Why Do Keys Get Stuck in the Ignition?

One of the most common problems encountered by any professional locksmith is when keys get stuck inside ignitions. It’s extremely stressful for the vehicle owner and inconvenient too. Just when you need to go somewhere or even park your car, you are suddenly stuck! It’s not like you can simply walk away and leave your car with the key inside. So, before you panic, here are some reasons that could shed some light on why the key is stuck and what you can do about it.

The lock on your steering wheel is engaged

This is one of the most common reasons for a key to get ‘stuck’ in the ignition. When your steering wheel lock is engaged, the ignition cylinder also locks. This is a security measure to ensure that your car is not towed away by just anyone. To free up your key inside the ignition, you simply need to turn the wheel slightly left and right, or even just one direction. At the same time, you should wiggle the key gently until you can feel it turn. If this does not work, do not force it. You don’t want to damage the key or ignition barrel.

Your car is still in gear

Many vehicles with automatic transmissions do not allow you to start the vehicle if it is in a forward gear. Before trying to start your car, you should check if it’s perhaps in gear. If it looks like you are in the park but you are still struggling, you can try putting your car in gear and then return to park. Sometimes the shifter can get stuck between gears which is why it’s good to try shifting out and back into park. If your key still won’t turn, try wiggling the steering wheel as mentioned above. If this does not work, check other possible causes below or call a professional.

Damaged or worn car key

If your car key is significantly worn out or bent, it could get stuck when you try to use it. Old and damaged keys do not function as they should because they don’t make proper contact with the ignition coil. If you are able to remove your key, do so. If you feel like it is stuck and you would have to force it out, it’s best to call your local locksmith instead. Once you remove the key, do not use it again. Instead, try starting your car using your spare key and have a new key made as soon as possible so that you always have an extra key in the event of an emergency.

The cylinder has seized

Inside the lock, there is a cylinder that holds the springs and pins. These springs and pins identify the key and, when they connect perfectly, your key will turn the ignition and start your car. If the cylinder seizes up, you can free up the springs by gently tapping it using a tack hammer. This is quite a sensitive task and even the slightest wrong move can result in more damage than good. For this reason, most people prefer not to risk it and they call their locksmith instead!

The good news is that a key that gets stuck or will not turn is usually just the result of a simple problem that can be fixed in minutes. Remember, it’s always best to keep your car keys separate from any other keys. The reason for this is the weight of your bunch of keys. If you add too many keys to a single keychain, the weight of those keys will eventually damage the car ignition. Sure, your car keys, ignition, and locks are bound to experience wear and tear over time but there’s no reason to accelerate this process! So keep your house keys, business keys, and car keys all separate.

Never use excessive force on any lock – especially your car! When you consider replacing a regular lock on one of your doors at home, it might not seem like a big deal. However, replacing any car lock or the ignition barrel of your car is a far more costly affair. In many cases, depending on the make and model of your vehicle, a whole new lockset will need to be ordered which will take time and cost quite a bit.

For speedy commercial locksmith services you can trust, call Toronto Top Locksmith at (647) 479-7764. We offer 24/7 assistance throughout the Greater Toronto Area and our team always arrives promptly and ready to assist. Apart from our fast service, we also always put your needs and security first. With us, you can rest assured that you are getting the best service by experienced and qualified professionals. No matter the lock or the problem, we always take the necessary precautions to ensure that no unnecessary damage occurs.