key out from the ignition without any extra effort.
#2 – Ensure That the Shifter Is In Park Position
In most automatic cars, you need to have your car shifter in the park position to get the key out from the ignition. A faulty shifter can also cause the key stuck where the wrong position of the shifter can freeze the ignition and doesn’t allow you to take the key out from it. In such situation, it is good to call an expert rather than trying out anything from your side and making things even worse. An expert will unassemble the ignition parts and take the key out from it. This can be an expensive deal for you but except this, there is no other way out.
# 3 – Use Lubricant into the Lock
If you think your car key has got stuck in the ignition because key or the ignition lock has worn out, only spraying the lubricant inside the lock would be enough to smooth the surface and get the key out from it. This is something that you must try out before you jerk on the key.
#4 – Safety Switch
Some cars come with an extra safety switch inside of the ignition. To get the key out from the ignition, you have to press the key together with a button and rotate it gently. This way, you can easily get your key out without causing any damage to the car. But before you try out this solution, make sure you read the manual to ensure you’re following the right procedure.
#5 – Call a Professional
If you have tried out everything possible but couldn’t get the key out then you have only one choice to call a professional who knows the ins and outs of the car. A professional can do many things that may not be possible for you, for an instance if your ignition lock has got failed then you have only one way to get rid of this problem is replacing the lock and only a professional can do this.
The right solution to this problem completely depends on the cause of it. Therefore, before you look out for any solution, it is important to understand the cause of the problem. This will save you from making any additional damage to the car. We hope this article provided you with enough information to sort out the key stuck problem.