Oh, oh! You car key is stuck in the ignition and won’t budge. NOT AGAIN! If you drive regularly, one time or another, you would’ve likely faced this problem. You car keys should easily slide in and out of the ignition and if it doesn’t, well, something just ain’t right. The last thing you want is to leave your key in the ignition, your car unprotected and you stranded. It’s time to get to the bottom of this! Here are the top reasons your car may be stuck in the ignition.
1. Is Your Car Turned Off?
It may seem like a silly thing to bring up, but you would be surprised how often it happens. When you’re caught up in work, or you know, just life in general, you may not realise that the key hasn’t fully rotated in the ignition cylinder. In car lingo, this means the car is not completely turned off, therefore the key will not slide off the ignition. Your car is also not technically turned off if your gear is not set right. Ensure your gear is set to “P” or “Park” if you have an automatic car and “Neutral”, if its a manual car. Sometimes knowing the basics of your car can go a long way when dealing with problems like this. Here is a comprehensive guide to run you through your basic car knowledge.
To fix this, make sure to push the key fully into the ignition and give it a wiggle towards the . Sometimes this helps and will allow you to fully turn the key in the ignition cylinder and pull it out successfully.
2. Incorrect Key?
If you are a family that owns two or more cars, it is not uncommon to accidentally pick up the wrong key while rushing to get to work. While you may be able to easily insert the car key in the ignition, the ignition pins will not align with the key, causing it to get wedged in. Take a deep breath and have a check to make sure you have the right keys before looking for a solution to your problem.
3. Is Your Car Key Damaged or Worn Out?
The most common reason your car key may be stuck in the ignition is because it’s gotten all old and rusty. Car keys, like all keys, have a specific cut, to open a specific lock. When your car key gets rusty or blunt on the sides, it may not slot into the ignition system as well as it is supposed to. Safekeeping your keys in a spot that isn’t prone to cause rust will ensure your car keys stay rust free for as long as possible so you avoid any issues!
4. Debris on Key or Ignition
Have you used to car key to cut things open? Perhaps boxes or packaging with tape? Do not worry. You are just one of millions. Everyone does this, however if you do, you need to be more attentive of the condition of your car key. If you have tape stuck to your keys, you may be able to turn your car on, but don’t be surprised if you find your key stuck when you are done. When there is dirt, tape or basically anything that may affect the shape of your key, it is harder for the key to engage the ignition pins. It’s also common to find dirt or debris in the ignition itself. Try dusting it out and upkeep the maintenance of your car.
5. The Classic Broken Key Incident
It is easy take your anger out on your car, especially when your anger sparks up while driving and there is no other outlet for release. However, taking it out on a car can be costly. Whether it is because you were angry, frustrated or simply just trying your hardest to get your key out, if you jerk on the key too hard it is likely to snap. It is important to treat your car and all of its components well. A car is not just a way for you to get to work, it is an investment. However, if your car key is broken, don’t fret! The process of removing a broken car key isn’t too complicated, however unless you are either a car or key expert, you should not attempt to get it out yourself as that may cause further damage.
6. Is Your Steering Wheel Locked?
As great as car safety technology is, we have to be a little bit more mindful when dealing with car technology. Most vehicles have a steering wheel lock system. If you have turned your car off while your steering wheel is still slightly out of place, the steering wheel lock will be activated. This automatically results in the ignition system locking as well. This problem can be overcome though. Wiggle around your car key in the ignition while attempting to turn your steering wheel back in place. Stay calm. With a little determination, you can definitely do it!
7. Have You Checked Your Ignition Cylinder?
All the above problems are problems that you are most likely going to be able to identify. If you have checked for all of the above problems and your car key is still stuck, the problem may be more challenging. If your car key is stuck in the ignition and it has nothing to do with the car’s outer locking system, there is a high possibility that your ignition cylinder may be damaged. Car ignitions are quite technical in order to ensure safety. There are several rows of spring loaded pins in the lock, working perfectly to fit the key. Sometimes, the pins may get stuck together, preventing the pins from aligning with the key. In this case, try using a tack hammer to gently tap on the key ignition. The vibration from the tapping may help separate the pins. However, if your cylinder is damaged, it can result in the pins going out of alignment. In this case, there is absolutely nothing you can do on your own and it’s best option is to contact your closest mechanic to have it fixed.
8. Due for a repair?
Sometimes the root of the problem may have nothing to do with the problem itself. The ignition system works on power, as does the rest of the car. However, the reason for your car may simply be that it hasn’t been serviced in a while. Proper car maintenance is important to ensure your car is in its best possible condition. If you have a dead battery however, the ignition system is not going to work, preventing you from removing the car keys from the ignition. In this case, you could either try to jump start your car if you know how, or install a new battery. Your car gets you around places and prevents you from the hassles of public transport. If you drive a lot for work or just in general, your service repairs may be due earlier than you realise.
Getting your car key unstuck from the ignition depends completely on the situation. It is common to break or jam the car key even further when we get frustrated from it. However, it is important to know the cause of the problem to find a solution. Cars are such a technically comprehensive device that it can take months to get your head around all of its components. That’s why we leave it to mechanics to ensure they get the service they need in order to get us around.
Novus Auto Glass specialise in windscreen repair technology and strive to provide you with the best possible care for your car. Arrange a quote online, or call us to see how we can help you on 13 22 34.