Locksmith On Wheels

Key Stuck in Ignition: Causes, Solutions, and Prevention Tips

There is a dreadful feeling that comes over you as you shut off your car and find it impossible to get your key out of the ignition. All you want to do is grab your key and leave the vehicle, and you are unable to do that because the car seems to have some kind of a hold on the key. There are times when a key wont come out of the ignition, and in those times you need to figure out why that is happening and what you are going to do.

Common Causes of a Stuck Car Key

Both user error and worn parts can cause issues with a car key. Figuring out what is going on with your key will help you figure out how to fix things and move on.

key in ignition

The Vehicle Isn’t in Park

The most common reason for a key being stuck in the ignition is a simple one. The car just isn’t shifted into park. If you shut off your vehicle without taking the time to put it into park, you will try to take out your key and wonder why it won’t budge. As soon as you see the reason for this issue, you can shift the car and easily release your key.

The Key is Damaged or Broken

A lot can happen to a key through the years, and some keys become bent or damaged in ways that stop them from working how they are meant to work. If your key is looking old and damaged, you might consider having a replacement made before you have to deal with a car key stuck in ignition.

The Car Has Bent or Worn Parts

The parts inside the ignition of your car get worn each time that you put a key in the car and start it up. Those parts can then get in the way of the key and the spot where it is supposed to go. They can push the key so that it goes in at a weird angle, and they can keep the key from being released from the car.

Buildup Inside the Ignition

You may have noticed dust inside your vehicle, and that dust can also get inside your vehicle’s parts, such as the ignition. Dust can build up and make it difficult to get a key into or out of the ignition. Grime can make the key stick as you try to pull it out.

The Wheel is Turned Too Far

Just like a vehicle that is not in park, another simple solution for a key stuck in ignition is a wheel that is turned too far. If you struggled to get into your garage and you had to turn your wheel a lot to park, you might shut your vehicle off without first straightening the wheel. Doing this can keep your vehicle from releasing its hold on your key.

DIY Solutions to Free a Stuck Key

Ignition key

You would like to get your key out on your own. The first thing that you should do is check the shifter and make sure that your car is in park. Even if the vehicle is in park, you may want to move the shifter a bit and make sure that your vehicle knows that it is in that gear.

After you have checked that your vehicle is in park, straighten the steering wheel if it is not straight. Turn your vehicle to the “on” position and make sure that the steering wheel is straight.

Try wiggling the key around a bit, turning it a little to the left or right before gently pulling on it. Don’t pull hard on the key and try to force it out of the ignition; this can damage the vehicle for good and keep you from driving it.

When to Seek Professional Help

When you have tried everything to get your key out and nothing is working, it is time to see what a locksmith can do. Rather than try to force the key out and risk damaging your vehicle, contact a professional as your frustration starts to rise. A mobile locksmith will be able to come to you when your key won’t turn in ignition and figure out what is going on.

How to Prevent a Key from Getting Stuck in the Ignition

There are simple things that you can do to keep your vehicle from having key and ignition issues. If you notice that your key is starting to get worn or that it is bent, have a duplicate key created so that you are not sticking a damaged item into your vehicle. Clean out the ignition with a can of air to keep dust from gathering there. Always use care when you pull your key out of your car to avoid damaging the inside of the ignition.

Your Trusted Locksmith in Central California

It can be frustrating when you attempt to pull your key from your vehicle and nothing happens. If you have tried to release the key on your own and nothing is working, contact Locksmith on Wheels for help. We can take on the problem for you and carefully get the key out of your vehicle.