What Are the Best DIY Options for a Key Stuck In the Ignition?

If you drive a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you are familiar with the special safety feature that automatically locks the key in the ignition to remind you that you have failed to put the shifter into the “neutral/park” position. In other words, you are not allowed to remove your key from the ignition without first moving the shifter into the right position, so you can prevent the vehicle from driving coasting away by itself.key jammed in ignition

Of course, there are some specific issues that could also lead to a key stuck in ignition problem that may or may not require the attention of an expert locksmith. Anything from a faulty ignition cylinder to an on-board computer problem could force you to face a jammed key in ignition issue. While most drivers will want to immediately get in touch with professional ignition key removal services to solve the matter, others may try to use a series of key stuck in ignition DIY solutions to save time and money and get back behind the wheel in no time.

If you are curious to know what are a few of the most efficient ways of removing a key stuck in the ignition switch without expert help, read on. If you are dealing with any kind of jammed key in ignition or a different type of car lock or key emergency, give us a call and let us send over the nearest crew.

Start With The Obvious: Is The Shift In The Right Position?

A mentioned at the beginning of this article, you will need to make sure that your stuck key problem is not actually a matter of car security triggered by the shift lever which has not been rightfully positioned in Neutral or Park. Once this potential cause for problems has been eliminated from your list and are still unable to remove the jammed key from the ignition, it is time to look for an additional explanation and potential solution.

Is The Battery Dead?

Modern-day vehicles are sold with a special security option that enables them to automatically lock the key in the ignition provided the on-board computer fails to receive the power it needs to function. This is needed to prevent the unauthorized use of the car. Make sure the battery is working fine. Use a voltmeter to inspect the amount of battery inside the battery or see if you can turn on the headlights. If the answer is NO, your dead car battery is also preventing you from removing the key from the ignition.

Is The Key Rotated All The Way To LOCK?

Provided you are familiar with the different labels found in the ignition, you probably already know there is no “OFF” to select. This is due to the fact that the “LOCK” section is actually meant to replace the “OFF” section. LOCK is usually facing the bottom of the ignition's circle. This means that when the engine is turned off, you are expected to turn the key in this direction, all the way down to the bottom. Fail to do this properly and you will create the illusion that the vehicle is still turned on, which will automatically prevent you from removing the key from the ignition.

On rare occasions, we receive emergency calls from drivers who were too nervous or stressed out to first check this prior to asking for professional help with removing their jammed key from the ignition switch. Before you grab your phone and call the nearest automotive locksmith in the area, see if the key has been completely rotated towards the correct LOCK position.

Is The Steering Wheel Locked?

  • Check if you can move the steering wheel left and right. If you cannot do it on your first try, chances are the lock on the steering wheel has been engaged. This means that the car cannot move unless you insert the correct key in the ignition or keyway.

  • This steering wheel locking mechanism is also responsible for stopping someone from operating the vehicle if they try to use the incorrect key. While the key may be inserted the right way, the steering wheel will remain the locked position. To unlock it, you will need to insert the right key in the ignition switch or the keyway.

  • You could be dealing with a stuck key in the ignition possible because the steering wheel has locked itself. To fix the problem, try to gradually turn the steering wheel left, then right, and make sure to also apply a small amount of pressure on the key as you turn it. As a result, you should be able to unlock the steering wheel and safely remove your key from the keyway.

Is The Keyhole Obstructed By Debris?

The hinges inside the ignition directly affect the well functioning of the keyway. This means that small traces of dirt, debris, and dust that have not been cleaned in a while could easily lead to the keys getting stuck in the keyway.  To solve this particular issue, try to slowly turn the key a few times in an attempt to dislodge any blockage in the keyway. Consider using a WD40 spray, a reliable car lubricant, or compressed air to get rid of the accumulated blockage and pull out your key without causing any damage to it or the ignition.

If all your attempts fail, get in touch with one of our trained and friendly locksmiths and let them come to your help. We are one of the most popular ignition key removal services in the nation and we work with certified technicians who have the know-how and the tools needed to clean any keyway and remove any stuck key for you on the spot.  No matter what make and model you might need assistance with, we can rapidly remove a potentially broken or worn-out key from the ignition in case you do not have the right tools or skill to do it on your own and helo you resume your drive in no time.

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S Kenton Ave

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E Van Buren St

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