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What to do When Your Car Key is Stuck in the Ignition

Category : Keys

key stuck in ignition

A car key stuck in the ignition or when your car keys won’t turn is a common problem that is usually easy to resolve. A stuck key is not the same as a broken key — in the latter case, the head of the key breaks off when you attempt to turn it. This will usually require removing the broken portion of the key by inserting a pair of needle-nose pliers or an extraction tool into the lock cylinder.

How to Get a Stuck Key Out of the Ignition

If the car key is stuck in the ignition and does not appear to be broken, try these three simple steps.

key stuck in ignition micrographic gif
  • “Unlocking” the steering wheel – Many vehicles feature a locking mechanism that activates when the steering wheel is turned too far to the left or right. This will also prevent the removal of the key. Turning the wheel in the opposite direction can release the lock and enable you to take the key out of the ignition.
  • Jiggling the key – Another easy method for removing a stuck key is to push down on the key cylinder with your left index finger while simultaneously jiggling the key with your right hand. This can loosen the grasp of the springs and pins located inside the cylinder and allow the key to slide out.
  • Shaking the gear selector – If your car has an automatic transmission, you won’t be able to remove the key unless the selector is set properly in park or neutral. Gently shaking the selector while in the park position can often remedy the issue.


Ernie’s: Your Local Maryland Locksmith

If none of these methods do the trick or if your key broke and you need a key replacement, call a professional locksmith for help. Ernie’s Lock Company is a reputable mobile car locksmith serving Riverdale, MD and the surrounding areas that can resolve most key and or ignition issues quickly and efficiently.

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