Keyed ignitions are becoming increasingly rare as cars move towards keyless ignitions such as push-to-start. Although ignition lock failure is not as common as in the past, it can still happen. It usually occurs when you insert the key and find that the ignition will not turn. Various things can cause this. But in older vehicles, it is usually due to a mechanical issue with the lock cylinder or the ignition switch. At Universal Best Locksmith, we understand that for those who still have a keyed system, it is important to know what to do in case of a failure. Here is what you need to know.
What to Do When Your Car Key Does Not Turn In Ignition
Wiggle the steering wheel back and forth
One of the most typical reasons why a car key will not turn is a locked steering wheel. It happens when you move your steering wheel after removing your key from its ignition cylinder. One approach to get around this problem is to try turning the key while gripping the steering wheel in one hand, then jiggle it back and forth. This should quickly unlock the steering wheel and allow your car to start.
Remember that when freeing up your steering wheel, do not yank or pull on the steering wheel when you feel resistance, as this can snap the key off in the ignition. Instead, try gently rocking it back and forth until it loosens up.
Check that your car is in park or neutral gear
You may only be able to turn the key if your car is in park or neutral gear. For this reason, checking whether your car is in park or neutral before attempting to turn the key is important. Sometimes even when the car is in park, the shifter needs to be manipulated a bit to ensure it is fully engaged in that gear. Once you have confirmed that your car is indeed in park or neutral, try turning the key again.
Flatten the key if it is bent or worn out
Bent or worn-out keys may need to line up properly in the ignition, which makes it hard to start the car. Use a rubber or wood hammer to straighten out a bent key gently. Then, try starting the car again. If it does not do the trick, use a spare key if you have one. You can have a trusted locksmith make a new copy if no spare key is available. Make sure to provide them with your vehicle identification number (VIN).
Inspect the key cylinder for any obstructions
Often, the keys can become gummed up or stuck due to internal tumblers becoming clogged. To ensure your key cylinder is unobstructed, use a flashlight to inspect it. You may see metal debris inside the key cylinder. To fix this, use WD-40 or a similar penetrating lubricant. Then, attach the small straw with the can to the nozzle and shoot a small amount of lubricant directly into the keyhole. Next, insert and remove the key for about 30 seconds to work the lubricant into the tumblers. Finally, try again to see if the key will turn.
You can take a few actions to fix a key that does not spin in your ignition. Some of these fixes may be simple, while others may be a bit more complicated. So pay attention to anything that would make the ignition repair more difficult.
At Universal Best Locksmith, we know that car locksmith services are vital for keeping your vehicles safe. We offer top-quality automotive locksmith services, including car key replacement, key fob programming, and ignition repair. In addition, we offer 24-hour locksmith services, so you can always rely on us to get the job done right. So why wait? Contact us today to schedule a consultation!